Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles, St Augustine is the perfect place for Historic City News subscribers celebrating this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month.
At the Visitor Information Center, today’s explorers can spot a replica of the breathtaking Fuente de Los Canos de San Francisco, created with molds taken from the original masks.
“In 2005, the mayor of Aviles, Spain sent mold impressions taken from the infamous 16th-century fountain,” a city spokesman reported. “The nation’s oldest city is home to a number of unique historical and cultural landmarks.”
The St Francis Barracks, which today serves as the State Arsenal for the Florida Army and Air National Guard, dates back to the 18th century.
It was constructed of coquina by Franciscan friars. The barracks were converted for military use in 1763 when Florida was still a British possession.
One of St. Augustine’s greatest treasures is the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, built by the Spanish in 1695. It is the oldest masonry fort in the United States.
- The coquina walls of the Castillo are 14-feet thick. Their strength was proven during the War of Spanish Succession in 1702. The structure never cracked because the coquina successfully absorbed the impact of cannonball fire.
The Mission Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche is a world-famous pilgrimage site. During the first Catholic mass performed in the New World, in 1565 Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales presented a wooden cross to the city’s founder who proclaimed this land for Spain and the Church.