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The Stone That Saved Town Of Saint Augustine

Leaving the Hostel on Bridge Road, for my morning walk and every day ration of individuals watching, I stopped alongside the bay to benefit from the water. While I used to be checking O. C. Whites’ menu, an important place to eat overlooking the Bay in St. Augustine, I overheard a couple from Boston. They have been engaged in an animated dialog about the town’s historical past. “If St. Augustine is the nation’s oldest city,” she said challenging her companion, “why do we’ve so many buildings in the Boston area which can be a lot older “

Seeing that her companion didn’t fairly understand how to respond to her, I interrupted their dialog. Interrupting strangers in the midst of a dialog is a behavior of mine. Not a habit my husband significantly appreciates, and others have voiced as rude, however, it’s something I do to fulfill new and fascinating individuals. I interjected, “The British burned the town down, and so they were not the primary to do it. The city has been assaulted by Indians, pirates and others.” I continued, “The British have been the last to burn the town down in 1702 after a fifty day siege of the Fort, The Castillo de San Marcos. I suppose they were mad because they could not knock down the partitions of the Fort after fifty days of cannon fire. That is why there are not any buildings older than Boston’s”

I could see the eyes of her companion light up. “That is proper,” he exclaimed. “Once we visited the Fort, I remember hearing that the construction was product of Coquina; an amazing stone that was quarried on that Island across the best way. However I believed it was twenty days not fifty.”

I smiled broadly; I all the time get a kick out of how much historical past people decide up after they go to St. Augustine. “Additionally true,” I said, “but it surely was twenty-seven days of bombardment by General James Oglethorpe in 1740. He gave up and left town; he did not burn it down. The reason the Coquina in St. Augustine’s Fort was so effective against cannon hearth shouldn’t be its hardness but its softness. Cannon balls would sink into it relatively than shatter or puncture the walls of the Fort. The Coquina itself turned out to be a terrific deterrent of hostile forces.”

“That is some stone.” she mentioned. “Where can we see more of it ”
“There are a lot of locations to see it for those who look,” I responded. “You will see it at the town gates, in most of the buildings and stone fences around the Flock city. Only a finite quantity was quarried, for the reason that builders discovered it was easier to re-use the stone from damaged buildings than quarry more of it. Then newer techniques started to be used. In truth, the first poured concrete structure within the United States is the Zorayda Castle over on King Avenue. The Coquina used for army constructions on the south end of town was re-used to construct the Franciscan convent after which in the muse for the barracks, built on the identical site.”

I have at all times found the usage of Coquina in St. Augustine a fascinating story. What I discovered through the years is that Coquina is a mix of mineral calcite and phosphate normally within the type of seashells or coral; in layman’s phrases, compressed sea shells. This compression occurred naturally at Anastasia Island in St. Augustine, the place early settlers constructed a quarry to retrieve the stone. It is usually discovered uncovered in lots of areas alongside the east coast of Florida from stone island cap black on black St. Johns to Palm Beach counties. It may be found as far inland as 20 miles from Florida’s east coast.

When Coquina is extracted it is vitally comfortable. Its softness makes it straightforward to harvest from a quarry and kind into varied shapes together with block. However, before it can be utilized as a constructing material it should be left to dry for just a few years; it is still smooth, but laborious enough to use in building.

Coquina is a singular material with an interesting history; simply one of the numerous fascinating and unique features present in Saint Augustine. I’ve been coming to St. Augustine for the last six years and have realized many fascinating information which are particular only to this space, and I love to seek out unwitting strangers to share my knowledge with during my morning walks.

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