10 January 2008

Oldest House

Ok, so this is the Gonzalez-Alvarez house, also known as the Oldest House. Its name might be deceiving though. While it claims to be the oldest house in America, a quick internet search will prove this to be false. Still, being the oldest existing house in the oldest existing city in America ought to mean something right? You can see the difference in construction between the first and second story. That is because the second story and porch did not exist for many years. The original part was built by the Spanish shortly after the town was burned in 1702. In 1763, St Augustine was transferred to Britain, and it is believed that during this time the second story was added. The house has been preserved since 1918 and was made a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

The other side of the house, taken from the courtyard. Notice the porch on the left, also added by the British.

The photo above and below show are inside the first story and show what the house would have looked like under Spanish rule. The above photo shows that historians believe it may have also doubled as a sort of tavern. Notice in the photo below the "fruit and veggie tray" that could be lowered to the dinner table.

The above and below photo are inside the upstairs and show what the house would have looked like under British rule. Note the difference in tableware and the elaborate furniture.

This shows the system for purifying water. The water would come from the well in the courtyard, and would be poured into this stone bowl. The water then flowed through pores in the rock, and filtered into a pitcher placed underneath the bowl. The amazing thing is, as was demonstrated to us, it worked!
This is the interior of the kitchen which is detached from the main house, as was customary to prevent fires.
On a personal note, my jaw about dropped when I saw this chair in the upstairs part of the house. Why? Because I have one at home exactly like it, that is traced back to at least my great grandma. Probably much older than even that, since now it is a museum piece!

No comments: