Friday, June 27, 2008
St. Augustine, Florida - Part Twelve
Continuing our series on the historic city of St. Augustine, Florida, this is a view of the restored Government House.
Built by the Spanish between 1706 and 1713 on a lot facing the west end of the Plaza de la Constitucion, this unique structure served as the home of Florida's Spanish governors.
When Florida was transferred to Great Britain at the end of the French and Indian War, the Government House was occupied by British officials. It served an important role during the American Revolution and was probably the location of some of the planning of the British strikes against Georgia that were launched from Florida.
After the revolution Florida was returned to Spain and the Government House again served as a home and office for the colony's Spanish governors. It continued to fill this role until Florida was handed over to the United States in 1821.
Although most Floridians are familiar with the "Old Capitol" in Tallahassee, few realize that this historic structure in St. Augustine is actually Florida's "Older Capitol." In addition to its history as a center of activity for Spanish and British officials, the Government House served as a meeting place for Florida's Legislature in 1823 before the site of Tallahassee was selected to become the new territory's permanent capital.
Union officers accepted the surrender of St. Augustine from the city's civil leaders here in 1862 during the Civil War.
The Government House today is a very nice visitor center and museum. The displays include a fascinating walk through the archaeology of the oldest city.
Our series on St. Augustine will continue. Until the next post, you can read more by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com and looking for the St. Augustine heading.