Garage believed to be slave cabin has been restored


Darien Andreu reported for Historic City News that Lincolnville property owner, Jim Painter, with financial support from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, has restored a small one-room garage beside one of his properties located at 94 South Street.

When Painter, and his wife Crystal, who live in Alpharetta Georgia, purchased the property from the estate of James Luther White after his death in 2012, the building beside the residence, was nearly collapsed, dilapidated, and overgrown.

“The history of the site reveals that the area surrounding this building was the last part of Lincolnville to remain in agricultural use until the time of World War I,” explained Andreu.

It was called “Yale Farms” and was owned by Simeon E. Baldwin (1840-1927) who taught for half a century at Yale University Law School and served as governor and chief justice in Connecticut. His father, Roger Sherman Baldwin (1793-1863), served as senator and governor.

The older Baldwin was part of the legal team, with former president John Quincy Adams, who in 1841 successfully obtained the freedom of illegally kidnapped Africans who resisted being put into slavery. Several books and a movie have been produced about the case. Best known, perhaps, is the 1997 movie “Amistad” in which actor Matthew McConaughey portrayed the character of the elder Baldwin.

In the 1920s, as a land boom fueled by postwar prosperity and speculation overtook Florida. A road was cut through the subdivided Yale Farms land, and the house at 94 South Street was constructed.

The north wall of the cabin was taken out over time and its coquina stone recycled so that the building could be extended. The south wall was removed for a doorway. Archaeologists digging in the driveway in 1995 uncovered bricks burned on one side that had been part of an original chimney at that end.

In 2016, the Northrop Grumman Foundation funded work to stabilize and secure this unique landmark so that future generations may see and learn from it. The restoration was unveiled on Monday, May 22, 2017 in a brief ceremony led by Mose Countryman, Director, Northrop Grumman African American Task Group in St Augustine and Bryan Mahoney, Vice-President, Northrop Grumman Corporation.

Photo credits: © 2017 Historic City News contributed photographs by Danielle Ferlin and Terra Mitchell


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