Local Historic City News reporters were informed by Kip Keating that this Saturday, July 2, 2016, Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth opened a new working blacksmith exhibit.
The exhibit, located on the South side of the Menendez Settlement field, will offer guests a glimpse into St. Augustine’s past through accurate historical interpretation.
“We are excited to bring another interesting facet of St. Augustine’s past to the Park, one where our guests can actually witness history being made, right on the actual site where history WAS made in 1565,” explained John W. Fraser, Managing Director of the Fountain of Youth.
The open floor plan exhibit is fascinating in its layout and construction. The bellows are an oversized, horizontal double lung design which feeds a custom-made forge.
“St. Augustine’s colonial blacksmiths were primarily repairmen,” Greg Sikes, the Park blacksmith, says. “New goods arrived from Europe, and when the implements broke, the blacksmith stepped in.”
The blacksmith shop will produce Spanish Colonial style iron goods present in the area during the First Spanish Period (1565 – 1763) of Florida’s history.
- The Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park is a 15 acre historic site and attraction filled with history, archaeology and Old Florida charm. It is Florida’s Oldest Attraction, and it commemorates the Florida landing of Ponce de Leon in 1513 and his quest for the legendary Fountain of Youth.
- It is archaeologically significant as the original site of the Timucuan Indian village of Seloy for over 3000 years and as the original site of Pedro Menendez de Aviles’ St. Augustine settlement in September of 1565.
- This site was established 55 years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock and 42 years before the founding of Jamestown. It is also the location of the 1587 Mission Church of Nombre de Dios, the first Franciscan Mission Church in the United States, as well as the 1565 site of the First Muster of militiamen in the United States.
- The Park is open 364 days a year and is pet friendly.