Father Miguel O'Reilly House
32 Aviles Street
St. Augustine, FL

Library of Congress
HABS No. FLA-123
NRHP 74002192[
2nd Spanish
Father Miguel O'Reilly held school in St. Augustine. His house on Aviles Street is being restored and has
been opened as a museum by the Sisters of St. Joseph.

Street Address: 32 Aviles Street, opposite Bravo Lane, at. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida
Present Owner: St. Joseph's Convent (Sisters of St. Joseph), St, George Street, St. Augustine, Florida

Present Use; Used for storage

PART IT HISTORICAL INFORMATION
While the historical site of the O'Reilly house can be successfully located from 1788 to the present time, it
is very difficult to locate it accurately before 1788. Since most of the property transfers fail to describe the
properties that changed ownership, and since the Spanish, British, and American occupants of St.
Augustine employed different measuring systems in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,
properties and land sites cannot usually be clearly delineated. The co-operative efforts of the
archaeological, architectural, and historical disciplines should eventually accurately locate these
historic land plots. The Juan Elixio de la Puente Map of 176A reveals that a house -was
located on what is believed to be the present site of the O'Reilly house. That building, situated on lot 265,
Square G (according to the descriptions of the Puente map) was described as being a ripio house of
Joseph de la Rosa; since it is quite difficult to use the Puente map for modern measurement, it is possible
to suggest that the house of stone of Lorenso Jose de Leon, located on lot 266, north of de la Rosa's
house, may have been the dwelling that stood where the present O'Reilly house rests. Nevertheless, the
Mariano de la Rocque Map of 1788 refers to Don Miguel de O'Reilly's dwelling as a two-story masonry
house in mediocre condition. The John de Solis and James Moncrief maps of 1765 had shown a house on
the approximate site, "but the house varied in size and position on each map; only the Moncrief listed a
possible owner - Mr. Watson. Don Juan Ne-pomuceno de Quesada' s Property Assessment of 1790
and the appraisal of 1800 describe the O'Reilly house as a rubble-work masonry house following
de la Rocque's description.

Following Father O'Reilly's will, in the early nineteenth century the house passed into the trust of his
brother, Juan, with the instruction that the building be used to house nuns, for education, according
to the plan of St. Francis de Sales with its Institution of the Visitation. Juan O'Reilly and, then, David A.
King in 1827 held the building in trust until Miguel O'Reilly's instructions could be arranged in 1870. At
that time Bishop Verot became the first bishop of the area and received the house in the name of the
Catholic Church. Before the arrival of Bishop Verot the Catholic Church interests in Georgia and
Florida were vested in the office of a Vieariate. The Vicariate, or the Vicar Apostolic , as he was entitled
in Georgia and Florida, did not have the power to receive property in the name of the church. Thus, it
was only when a Bishop's office was opened in the Florida area that the O'Reilly will could he fulfilled.
(This information concerning the Catholic Church's historic operations was obtained through the kind
assistance of Sister Mary Albert of the Sisters of St. Joseph.) In 1876 the building was transferred to the
Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph, a corporation of St. Johns County, and the stipulations of
Miguel O'Reilly's will were thus finally realized. According to the Tax Rolls of St. Johns County the
property is designated as lot 1, block 35, of the City of St. Augustine.

Since the Sisters of St- Joseph have acquired the O'Reilly House it has been renovated and modernised
internally. Except for the fireplaces and paneled ceilings, architectural investigations show that the house
has been generally reconstructed. However, a reconstruction was accomplished which carefully copied
the form and craftsmanship of the historic structure.

A. Physical History:
1. Original and subsequent owners
: This chronological listing of owners concerns the owners who lived
on the probable site of the present O'Reilly house. According to the conclusions of this research, it is
doubtful that all these owners lived in the house that currently exists. Also, it is essential to mention that
this list is not necessarily complete.

1764 and for an unknown time prior to 1764... .Joseph de la Rosa (Juan Elixio de la Puente Man and
Index of St. Augustine. Florida, in 1764)

1764-85 Mr. Watson (James Moncrief Man of 1765)

1785 and for an unknown time prior to 1785....John Mowbrary (Escrituras July 16, 1784, February 26,
1787, p. 191)

1785-1800 Don Miguel de O'Reilly (Escrituras. July 16, 1785, February 26, 1787, p. 191) (Mariano de
la Rocque Map and Index of St. Augustine, Florida.in 1788) (Don Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada Land
Inventory and Assessment of 1791) (Assessor's Inventory (Appraisal) of 1800)

1823 Don Juan O'Reilly (Juan O'Reilly held the property in trust according to Miguel O'Reilly's will.)
(St. Johns County Deed Book H. page 156, June 27, 1827)

1827 David A. King (trustee) (St. Johns County Deed Book H. page 156, June 27, 1827)

1870-1876 Bishop Verot in the name of the Catholic Church (fioraan Catholic Church Records)

1876 Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph, A Corporation of St. Johns County (Roman Catholic Church
Records)

1899 St. Josephs Convent (The Sisters of St. Joseph changed their legal title to "St. Joseph's Convent")
(St. Johns County Deed Book 3, page 250, Nov. 28, 1897)

2. Date of erection: The exact date of erection is unknown. The house before reconstruction, however,
was probably erected in the late eighteenth century c. 1760-85.

3. Architect and builder: The architect and/or builder of the house remains unknown.

4. Original plans: The original plans of the house are not available.

5. Notes on alterations and additions: According to the architectural study of August 1960, it was
determined that the present house is a reconstructed building. The reconstruction, however, sought to
duplicate the original techniques and craftsmanship. Plans have been made by the Sisters of Saint Joseph
to restore the building in late 1965, so that it can be opened to the public as part of the 1965
Quadricentennial celebrations. Prior to this it is being used as storage space.

6. Old views: There are some late nineteenth and early twentieth century photographs of this building in
the
files of the St. Augustine Historical Society and the St. Augustine Historical Restoration and Preservation
Commission.

7. Source of information; Most of this research was drawn from the Land and Deed Records of the St.
Johns County Archives, the maps, Spanish Records, and Carnegie file house documents of the St,
Augustine Historical Society and the St. Augustine Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission.
The property records of St, Joseph's Convent were particularly useful in the study of property transfers in
the nineteenth century.

Although the plan and construction of the O'Reilly House are not dealt with in detail in Albert Manucy's
book,
The Houses of St. Augustine, 1565-1821 (St. Augustine, Florida: St. Augustine Historical
Society, 1962) , this hook should he Consulted for an understanding of the development of domestic
architecture in the town and in Spanish America.

8. Likely sources not yet investigated: The University of Florida's P. K. Xonge Library's Stetson
Collection, Lockey Collection, and British Colonial Records could offer more material relevant to the
history of this house and other St. Augustine historic houses. The East Florida Papers collection in the
Library of Congress (Washington, D. C-) and the Bahama Islands Colonial Records might likewise offer
information pertaining to St. Augustine historic houses and sites.

Prepared by St. Augustine Historical
Restoration and Preservation Commission
August 1962 AND
John C. Poppeliers, Architectural
Historian* National Park Service
March 1965

PART II. ARCHITECTURAL INFORMATION
A. General Statement:
1. Architectural interest and merit:
Although the O'Reilly House can, in general, he considered a
reconstruction, it is fairly typical in most of its features of the modest, two-story, coquina, domestic
structures that were built in St. Augustine in the latter eighteenth century. The side-hall plan appears to he
its most unique feature.

2. Condition of fabric: The house is in excellent condition and is kept in good repair by the maintenance
force of the convent.

B. Description of Exterior:
1. Number of stories: Two.

2. Type wall construction: Plastered coquina masonry exterior and bearing walls; wooden frame interior
partition.

3. Layout: Rectangular.

4-. Over-all dimensions: 29'-9" (three-bay front) x 40'-2 3/4".

5. Foundations: Not observed. Exterior walls continue below grade. The following paragraph from Albert
Manucy's
The Houses of St. Augustine. 1565-1321 (St. Augustine, Florida: St. Augustine Historical
Society, 1962), page 6#, discusses the method in which the foundations of St. Augustine houses were
constructed. The foundations of the O'Reilly House probably were handled in a similar manner:
By present-day standard, house walls had no foundations. The usual preparation was to excavate a trench
slightly wider than the wall and about a foot deep. A thin layer of flat stones or oyster shells was tossed in
as a sort of spread footing, after which the workmen began wall construction without further ado.

6. Wall construction: Coquina masonry with plaster outside and plaster inside.

7. Porches: There is a single cantilevered, roofed balcony running the length of the east facade at the
second story level.

8. Chimneys: There is a single exterior chimney of coquina masonry on the west wall. This chimney admits
fireplaces into its east (interior) face on both the ground and second-story levels. These fireplaces and
mantels are made of decoratively carved coquina. This sort of fireplace treatment or coquina carving is
not in keeping with the character of the architecture and probably should be considered as a liberty taken
by the mason at the time of the "reconstruction,"

9. Openings: The door and window openings are framed in wood and set into the coquina jambs. The
lintels are of wood. In general, the wooden doors are six-paneled. At least one door has two glazed
panels. The windows of the first floor have both six-over-six and twelve-over-twelve double-hung
wooden sash; those of the second floor have six-over-six double-hung wooden sash. The attic window
has twelve-over-eight double-hung wooden sash. The wooden exterior shutters are two-paneled and
louvered.

10. Roof: The roof is a gable with the ridge running east and west, perpendicular to the street front. The
roofs of both the house and the balcony are covered with asbestos cement shingles. Eaves extend about
one foot and are terminated by a square-edged wooden fascia.

C. Description of Interior:
1. Floor plans: The ground floor consists of three rooms and a side stair hall. Entrance is made from the
street directly into the stair hall. The eastern (front) portion of the house consists of a large room on the
northeast and the stair hall on the southeast. The western (rear) portion of the house consists of a small
room on the southwest and one other room on the northwest. There is a fireplace on the west wall of the
latter. The second floor also consists of three rooms and a side stair hall. There is a single large room
across the east (front) end of the house. The west (rear) end of the house consists of a siaall room on the
southwest and a larger room on the northwest. A portion of the east end of the stair hall is partitioned off
and contains another stairway which leads up to the attic. The second-story fireplace is on the west wall
of the northwest room.

2. Stairways: There are two stairways. The main stairway leads from the entrance hall, in a single run, to
the second-floor stair hall. The other stairway leads from the second-floor stair hall, with winders, to the
attic. Both stairs have wooden treads and risers.

3. Flooring: The flooring on the ground floor is 4-1/4" x 4-1/4" ceramic tile, red and black alternating in a
checkerboard pattern. The flooring on the second floor is pine boards laid in a running pattern.

4. Wall and ceiling finish: The ceiling finish is tongueand-groove wooden paneling throughout. All of the
walls are finished with plaster.

5. Doorways and doors: Interior doors and openings are similar to exterior.

6. Trim: Trim is conservative in design and is made from standard molded pieces.

7. Hardware: The hardware is recent and is not remarkable in design or character.

8. Lighting: The modern electric lighting fixtures are not unusual in design or character. Conventional
ceiling outlets and switches are used.

9. Heating: There is no heat source other than the two fireplaces described under "chimneys" (item 8,)

D. Site:
1. Orientation and general setting: The north wall faces 4° west of north. The house is situated on the
grounds of the convent of the Order of the Sisters of St. Joseph, in one of the historic areas of the city-
The surrounding neighborhood is made up of private residences, some small tourist shops and several
other historic structures. The convent occupies one square "block in this neighborhood and consists of a
school, dining hall, kitchen, living quarters, and various outbuildings. The main portion of the convent faces
to the west - the eastern portion of the convent property therefore becomes its rear yard and Aviles
Street can be called the back road to the convent. The O'Reilly House is situated on this back street and
thus is in the rear yard of the convent.

2. Enclosures: The east facade of the house forms a continuous part of the wall of the convent. The
remainder of the house is on the inside of the convent wall. The street wall to the north of the structure is
constructed of coquina masonry, S'-IO" high; it has a large driveway opening, for service to the convent,
and has wooden gates.The street wall to the south is also of coquina masonry, ll1-6" high; it decreases in
height to 7l-0" and continues to the Gaspar Papy House (HABS No. FLA-164) at 36 Aviles Street,
which is also now part of the convent complex.

3. Outbuildings: There are no outbuildings pertinent to the house itself; however, it is surrounded to the
north, west, and south by various convent buildings.

4-. Walks, driveways: To the north and west there are concrete driveways which give access to the
convent utility buildings.

The O'Reilly House itself is almost at the street line (flush with the sidewalk).

5. Landscaping: The walled yard to the south is now largely  grass. A lush wisteria vine grows from this
yard onto the coquina street wall.

Prepared by William A, Stewart, Architect
St. Augustine Historical Restoration and
Preservation Commission - August I960
AND
John C. Poppeliers, Architectural Historian
National Park Service - March 1965
Photographer Francis Benjamin Johnson
1937
1958 FRONT (EAST) AND NORTH SIDES -
Don Miguelde O'Reilly House,
32 Aviles Street, Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL
Photographer: Jack E. Boucher
Historic American Buildings Survey
P. A. Beaudoin, Photographer
August 1960
EAST (FRONT) ELEVATION -
Don Miguelde O'Reilly House,
32 Aviles Street, Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL
Historic American Buildings Survey
P. A. Beaudoin, Photographer
August 1960
ATTIC DETAIL - NORTHWEST CORNER -
Don Miguelde O'Reilly House,
32 Aviles Street, Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL
Historic American Buildings Survey
P. A. Beaudoin, Photographer
August 1960
NORTH AND WEST (REAR) SIDES -
Don Miguelde O'Reilly House,
32 Aviles Street, Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL
Historic American Buildings Survey
P. A. Beaudoin, Photographer
August 1960
WEST (REAR) ELEVATION -
Don Miguelde O'Reilly House,
32 Aviles Street, Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL
Historic American Buildings Survey
P. A. Beaudoin, Photographer
August 1960
FRONT (EAST) ROOM - SECOND FLOOR -
Don Miguelde O'Reilly House,
32 Aviles Street, Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL
Historic American Buildings Survey
P. A. Beaudoin, Photographer
August 1960
REAR (NORTHWEST) ROOM - SECOND FLOOR -
Don Miguelde O'Reilly House,
32 Aviles Street, Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL
Historic American Buildings Survey
P. A. Beaudoin, Photographer
August 1960
SOUTH ELEVATION -
Don Miguelde O'Reilly House,
32 Aviles Street, Saint Augustine, St. Johns County, FL
St. Augustine from 1920s to WWII
St. Augustine from WWII to
1960
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St. Augustine Rebounds
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Warden Castle
Garcia Dummitt House
Don Pedro Horruytiner House
Huertas-Canova House
(Prince Morat House)
DeMesa-Sanchez House
Father Miguel O'Reilly House
Bishops House
Architectural Styles and Periods
Gaspar Papy
Don Pedro Fornells
Reconstruction Properties
Sanchez-Burt House
Tovar House
Pardes Segui MacMillan House
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