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The next few blog postings will simply be a record of our various adventures as we make the long trip from Florida to California. Due to the long hours we will be traveling and our late evening arrivals we can not promise that our postings will be anything other than random pictures.
After 23 months it is time to say good bye to these old friends. Now that we have changed our official daytime wear to jeans and tennis shoes it seemed like the right time.
We have to admit that we feel a little "rutterless" as we begin our trip homeward bound.
But one thing that we have learned while serving in the Florida Orlando Mission is that we can do hard things. Leaving our friends in Orlando and traveling to be reunited with our family in California is definitely one of those "hard things".
Just a little history lesson to get us started:
Ponce de Leon claimed Florida for Spain in 1513. Other Spanish explorers found gold and silver in Mexico and Peru. The treasure was sent back to Spain in ships sailing the Gulf stream. Spanish settlements needed to be built in Florida to protect the Spanish treasure fleets. King Philip II of Spain sent Pedro Menendez , along with 700 soldiers and colonists to settle Florida and in 1565 he landed here and founded St. Augustine making it the oldest continually occupied European settlement in North American.
The original gates that were the entrance to St. Augustine. After 150 difficult years, the Spanish military and the residents of old St. Augustine felt the need to fortify the city for their own protection. The pillars that remain supported a drawbridge that was the only way in. Beside the pillars, a wall of logs standing end to end surrounded the town and outside the pillars ran a moat.
The Old Senator, a 600 year old oak tree.
Named the "Old Senator" because it is old, shady and crooked :)
Henry Flagler was a self made millionaire, best known for his partnership with John D. Rockefeller with whom he founded the Standard Oil Company. Flagler had a vision for St. Augustine. He wanted to make it the south's playground for the rich and famous.
The Old Jail, built in 1891 actually held prisoners for 60 years. It was the site of hangings and housed both men and women prisoners.
St. Augustine Lighthouse. The original watchtower was constructed in the late 1500's, was the nation's oldest. The coquina tower from the 1800's was later destroyed by erosion and the current lighthouse was constructed in 1874.
Only 218 more steps to go...
The lighthouse care taker's home
What would Florida be without a nearby alligator farm
The Spanish began construction of the fort in 1672 and took nearly 23 long years to complete. This makes the fort the oldest masonry structure in the United States. Made entirely out of coquina stone, a mix of sea shells and quartz grains, that is soft and easy to cut, but hard when cured in the sun. Cannon balls sink into the walls, rather than shatter the walls of the fort. The walls are ten feet wide a the bottom and taper down to four feet at the top.
Elder Busath showing off his newly acquired Federal Park pass for Senior citizen's.
The cannons could shoot a distance of up to three miles with incredible accuracy!
This large coquina stone ball signifies the zero mile marker of the old Spanish Trail. There is a twin to the ball located in Balboa Park in San Diego. The idea for the trail was conceived in 1915 and was to be the shortest trade route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and was completed nearly fifteen years later.
Ripley's Museum, purchased in 1950 was originally the winter home of William Warden and his 14 children, mostly girls, with only one bathroom.
Mision Nombre de Dios. St. Augustine was officially established on September 8, 1565. This was the day of the arrival of Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, founder of St. Augustine, and Father Francisco Lopez. they constructed an altar of stone and wood and conducted the very first Catholic mass in the United States. A massive cross, weighing 70 tons, was erected in 1965 celebrating the city's 400th anniversary.
This is a palm tree growing from the center of a live oak. It is said that if you kiss your loved one under this "Love Tree," you will be together forever.
The Grace United Methodist Church
One of the conditions that Flagler imposed on churches was that there were never to be bells in the towers. To this day, there are no bells.
Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church, built in 1889 as a memorial to his daughter, Jenny Louise Benedict. Henry Flagler, his wife, his daughter and granddaughter are all entombed in the west wing of the church.
The Lightner Museum. This building was the site of Henry Flager's second hotel, the Alcazar. In this lavish hotel, guests could experience luxuries such as Turkish baths and early motion picture shows. In 1948, the hotel was purchased by Otto C. Lightner,a collector or collections, and now displays turn of the century art, furniture, Tiffany glass works and much more.
Villa Zorayda, the very first poured concrete structure, was the brainchild of millionaire William Franklin W. Smith and was constructed in 1883.
The oldest street in St. Augustine, Aviles Street.
Sugar cane growing at the distillery
The Gonzalez-Alvarez house is the oldest surviving Spanish Colonial dwelling in Florida. It has been occupied since the 1600's and the present house dates to the early 1700's. In 1970, the U.S. Department of the Interior designated it a National Historic Landmark.
Next stop, Alexandria, Louisiana