Above are the Old City Gates of St. Augustine, Florida.
St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest city in the continental United States. Juan Ponce de Leon was the first Spanish explorer to discover Florida’s coast in 1513. He claimed the land for Spain and called it La Florida, which means “Land of the Flowers”. Territorial disputes occurred between the Spanish, French, and English making fort construction and protection necessary. St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez under contract to King Phillip of Spain.
The oldest wood schoolhouse in the USA dates back to 18th century. It is located inside the Old City Gates in St. Augustine, Florida. The schoolhouse was constructed of red cedar and cypress which were fastened together by using wooden pegs and handmade nails. The schoolhouse has two stories. The second floor is where the schoolmaster and his family would have lived.
This 19th century watermill illustrates what a running watermill would have looked like during the colonial period. The water wheel was used to power the mechanical process of grinding flour, lumber, or in textile production. The continuous movement of the watermill generates the electrical power. The force of the water is what drives the blades of the wheel, which rotates the axle, and then drives the mill’s machinery. The water used to power the mill can be diverted from a river or mill pond.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse was built from 1871 to 1874. It stands 165 feet above sea level on the north end of Anastasia Island. The St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum was opened full time to the the public in 1994. It is visited annually by over 180,000 people! The original lighthouse built in 1824 crumbled into the ocean on 1880. The current lighthouse in St. Augustine replaced the fallen structure.
When traveling in St. Augustine, many options for transportation are available. Mopeds and small vehicles can be rented. Carriages pulled by horse are a luxurious option for couples. We decided the walking tour was our cheapest option as well as great exercise. The St. Augustine Old Town Trolley gives tours of historic St. Augustine and shares history along the way http://www.trolleytours.com/st-augustine/# . Whatever the mode of transportation, visitors become part of history when touring St. Augustine.