Don Pedro Fornells House
62 Spanish Street at Hypolita
St. Augustine, FL

Library of Congress
HABS No. FLA-137
2nd Spanish

Address: 62 Spanish Street, at Hypolita Street, St.Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida.

Present Owner: Mr, and Mrs. Frederick Eugene Williams, III,

Occupant: 62 Spanish Street, St. Augustine, Florida.

Present Use: Residence and Gun Shop.

The following account for the Fornells House was published in the July, 1963 (No. 48) issue of the St. Augustine
Historical Society's Newsletter,
El Escribano (pp. 8-14); "This property -was purchased by the St. Augustine Historical
Society in 1952 when the house was in danger of demolition. Inspection indicated it to be a fine example of design and
construction used in Saint Augustine in the early 1800's. It is a two story coquina block structure with a hip roof, almost
square in design, a typical home of an ordinary family at the beginning of the 19th century. It was recently sold to Mr.
and Mrs. Williams, the present occupants. While the Juan Jose de la Puente map of January 22, 1764, shows a
wooden house on this site (Block I - No. 121), by 1788, the Mariano de la Rocque map shows the corner to be vacant
(Block 16, - No. 124).

On January 9, 1800, Pedro Fornells, a native of Ciudadela in the Island of Menorca, petitioned the Spanish Crown for a
grant of the lot which was part of the kitchen garden of the Dragoon Barracks (Block 18 - No. 153, Quesada List, 1790)
measuring 22 varas on the two fronts East-V/est and 92 varas in depth, North-South. This request was granted on
January 22, 1800. (Manuscripts in Field Note Room of Department of Agriculture. Tallahassee. Bundle No. 32.0».
Document No. 95)

Sometime after 1800, after this grant was confirmed, Pedro Fornells built a house on this site. Fornells died
unexpectedly on August 1, 1807, without having made a will. However, an inventory of his properties was made, and the
house on Spanish Street appears, described as (Translation):

One masonry house with its corresponding Lot located on the Street of the Dragoon Barracks, said barracks bounding it
on the south.
With respect"to the carpentry work (translation)
For one staircase >
For six doors and seven windows with glass panes SS'6AU6-
For the floor 55-
For one corner cupboard
For the roof of the house with its shed
For one wooden partition
For the ——(illegible)
For (2?) doors and 2 windows
For the floor
For a corner cupboard
For the roof
For a privy
For 3 doors of the fence
For the fences.
For 93 orange trees planted in rows
For 103 small orange trees
For — fig trees and 5 peach trees
For 11 peach trees and a grape arbor.
With respect to the masonry work:
For 50? varas of masonry on the East
For 30 varas of masonry on the North
For 50 varas of masonry on the West
For 30 varas of masonry on the South
For 20 varas of masonry on the west side of the dining room
For 9 varas of masonry on the north side of the dining room
For 9 varas of masonry on the south side of the dining room
For 70 sq_. varas of masonry of the house and dining room
For 40 sq_, varas of foundation of house and dining room
For 9 varas of masonry foundation of the partition, the thickness of a brick
For 10 cubic varas of masonry of the chimney (citaron)
For 28? varas of masonry of the north side of the kitchen de havitacion
For 19 varas of masonry of the Y/est wall interior
For 28 varas of masonry of the south wall
For 19 varas of masonry of the east wall
For ? varas of foundation of the partition (citaron)
For ? cubic varas of the chimney
For 4-8 sq. varas of tabby (hormigon) floor of said kitchen
For 24 varas of foundation of said kitchen
30? varas of masonry fence on the north
(The East Florida Papers - Testamentary Proceedings on the death of Pedro Fornells - SAHS Reel No. 9 - Document
No. 8)

On February 4, 1820, Fornells1 widow, Mariana Tudorina, made a will in which the following statement describing the
house appears; (Translation, page 2.)

I declare as my present estate one house of masonry with its corresponding lot and trees, which Is "the-house where I
now live, located on the Calle de los Quarteles de Dragones (Dragon Barracks 55-Street, now known as Spanish Street)
bounded on the South with said barracks, on the .north with the cross street which leads to the Marina (Hypolita Street),
on the East with the said Street of the Barracks and on the West with the street that leads to the Cienaga (now Cordova
Street). Said house built by my deceased last husband Fornells, but at the time of his death said house was not of
enough value to reintegrate my dowry, and pay the debts that he had contracted, and in the many years since his death
I have increased its value with my industry and with the orange grove that is cultivated. (East Florida Spanish Papers, -
Testamentary Proceedings on the Deati^ of Mariana Tudorina - Box 54-59 SAHS Reel Mo. .13., Document 19)
Fornells1 wife died on August 3, 1820, and in the probate proceedings her properties were appraised: (Translation)

Masonry                                                                                       Pesos
One masonry house 112 sq. varas on the East wall                   @ 12 reales per vara 168
112 sq. varas on the West wall                                                   @ same 168
126 varas on the North                                                               @ 12 reales 189
64 sq. varas on the dining room wall                                               at 12 reales 96
260 sq. varas of the kitchen - North-South                                 @ 8 reales 260
130 sq. varas of the kitchen - Bast-West                                    @ 8 reales 130
85 varas of wall between the house and kitchen                         @ 8 reales 35
296 sq. varas of masonry floor of the house, corridor and
kitchen                                                                                        @ 3 reales 111
I84O sq. varas of house and lot                                                  @ 2 reales 1160

For the roof, frame, sintas (ornamental trim) y clabos (nails)
Floor of boards, wood, nails and rafters 58
A wooden partition with its varas (vasar?) y cornisas
(rod? shelf?) and cornices 24
One cupboard with 20 glass panes 13
One glass door of 11 glass panes, its joist and iron work 24
One ladder 22
One glass window with 30 glass panes 12
S windows with their frames and iron work 40
4 doors with their frames and iron work 20
1 cupboard with its glass door 10
1 door crossing to the dining room, frame and iron work

For the roof
4- doors and 4 windows with their frames and iron wort
Wooden floor
One fence of split wooden pales and one tinglado (shed) with 2 doors 10
One old wooden fence with its posts and nails 21

60 orange trees @ 8 pesos 480
67 sour orange trees at 1 peso 67
Peaches and plums 4
A Grape arbor 5

Mrs. Fornells had no children by Pedro, "but she had a daughter by her first husband, Pedro Poreila, and two sons and
a daughter by her second marriage to Marcos Andreu. She left her estate to her four children to be divided in equal
shares. In the disposition, by agreement between them, Marcos and Antonia Andreu received the house, and the other
heirs were reimbursed for their portions. Thus the title became vested in Marcos and Antonia Andreu, Subsequent
owners of the property were Francisco P. Sanchez, Gabriel W. Perpall, Barbara Facetti, Philip Solana, Burton Masters,
**Earl L. Masters, Edwin L. Fleming, E. A. Rushton, Luis Gottlieb, from whom the St. Augustine Historical Society
purchased it in 1952.

**During the many years of ownership by Mr. Burton Masters, this was the only place in town where one could buy real
Minorcan food. Affectionately known as "Uncle Bertie", Mr. Masters was skilled in the fine art of preparing such
delicacies as Shrimp Pilau, Gopher Stew and Clam Chowder. He had entered the restaurant business on St. George
Street in 1895, at a location in back of a saloon, and although he kept open from 6 AM until midnight (the same hours as
the saloon) there just weren't many customers. Despite the fact that he didn't have to pay any rent, it was a tough
struggle. Uncle Bertie discovered that he could buy a two-pound rooster for a quarter, a string of roe mullet for the
same, so he specialized in half a fried chicken or broiled muller [sic] with bread and coffee, for which the customer paid
25 cents. Business finally picked up, so he moved, and after a few years became established at the corner of Hypolita
and Spanish Streets, where he stayed for almost 30 years. The business that he bought for $150 sold many years later
for several thousand dollars (
St.Augustine Record, "the Castillo Sentry", May 30, 31, June 1, 1946).

In 1952, when the St. Augustine Historical Society purchased the property the old coquina house was in danger of
demolition. Inspection indicated it to be a fine example of design and construction used in St. Augustine in the early
1800's, althou [sic] additions made by recent owners had destroyed to a great extent the beauty and integrity of the
old house.Treatment was merely an extension of museum policy, in that the house would continue to be a part of a living
community, rather than assuming the static role of a ruin. The following recommendations were followed;

(1) Everything attached to the Y/est elevation with exception of one story coquina wall and concrete floor. This wall can
be converted into a charming patio. Modern window and door frames in wall to be removed.
(2) Dormer opening in West hip roof - modern.
(3) Chimney, as it will not stand fire inspection. Use of original door frame as a support in the make-shift construction to
be removed for use in building.
(4) Platform over stairway and closet adjoining same,
(5) Modern beaded ceiling covering floor joists. These joists are original and in splendid condition.

(1) Only original sash is in North opening, west wall, 2nd floor. Sash to match should be fabricated and installed in other
(2) Large store type windows should be made to conform with character of house,
(3) First floor door N & S elevations and upper west window should be filled in, as they are modern openings.

(1) Window and door frames where necessary.
(2) Roll asphalt roofing to be replaced with felt roof covered with asbestos shingles. These shingles blend with tie house
and have a certain amount of character. They are permanent, safer and more economical than wooden shingles.
(3) Pour 2 inch slab of concrete over present asphalt tile covered concrete ground floor.

This phase concerns the exterior appearance of the original building. Policy and requirements of the house to determine
the final course of action.
(1) Finish on west "wall is original and in first class condition.
(2) Stucco finish on north wall has been completely removed in mutilating manner.
(3) Stucco on south wall is modern, and is not bonded to coquina. Original finish remaining under this new stucco is in
very poor condition.
(4) East elevation - this wall has been recently stuccoed. The job was well done and is of permanent nature. To remove
this well bonded concrete stucco will likely cause major damage to the house. It would seem that this wall will set the
pattern for the exterior finish.

Signs will be removed and stucco white-washed.

(l) The removal of the modern lean-to on the west side will require the construction of a bathroom within the house
proper. The southwest room, second floor, at present the kitchen, could be so converted. The layout for this room
should be done by an architect. These conclusions were reached after a study of the building, and architectural
evidence found within the fabric of the building indicated the alterations. Mr. B. A. Crichlow made measured drawings
of the house, both before and after restoration, which drawings have been furnished the Historic American Buildings
Survey at request of Professor Henry Edwards. After completion of the restoration work, the building was occupied as a
gun shop until its sale by the Saint Augustine Historical Society in 1961 to Mr. and Mrs. Williams, who are using it for the
same purpose. The following is the text of the bronze marker placed on this house:

The Pedro Fornells House
Prior to 1800 this area was part of the Dragoon Barracks land and was used as a kitchen garden for the Spanish troops.
Between 1800 and 1807 Pedro Fornells built the house of native coquina rock, and it was occupied by his family until
about 1823. The lot extended to Cordova Street, and contained a grove of 196 orange trees. A recent owner, Burton
Masters, operated a restaurant in this building for over 30 years.

Purchased and restored in 1952 by the Saint Augustine Historical Society (1962)

Note: Research and translations by Mrs. Eugenia B. Arana and Mrs. Doris Wiles. Copies of Spanish documents cited
are in St. Augustine Historical Society Library."

A. General Statement:
1. Architectural interest and merit: The Fornells House
is a fine example of St. Augustine domestic architecture
of the early 19th century.
2. Condition of fabric: Restored (1952-53); well-maintained.

B. Description of exterior:
1. Number of stories: Two.
2. Number of bays: Three bay front x two bays.
3. Over-all dimensions: 27' - 4-3/4" (front) x 29' - 11-1/4"
4. Layout - shape: Rectangular.
5. Foundation: Coquina blocks. (Note: "coquina" is a local shell stone quarried on nearby Anastasia Island and used for
construction in St. Augustine since 1580.)
6. Wall construction: Coquina blocks laid In roughly horizontal courses plastered inside} and out.
7. Porches} etc.: None.
8. Openings; Doorways and doors: Two new (restoration) wooden doors; simple masonry openings. Windows and
shutters: All windows nlne-over-six-llght double-hung all replaced at time of restoration3 at which time, several former
openings were closed and respaced.
9. Chimneys: One new brick chimney (constructed at time of restoration).
10. Roof:shape and covering: Hipped roof with asbestos shingles.

Eaves, etc.: Simple box cornice (restoration).
Dormers: None. 35"^'

C. Description of Interior:
1. Floor plans:
First floor: Two large rooms with enclosed stair.
Second floor; Apartment with hall (three rooms and bath).
2. Stairways: Wooden construction (enclosed first floor; open rail; second floor).
3. Flooring: Concrete on first floor, wooden hoard flooring (recent) on second floor.
4. Wall and ceiling finish: Exterior Trails have plaster on masonry; interior partitions have plaster on concrete
"block and wooden stud. Ceiling in first-floor front room has exposed beams with beaded edge and plaster; on the
second floor the ceiling is of tongue and groove planks.
5. Doorways and doors: ill replaced during restoration.
6. Trim: Simple wooden trim with molded 'back-band (restoration). Note: Several original door and window frames
were found in place at time of restoration.
7. Hardware: Hone original.
8. Lighting: Electric.
9. Heating: Fireplace and stove.

D. Site:
1. Orientation: House faces east on Spanish Street; Hypolita Street along north elevation.
2. Enclosures: Walled grassed yard on south and west.
3. Landscaping: None.

Architectural data prepared by
Henry C. Edwards, .Architect
National Park Service
August 1961
Historic American Buildings Survey
Prime A. Beaudoin, Photographer
August 1961
Don Pedro Fornells House,
62 Spanish Street, Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL
Historic American Buildings Survey
Prime A. Beaudoin, Photographer
August 1961
Don Pedro Fornells House,
62 Spanish Street, Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL
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