Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Walking St Augustine…from Tolomato.

As every blog reader knows, Tolomato Cemetery is located at the very start of the Historic District, at the north end of the city near the old City Gates (below) and the modern Visitors Information Center and Parking Garage. So it’s a perfect place for beginning your stroll through historic St Augustine, moving between past and present.  IMG_0094  But it just got even better!  Elsbeth “Buff” Gordon, the architectural historian and writer who has given us Florida’s Colonial Architectural Heritage and Heart and Soul of Florida: Sacred Sites and Historical Architecture, has just finished her new book, Walking St. Augustine.  The author is a familiar presence in St Augustine and has worked on many archaeological and historical projects. 
 This is a much needed pocket guide to St Augustine, published by the University Press of Florida and sponsored by several Florida historical organizations and several years in the making. It is based on a set of manageable walking tours that will take visitors through the downtown historic districts and tell them all the insider details about the buildings and their builders or former residents.  And, best of all, she’s presenting the book at Tolomato Cemetery on our next Open Day, Saturday, April 18, 2015.  Below is the already dog-eared copy we have at the cemetery…  IMG_0096[1]  Buff Gordon will be at Tolomato all day from 11-3:00 pm to meet visitors and sign books, and she will also give a special presentation at 1:00 pm.  This would be a great time to buy the book (about $15.00...and you know you’re going to buy it sooner or later anyway) because the author is generously donating all proceeds to the Tolomato Cemetery Fence Fund for the replacement of the horrible fence seen below.  IMG_2136  And since many of the people whose homes or properties appear in Walking St. Augustine are  buried at Tolomato Cemetery, we’re going to be doing some special tours focusing on a few of them, such as Fr. Miguel O’Reilly, whose vault is shown below, and who is  connected with the O’Reilly House on Aviles Street, and Mary Darling, who taught at the Oldest Schoolhouse right around the corner on St. George St.  Then visitors can take their signed copies of the books and go on a special kind of "scavenger hunt" and find the site in question, based on the excellent maps, directions and photos in the book.  
There will also be music and…refreshments will be Girl Scout cookies, including Thin Mints!  Don’t miss it!