52 St. George Street, St. Augustine
HISTORIC AMERICAN BUILDINGS SURVEY HABS No. FLA-126 HABS
Address: 52 St. George Street, St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida.
Present Owner: Mr. and Mrs. Walter S. Crawbuck; Jacksonville, Florida.
Present Use: Museum of Yesterday's Toys; William J. Daniell, director.
PART I. HISTORICAL INFORMATION
"History of the property at 52 St. George Street, St. Augustine, Florida, prepared for the Saint Augustine Historical
Society by Mrs. Eugenia B. Arana, October, 1962.
"In 1763 when Florida was transferred to the English, most of the Spanish residents evacuated to Havana. Many people
were unable to sell their properties "before their departure. However, the Spanish Crown appointed Don Juan Jose'
Elixio de la Puente to dispose of all unsold property. He made a map on January 22, 1764, on which he plotted every
house and gave each one a number, and made a list of property owners to identify them with each house. In most
instances this is the earliest record available of property ownership. "Puente turned some of the unsold houses and lots
over to Jesse Fish, a resident of St. Augustine, who had convinced Puente that he would sell the properties and then
reimburse the Spanish owners. "The house under consideration here, was described by Puente as a 'stone house in
Block D, Lot 68, belonging to Antonia de Avero' :How Antonia de Avero came into possession of this house is well
explained in Dr. Charles W. Arande's 'The Avero Story: An early Saint Augustine family with many daughters and many
houses', The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. XXXX, No. 1, pp, 1~%; reprinted by the St. Augustine Restoration and
Preservation Commission in pamphlet form. In Chapter VIII entitled 'Antonia is Small House', he says that 'she inherited
the smallest house of the three from a Fernando Rodriguez, a retired garrison member from the Antonia de Avero lower
echelons. Rodriguez died in 1762, at an inherits a house of advanced age, and his will is available . . ,This Galician
stated that he owned a house which was his residence and which was made 'of wood (madera) covered (covijada) with
palms (palma) with one new room that has a flat roof (azotea)' .... The addition was constructed by the master builder,
Juan Perez. Sergeant Rodmguea in his will wrote that the new room,. of which he was most proud was 'touching
arrimado) the walls of those of the Lieutenant Don Raymundo [Arrivas].' He further said that 'he has paid the arrimos
(right of wall sharing) up to the kitchen.' Rodriguez continued by saying that the house stood on a lot located on San
Patricio Street (seventeenth century and early eighteenth century name for the Calle Real of 1763 which was also
known as Del Govemador or Calle que va a la Puerta de Tierra (today's St. George Street)). He gave the size of - \.
the lot as 15 varas width and 35 varas deep.
The old Rodriguez, who had no living children or grandchildren, left most of his belongings, including the house in which
he lived, to Antonia. de Avero for unknown reasons.' "Records show that in 1768 Jesse Fish sold the Avero house to a
Joseph Dyason, a British subject- Jesse Fish's account book shows the following entry:
Don Joachin Blanco* Account No. 42
1768 - Dec. 20 For the house and lot
For the deed of the house of Ferndo, el Gallego of Fernando [Rodriguez] and sold to Jph Dyason Gallego (the Galician)
and 117 ps 7 rs. measuring his lot - 3 ps.
#Don Joachin Blanco was Antonia de Avero's husband. "Records also indicate that Puente Lot 68, together with
adjoining Lot 69, as a unit, were later sold at public auction and bought by one owner, therefore, we include here
Puente's description of Lot 69: 'Block D, Lot 69 - tabby house of Antonio Jose' Rodriguez'. Jesse Fish also sold this
property to Dyason the same day, December 20, 1768, according to entry No. 99 in his account book. However, at
the time this sale took place, the tabby house that had existed in 1764 had disappeared, and Dyason purchased only
"From the time of these two sales until April 15, 1788, when the Mariano de la Rocque map of the city was made, we
have no record of transfers of either of these properties. "In 1783 Florida had again reverted to the Spanish Crown after
twenty years of British occupation, and some St. Augustinians were returning home. Many Spaniards remained in
Havana, Others returned to regain their former holdings; some came to resettle and bought property from the English
who were leaving Florida, or requested the Spanish Crown for grants of land.
"In 1788, the Crown appointed Mariano de la Rocque to plot another map of the town, showing ownership by St.
Augustinians as well as properties that had reverted to the Crown. Rocque shows these two lots (Puente 66 and 69) as
one, and places them in Block 7, Lot 42, described as follows:
Masonry house and flat roof, in fair condition, with the lot that runs East-West, in the custody of Don Antonio
Fernandez.' 1788 Rocque map combines the two lots; masonry structure on one of them. #Antonio Fernandez was the
son-in-law of Antonia de Avero. Before her death in 1792 she started legal proceedings to regain 3 houses
in St. Augustine. (See Arnade, G.W., "The Avero Story . , .') As a result of this suit this house returned temporarily to the
Avero family, and for this reason it appears registered to Fernandez on the Rocque map. Later records discussed in this
study indicate that this suit was unsuccessful.
"In 1791* Juan Nepomuceno de Quesada, governor of Florida, sold at public auction those houses that had reverted to
the Crown. A list was prepared showing the houses, lots, and the assessed value. In this Quesada list, No. 104 (Rocque
42; Puente 68 and 69) the description is as follows: 'A small masonry house and lot of the king with a useless wooden
kitchen, hounded on the front by the Calle Real (St. George St.), west by Galle Espanola (Spanish St.) north by house
and lot of the heirs of Don Reymundo Arrivas, and south by a lot of Santiago Prados; measures in the front N-S twenty
three varas, and in dept&E-W seventy one varas that at the rate of half real per square vara amounts to eight hundred
sixteen and a half reales. Eighteen varas of masonry of some walls of the house by four varas high, at the rate of date
and his death in one and a half real per square vara amounts to one hundred and eight reales. 1802 he builds 2 story
coquina house on north half of lot.
"When the public auction was held in 1791, Juan Sanches, Chief Master Caulker of the Royal Works, bought the
property described above. Sanchez died intestate on April 18, 1802. His properties were appraised for distributiont> his
widow and daughters. Translated portions of this document from the Testamentary Proceedings read as follows:
Quesada list combines the two lots; masonry structure on one of them. Purchased by Juan Sanchez at auction,
1791. A big masonry house on San Carlos Street (St. George St.) in which the widow and her family lives. (This is now
43 St. George St.) Another small house of masonry*on the same street in front of the big house. (This is the property
covered in this study, 52 St. George St.)
Appraisal of the house built by Sanchez, at the time of his death, 1802. (Masonry) A lot adjoining the above on the
South. (This is the lot later sold by Sanchez widow to Juan Paredes.)
^Assessment of the small house on block 7, No. 42 (Rocque map) 29 varas of masonry of the North wall, 15
inches thick 53 varas of masonry of the East wall 29 varas of masonry of the South wall 53 varas of masonry of the West
wall 16 varas of sitardn (citaronrpartition, or thin wall, of the thickness of the edge of a common brick) 1/4 thick of the
lower room partition 9 varas of masonry of the north wall of the stairwell 6 varas of masonry of the west wall of the
stairwell 6 varas of masonry of the south wall of the dining room 2 columns which support the roof of the dining
room 80 varas of masonry floors of the parlors, bedroom and dining room 8 varas of masonry of the chimney that
corresponds to the bedroom 7 varas of masonry of the kitchen chimney 833 varas of the area of the house and lot
Carpentry of the small house: For the roof of the mentioned house Floor of same. For four doors with their iron work
For four windows with their iron work For the stairway with its cupboard For the kitchen For the fences
Appraisal of vacant Assessment of the lot south of the small house lot to the south, Block 7 - No. 42:
later sold to For 833 varas of the area of the lot Paredes.
(East Florida Papers: Testamentary Proceedings. Inventory, assessment and distribution of the estate of Don Juan
Sanchez, deceased. Box 22-25; Library of Congress. Reel No. 6 of St, Augustine Historical Society microfilm, Document
"On February 18, 1303, title was confirmed to the heirs of Juan Sanchez by Governor White. The following is a
translated portion of said title: . . . one house and lot in No. 104 Block 12, (Quesada list) of the already mentioned
auction, after the corresponding bond paid on April 3, 1791. This property having been measured and landmarks
having been set showed in the front N-S 23 varas, depth E-W 71 varas; bounded on the north with house and lot of ".
the heirs of Don Raymundo de Arribas; South, a house and lot of Francisco Arnau; East the Calle Real (St. George St.)
that goes to the Puerta de Tierra (Land Gate), west by Calle EspaTTola (Spanish Street.) .... "On December 30* I8O3,
Marxa Castafteda, widow of Juan Sanchez, sold to Juan Paredes, a lot, being the south half portion of this property
(Quesada 104). A portion of this document reads as follows: Sanchez widow sells vacant lot to Paredes, 1803.
New House that had "been built by deceased mentioned (This is the house now under consideration in this study).
Lot sold to Paredes bounded on north by house and lot which she still owns. Sanchez' widow gives Paredes right
of wall sharing. This common wall and chimney still exists between the Paredes house on the lot here. Let it be known
that I, Maria Castaneda, widow of Juan Sanchez, a resident of this city, do hereby sell to Juan Paredes a lot situated
on the Royal Street (St. George) which leads to the Puerta de Tierra and which is half of the lot my already mentioned
deceased husband bid on and bought at the public auction which was held by order of the Government of those lots
and houses which went back to the Royal Patrimony at the time of the return of this province to the Spanish Crown . . ,
All this property was adjudicated to me, with a new house which the deceased had built, in the extrajudicial sharing which
I made of the estate which remained due to his death with the other co-heirs to said estate, and it has been approved,
with the inventories and appraisal of the said estate by Decree of this government issued on May 21 last, as a result of
the judicial proceedings which we have undertaken for this purpose and which are now recorded in the office of the
Escribano (Government Clerk), Half of the lot which runs North-South measured eleven and a half varas; its full depth,
front to rear, which runs from said Calle Real with which it borders on the east, to Spanish Street with which it borders on
the west; on the north with the house and lot which I still own; on the south with adjoining properties belonging to
Francisco Arnau; the heirs of Sebastian Coll; of Juan Gero; of Francisco Olmedo and of Petro Llul; and which I sell to
him (Juan Paredes) with all its entrances, exits, uses, customs, rights and duties and also the arrimo (wall sharing
right) against the wall of the house that, with the lot, remains my property and free of all obligation . . .
(East Florida Papers, Escrituras, December 30, 1803. County Judge's office, St, Augustine. Photostat in library of
Society.) Sanchez' widow sells house built by her husband to Pedro Fucha, 1813. "On March 4, 1813, Francisco Marin,
for Juana Paredes, daughter of Juan, absent in Havana, sold this property which her father had acquired from Sanchez
widow, to Pedro Fucha, stating that the existing coquina house had been built by her father. (East Florida Papers,
Escrituras, Library of Congress; photostat in library of Society). "On March 26, 1813, Sanchez' widow sold to the same
Pedro Fucha the north half of the property, including the house now being considered; "Let it be known that I, Marfa
Castaneda, widow of Don Juan Sanchez, a resident of this city, do hereby sell to Pedro Fucha of this city, a masonry
house with a shingle roof and v/ith its corresponding lot situated in the Royal Street (St, George) which leads to the
Puerta de Tierra (Land Gate) and which is half of the lot that my said deceased husband bid on and bought at the
public auction which was held by order of the Government of the houses and lots which went back to the Royal
Patrimony at the time of the return of this province to the Spanish Crown; and for the same reason one of the properties
which His Majesty donated to the buyers of them by his royal permit of June 17, 1801. Title was issued to the said
property by virtue of the mentioned royal grant to the heirs of my above mentioned deceased husband on February 18,
1803. All this lot was adjudicated to me, with the said house which the deceased had built, in the extrajudicial sharing
which I made of the estate which remained due to his death with the other co-heirs to said estate, and it has been
approved with the inventories and appraisals of the said estate by Decree of this government issued on May 21, 1803,
as a result of the judicial proceedings which we have undertaken for this purpose, and which are now recorded in the
office of the Escribano (Government clerk). Said house and half of the lot which in front runs north-south, measures
eleven and a half varas; its full depth, front to rear, which runs from said Calle Real with which it borders on the East,
to Spanish Street v/ith which it borders on the west; on the North with the house and lot of Don Tadeo de Arribas; and
on the south with States house built by deceased Juan Sanchez.
Location of house and lot E. by St. George St W. by Spanish St. N. by Arrivas House S. by portion already
sold which now has a house on it the other half which I have already sold and 55-3/106- belongs to the buyer with the
house in it now 25- standing; and I sell to him (Fucha) with all its entrances, exits, uses? customs, rights and duties
which correspond to it for the price of one thousand pesos which the "buyer has paid me in cash .... (East Florida
Papers, Escrituras, Library of Congress. Photostat in library of Society). "At an undetermined date between 1813 and
1&34; Pedro Fucha sold these two houses and lots to Esteban Arnau. No deed of this transaction has been found.
However, the Clements Survey of I834 lists Stephen Arnau as the contemporary owner. "The story of ovmership from
this point on is simply a record of occupation by the Arnau family up until the Civil War, when the north half of the
property, the part here being considered, evidently passed to Mr. Roscoe Perry and through various transactions to the
present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Walter S. Crawbuck.
"The south half, on which Juan Paredes built his house, passed in 1895 to Mr. George L. Eastman, and later to Mr.
James Dodge, finally being acquired many years ago by the St. Augustine Historical Society. "The common wall and
chimney previously mentioned, still exist "between these two houses. It is evident that the house built by Juan Sanchez
was either a 1 1/2 or 2 story house as indicated by the appraisal made at the time of his death. Today, and for many
years past, as evidenced by photographic and other records, the second story of the Crawbuck house has been of
wood. This would seem to indicate that extensive renovation had been made probably during the Arnau family
"In our effort to produce a complete and accurate research of this Crawbuck house, we studied every record available
that could give us some light on the subject. We came across a document that turned out to be a monetary suit
instituted in 1802 by the heirs of Don Joaquin Blanco, the husband of Antonia Avero mentioned earlier in this study.
One of these heirs was Dona Rafaela Fernandez, Legitimate daughter of Victoriana Guillen, deceased heir of Don
Jaoquin Blanco (see genealogy chart in Dr. Arnade's "The Avero Story . . .', pages 11-15) against Jesse Fish, Jr., as
heir of Jesse Fish. "The claim was for 174 pesos 1 1/2 real, - 117 pesos 7 reales of . this amount v/as 'for the house and
lot of Fernando el Gallego sold (by Fish) to Jose* Dyason'. The remainder was for another house that is not part of this
study. Certified copy of the credit in favor of Joaquin Blanco in Fish's account book was furnished by the Escribano
and presented as proof. Fish, Jr, recognised the proof but managed to delay payment. To make matters worse, he died,
and this unforseen incident stopped the suit. But the heirs of Don Joaquin Blanco did not stop. Again in 1813? they
established another claim against ,Sarah Fish, young Fish's mother and heir. They also petitioned the governor to have
Don Gabriel Perpal, as administrator of the estate of Fish, Jr., to satisfy the amount of 174 pesos, 1 1/2 real. Finally,
in 1814 they settled out of court for 100 pesos.
"The documents pertaining to this suit and settlement are found in East Florida Papers, Testamentary Proceedings:
Incidentes a los autos de ocurrencia de Acrehedores, o coneurso necessario, causados por fallecimiento de Don Josef
Fish, solicitando Don Manuel de Castilla, a nombre de los heredos de Don Joaquin Blanco la cantidad de 174 ps. 1 1/2
rr.,* Library of Congress, Box 22-25> Reel No, 6, Document No. 28, microfilm in library of our Society," Arana, Mrs.
Eugenia B., "History of the Property at 52 St. George Street, St. Augustine, Florida," El Escribano (newsletter of
the St, Augustine Historical Society), No, 46 (January, 1963)? pp.8-15. "Archaeological and Architectural Investigations
at 52 St. George Street, Saint Augustine, Florida, by Earle W. Newton, Executive Director, St. Augustine Historical
Restoration and Preservation Commission, with Archaeological notes by Robert H. Steinbach, Staff Archaeologist.
"Two archaeological investigations were undertaken in 1961-1962, following an earlier ' architectural examination of the
structure at 52 St. George Street. The architectural examination was made in I960 as a part of the process of measuring
and recording the house for the Historical American Buildings Survey, under the direction of Professor William A,
Stewart of the University of Florida College of Architecture, and the sponsorship of the St. Augustine Historical
Restoration and Preservation Commission. At that time the relationship of early masonry work to later wood construction
In November, 1961, Commission Archaeologist Robert H Steinbach was able to undertake a partial analysis of the floor
area of the northeast room (A) during floor repairs. The nineteenth century wood floor joists rested on bricks which in
turn rested on a badly deteriorated tabby floor. Cultural material here dates 1820-1860. A second tabby floor was
beneath this, resting on a crushed shell base, yielding cultural material of the period 1770-1790. Six inches of sand
below yielded a small sample, tentatively datable 1700-1750, "A more thorough investigation of this room and the
adjacent one to the south was made possible in November, 1962, when twentieth century store windows were removed
from the east wall and all wood floors taken up. Evidence of an earth floor (below tv/o tabby floors) was uncovered,
with a coquina threshold for its south door, (originally an exterior door).
"The southeast room (B) had only one tabby floor, in superior condition, indicating a short period of use and
construction subsequent to Room A, "Additional doors to the street, and to the rear, were discovered in the east and
west walls of Room A, both added at the time of the top tabby floor, oa. 1790. The south door (originally exterior) exists
through all floor levels, being modified for each tabby floor added (it becomes an interior door with the construction of
Room B, with its single tabby floor and the pouring of a second floor in the older room A). With later wood floors it was
"Remnants of an opening in Room B's east (street) wall were found, below "this room's first floor, and can hardly be
other than a garden entrance (see below). "The fireplace in the south room was constructed along with the south
wall of which it is a part. Its first hearth lies below the tabby floor; successive hearths were built with tabby and brick as
floor levels rose.
"The northeast room (A) originally existed therefore as a single room masonry structure, with a door to the patio to the
south, protected from the street by a garden wall continuing southward the east wall of the house (There may well have
been an earlier wood building to the south, as described in Rodriguez' will) The north wall (with no openings) continued
westward to a point touching the now destroyed wing of the Arrivas house. It may have constituted the wall either of a
patio, porch, shed or room to the west, (The present northwest room (c) could not be dug to investigate this.)
"The southeast room (B) was created after Room A by raising the garden wall to full wall height, and evidently by the
addition of south and west walls (and possibly the two west rooms as well. Note that the Sanchez house in 1803 seems
to call for four rooms downstairs, which its dimensions however will not cover.) (See below).
"The south wall is found to be 24" thick. It seems to have been 11" thick originally, with a fireplace projecting to the
south. This projection was then absorbed into the north wall of the Paredes house upon its construction and
'reinforcement' against Sanchez' house in 1803.
"It "should also be noted that the remaining bottom course of the garden wall continues southward across the facade of
the present Paredes house, indicating that it too was probably created in 1803 by raising the garden wall.
"The second fireplace, in Room A, is contemporary with the wood floor, being poured on top of the latest tabby floor.
This stack, containing double fireplaces also on the second floor, was unquestionably added when the mid-nineteenth
century wood second story was added, (Dating is approximate from architectural details of eaves structure, framing,
nails and interior trim). A similar stack in Room B has two fireplaces on the second story; however, because of the
prior existence of the old fireplace in this room, the stack does not run down to ground level, hut is supported at ceiling
height by a heavy timber.
"An analysis of the 53 square varas scheduled for the east wall in the Sanchez testamentary appraisal indicates a wall
height of about 4 1/2 varas or 12 1/2 feet.* Present height of the masonry wall from the tabby floor in Room B
(presumably our 1802 floor) is 9 feet. Since the appraisal also calls for a stairwell, and for a wood floor as well as the
masonry floor for parlors, bedroom and dining room, Sanchez may have had a low second story. This extra height* may
have supported an extra half story (comparable to the adjacent Paredes house), removed in the mid-nineteenth century
in favor of the high ceilinged Victorian second story now evident. On the other hand, only four windows are called for,
hardly enough for two stories unless the second was almost a loft.
"But notice that the Rodriguez-Avero one room house which Sanchez bought is appraised as 4 varas high by 18 varas
'of some walls (Three of the four present walls would measure 18 varas.)
"Taking the same 4 1/2 vara height for the north and south walls against the described 29 varas total of the appraisal,
we arrive at 6 1/2 varas (or 18 1/4 feet). (This is only slightly more than the present 16' depth and would hardly cover
two extra rooms to the rear.) This is further confirmed by the prescription for the floor: 80 square varas, which when
divided by the known 12 vara frontage, also gives 6 1/2 varas in depth We are allowed only 16 varas of interior partition
(1/4 vara thick or 8") with a height of 4 1/2 varas, we get only 10 feet in length. But the door opening was then
4 feet, giving a total of 14' inside, exactly the existing dimension. This wall (originally the south and outside wall of Room
A) is actually, however, 14" thick, with a total of approximately 3" of plaster.
"Additional walls are specified for the stairwell: (again presuming the said 4 1/2 varas height) 2 varas along the north
wall plus about 1 1/2 varas of a west wall (probably added by Sanchez at the northwest corner). The dining room has an
additional 1 1/2 varas of south wall, which cannot now be located until the southwest room can be dug. There was a
cupboard under the stairs, as usual. Both doors and windows had iron - probably hinges and latches. There was also
a wood kitchen with a masonry chimney (which appears in the documents, probably lying to the southwest and was
conveyed to Paredes and replaced by his house.) The well to the rear of 52 St. George St. shows wear on all four sides,
indicating common use by both properties.
"Adding together the documents, the archaeology and the architectural examination of the structure, we obtain a
sequence something like this:
"About 1761 Fernando Rodriguez had Master Builder Juan Perez add a fine masonry room to -the north of his older
frame house, using the 25" full balance of his land so that the new room touched the south wing of Raimundo Arrivas'
house, (Archaeology on the Arrivas House site uncovered this wing, shown on contemporary maps, reaching, the south
boundary of the property and touching the north Rodriguez wall, still standing. This house passed to Antonia Avero by
will, and is recorded by de la Puente on his map in 1763, and appears again on Moncrief's map in 1765 as owned "by
Kip (now clearly a one room house against the north boundary), on de Solis* map.of 1766, and on de la Rocque's
map on 1788 (now 'in the custody of Don Antonio Fernandez', son-in-law of Antonio Avero). It is a one room stone
house with a flat roof. But the lot has now enlarged from 15 varas to 23. It is again a 'small masonry house* with a 23
vara lot when Sanchez purchased it in 1791. During the next ten years he enlarged it to the south to fill exactly one half
his frontage, raising the garden wall for an extra room, added a new ceiling with beaded joists and flooring over both
rooms, and probably a second story or loft with an 'outside' stairwell to it (possibly raising the walls a foot or two to get
better head height under a sloping 'shingle' room to replace the old flat roof.)
"In 1803 Sanchez* widow sold the south half of the property to Juan Paredes, with the right to reinforce his house
against her husband's 'new* house. Paredes also raised the garden wall, absorbed the bulging fireplace and chimney in
his north wall, and added his own fireplace, connecting it into Sanchez' flue (as it is today). He too adopted the 1 1/2
story style (which old photos show in frequent use in both wooden and masonry buildings throughout the city.)
"March I*, 1813> Pedro Fucha bought the south half from Juana Paredes, and less than a month later, the north half
from Mrs, Sanchez. He was still owner in 1820, but in 1834> on Clements map, it has passed to Stephen Arnau. Either
Fucha or Arnau replaced the low Sanchez second story with a fine wood second story. New stringers and floor were
added on top of Sanchez beaded joists and flooring, and a ceiling carried across them below. He then constructed a
new wood first story rear (west) wall to conform with the dimensions of his second story. It may have been;this, between
north and south garden walls, which created both west rooms for the first time. The only major alteration since then was
the replacement of the two east windows with large shop windows* which in turn were removed and replaced by the
present owners Mr. and Mrs. Walter Crawbuek in 1962. The house again looks as it must have in mid-nineteenth
"Thus we have here the little Rodriguez-Avero house, added to by Sanchez and enlarged again by Fucha or Arnau. By
the standards used to name houses, the name of the original unit comes first, followed by the owner who gave it its
major enlargement. Since it can be argued whether Sanchez orFucha-Arnau contributed most, and we do not know
which of the latter did so, we may reasonably title it the Rodrxgues-Avero-Sanches house. Or, in order to make clear its
relationship to the Avero complex surrounding it, the Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez house set Earle W. Newton, December
10, 1962 Archaeological notes by R. H. Steinbach.
This article also appeared in: El Kscribano (newsletter of the St. Augustine Historical Society), No. 46 (January, 1963),
II. ARCHITECTURAL INFORMATION
A. General Statement
1. Architectural interest and merit: The walls of the first story of the Rodrigues-Avero-Sanchez house are an excellent
example of late l&th Sentury Spanish Colonial coquina masonry construction in St. Augustine. The structure is also of
particular interest because an early 19th century frame second story and attic were added to the 18th century base.
2. Condition of fabric: The house and grounds have been partially restored and remodeled (1958) and are being kept in
B. Description of Exterior
1. Over-all dimensions? number of stories: 32'-8 1/2" (three-bay front) x 28!
-0". Two-and-one-half stories.
2. Foundations: Unknown—assumed to be oyster shell rubble and coquina.
3. Wall construction: Ground floor of coquina masonry; second story and attic of wooden frame with clapboarding.
4. Porches: A second story porch (across the west rear end of the house) is framed in wooden post and beam
5. Chimneys: There are three existing coquina chimneys. Two of these chimneys are located in the interior of
the house. The third chimney is located on the south exterior wall. The northernmost interior chimney rises from the
ground floor level and admits fireplace openings on its east and west faces on both the first and second floors.
The southernmost interior chimney rests upon a 7" x 7" wooden " frame. This chimney admits fireplaces on its
east and west faces at the second floor level. The chimney which is located on the south exterior wall is shared with the
adjacent building. This chimney admits fireplaces on its south face from the adjacent building and on its north face from
the Rodriguez-AveroSanchez House, itself. Both these fireplaces are on the ground-floor level.
6. Openings; doorways, doors, windows and shutters: There are three exterior doors on the east (street) facade;
photographic evidence shows that the center 25"— entrance is the oldest of the three but it is not in use at present. The
date of construction of the remaining entrances is obscure. The southernmost door is at present the public's
entrance to the building. On the west there are two entrances. The first of these goes from the rear garden into the
house proper and is at the ground level. The second entrance on the west is at the second story level. It enters from a
porch into the house proper,.There are no entrances on either the north or south walls of the building.
The windows in the building have wooden frames, are double hung, and are pin fastened rather than sash weight
operated. The windows appear to be of the same date as the wooden framing. There are wooden, adjustable louver
shutters on the east second story windows, on the center door on the east facade and on the north end of the rear
porch. All of these shutters were added in the 1953 restoration program but are similar to those used in St. Augustine
from the early I800's.
7. Roof: The roof is a single gable with the ridge north south. There is a dormer centrally located on the west (rear)
slope of the roof. There is an additional shed roof over the rear porch. The east (front) slope of the roof gable is
covered with asbestos shingles while the west side, the dormer, and the porch roof are covered with slate surfaced
asphalt impregnated paper. There are simple, undecorated, wooden cornices under the east and west eaves which
carry around the north and south walls as a short broken pediment.
C. Description of Interior
1. Floor plans: Both the ground and second story plans may be visualized roughly as squares (actually rectangles)
which are divided in the center by an east-west hall. There are two rooms on each side of these central halls. Thus each
floor has four rooms and a central hall. On the ground floor a portion of the south-east room has been divided off to
form public wash rooms.
This southwest room is the only room in the house which does not have a fireplace. The second story central hall
contains a stairway which goes to the third (attic) floor. This third floor (not recorded by HABS) contains three rooms and
a bath and is currently being used as living quarters by the museum curator.
2. Stairways: There are two stairways. The first is of recent (1958) construction and connects the rear (west) garden to
the second story porch. The second stairway, which dates with the original framing, connects the second floor hall to the
3. Flooring: The flooring throughout the "building is of various widths and lengths of pine and, excepting replaced
boards, probably dates with the wooden frame. - portion of the building. There is an existing tabby floor of unknown
date, under the ground floor wooden flooring.
4. Wall and ceiling finish: A portion of the walls of the southwest room on the ground floor were finished with vertical
tongue and groove boards in the 1953 remodeling. The south wall of the southeast room is exposed coquina block. The
wall and ceiling finish throughout the rest of the building is lime plaster over wooden lath.
5. Doorways and doors: The second floor rear door is a simple door of vertical boards. This is the only door in the
building that is thought to be of any historic interest. The remaining interior and exterior doors are recent additions.
6. Trim: The door trim consists of simple flat boards.Simulated hewn members are now used extensively as false beams
7. Hardware: There is no significant hardware on the building.
8. Lighting: The entire electrical system of the house was replaced in 1958, The new system is the metal conduit type
using conventional wall switches and outlets.
9. Heating: There is no central heating system. Where required heat is furnished by gas heaters in central
wall on each floor.
1. Orientation and general setting: The north wall faces 90° west of magnetic north* The house is situated on
a city lot with the east facade of the house being directly on the street line. There is no sidewalk or setback on any kind.
The north wall is part of a former court wall for the Arrivas house and the south wall is a parly wall being shared by both
the Avero House and the Dodge House next to it. The west facade of the house opens onto a rear patio-garden.
2. Enclosures: The rear garden is enclosed by a coquina wall and the adjacent building on the north, a wooden
board fence (^'-O" high) on the west and by a coquina block wall on the south. All of these wall sit directly on the
3. Landscaping, gardens, etc.: The rear garden area has been paved with reclaimed brick. There are plantings
along the north, west and south edges of this rear area. These plantings extend the length of the garden walls
and project out an average of 3' from the garden walls. There are two additional decorative plantings: (1) at
the base of the rear stairs; and (2) at the west end of the garden area in a 6' circular planter.
There are two gates in 'the garden wall. One gate, in the north wall, leads to a narrow alley, through a
wrought iron gate, and thence to the east street. The second gate in the garden area is through the board fence
on the west and leads into a rear easement.
Prepared by William A. Stewart, Architect
St. Augustine Historical
Restoration and Preservation
On April 16, 1971, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
|Prime A. Beaudoin, Photographer August 1960 FRONT ELEVATION (UNRESTORED
ARRIVAS HOUSE TO THE RIGHT) -
Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House, 52 Saint George Street, Saint Augustine
|Prime A. Beaudoin, Photographer August 1960 FRONT ELEVATION
(UNRESTORED ARRIVAS HOUSE TO THE RIGHT) -
Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House, 52 Saint George Street, Saint Augustine
|February 1965 EXTERIOR FROM THE NORTHEAST -
Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House, 52 Saint George Street, Saint Augustine
|Prime A. Beaudoin, Photographer August 1960 WEST (REAR) ELEVATION -
Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House, 52 Saint George Street, Saint Augustine
|February 1965 FIREPLACE, FIRST FLOOR, SOUTH WALL -
Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House, 52 Saint George Street, Saint Augustine,
|February 1965 NORTHWEST ROOM - SECOND FLOOR -
Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House, 52 Saint George Street, Saint Augustine
|February 1965 CENTRAL STAIRCASE AND HALL - SECOND FLOOR -
Rodriguez-Avero-Sanchez House, 52 Saint George Street, Saint Augustine
|Watkins House, 52 St. George Street, St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida
Contributor: Frances Benjamin Johnson
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