We headed down to St. Augustine on Friday. Even though we've been in northeastern Florida a couple of times before, we've never gone to the oldest city in the United States. To be accurate it's the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement and port in the continental United States (Wikipedia). It was settled by Spanish Admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés in September 1565. It has been ruled by the Spanish (twice), the British, and finally by the United States starting in 1822 when Florida became an official US territory. There are lots of "oldest" things in the city since it was first visited by Ponce de Leon in 1513 including Castillo de San Marcos (masonry fort), Gonzalez-Alvarez House (house), first European child born (1566), etc.
St. Augustine is the home of the Fountain of Youth, a legendary spring that can restore the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. According to Wikipedia, the legend became prominent in the 16th century, when it became attached to Juan Ponce de León. According to an apocryphal combination of New World and Eurasian stories, Ponce de León was searching for the Fountain of Youth when he traveled to St. Augustine area in 1513. The Fountain of Youth Archeological Park was established in about 1904. Though there is no evidence that the fountain located in the park today is the storied fountain, visitors still drink the water. We didn't drink any of the water. I'm not sure I want to be any younger. What happens if you drink too much? Would I have to give up my pension and Social Security? Is it covered by Medicare?
The modern city was developed by Henry Flagler, a partner with John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil. He arrived in St. Augustine in the 1880s and was the force behind turning the city into a winter resort for the wealthy northerners. He built the first 3 hotels in Saint Augustine that are now part of the Flagler College campus in the downtown area. Flagler also bought a number of local railroads and incorporated them into the Florida East Coast Railway, which built its headquarters in St. Augustine. Flagler extended the FEC all the way to Key West by the 1930's.
After the Civil War, former slaves in St. Augustine established Lincolnville, named after Abraham Lincoln. Lincolnville has the largest concentration of Victorian Era homes in St. Augustine. It also became a key setting for the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's with Martin Luther King, Jr. preaching sermons in several of the churches in Lincolntown.
No DDD's in St. Augustine, but we had a great dinner in a Cuban-style restaurant, La Herencia. Sue had a pork dish and I had flank steak in a tomato sauce with fried plantains. Dinner was accompanied with a good, although expensive sangria. La Herencia is worth another trip the next time we're in St. Augustine.