Leaving the Hostel on Bridge Street, for my morning walk and each day ration of people watching, I stopped along the bay to enjoy the water. Whereas I used to be checking O. C. Whites’ menu, a terrific place to eat overlooking the Bay in St. Augustine, I overheard a pair from Boston. They had been engaged in an animated conversation about the city’s history. “If St. Augustine is the nation’s oldest city,” she mentioned difficult her companion, “why do we have now so many buildings in the Boston space which are a lot older?”
Seeing that her companion didn’t quite understand how to reply to her, I interrupted their conversation. Interrupting strangers in the course of a dialog is a behavior of mine. Not a behavior my husband significantly appreciates, and others have voiced as rude, however, it is something I do to meet new and fascinating folks. I interjected, “The British burned the town down, and so they were not the first to do it. The city has been assaulted by Indians, pirates and others.” I continued, “The British had been the last to burn the town down in 1702 after a fifty day siege of the Fort, The Castillo de San Marcos. I guess they have been mad because they couldn’t knock down the walls of the Fort after fifty days of cannon fireplace. That’s why there are no buildings older than Boston’s”
I might see the eyes of her companion mild up. “That is right,” he exclaimed. “Once we visited the Fort, I remember hearing that the structure was product of Coquina; an incredible stone that was quarried on that Island throughout the way. However I believed it was twenty days not fifty.”
I smiled broadly; I at all times get a kick out of how a lot historical past folks decide up when they go to St. Augustine. “Also true,” I said, “but it was twenty-seven days of bombardment by Normal James Oglethorpe in 1740. He gave up and left town; he didn’t burn it down. The rationale the Coquina in St. Augustine’s Fort was so efficient in opposition to cannon fire is not its hardness however its softness. Cannon balls would sink into it reasonably than shatter or puncture the partitions of the Fort. The Coquina itself turned out to be a terrific deterrent of hostile forces.”
“There are a lot of locations to see it if you happen to look,” Stone Island Jackets I responded. “You will note it at the town gates, in most of the buildings and stone fences round town. Solely a finite amount was quarried, because the builders found it was easier to re-use the stone from broken buildings than quarry more of it. Then newer strategies began for use. Actually, the first poured concrete structure within the United States is the Zorayda Castle over on King Avenue. The Coquina used for military structures on the south finish of city was re-used to construct the Franciscan convent and then in the muse for the barracks, constructed on the identical site.”
I’ve at all times discovered the usage of Coquina in St. Augustine a fascinating story. What I learned through the years is that Coquina is a mix of mineral calcite and phosphate often in the type of seashells or coral; in layman’s phrases, compressed sea shells. This compression happened naturally at Anastasia Island in St. Augustine, where early settlers built a quarry to retrieve the stone. It is also discovered exposed in lots of areas alongside the east coast of Florida from 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 very gentle. Its softness makes it straightforward to harvest from a quarry and type into numerous shapes together with block. Nevertheless, before it can be used as a building materials it should be left to dry for a few years; it’s still tender, however hard sufficient to make use of in development.
Coquina is a novel material with an fascinating historical past; just one in every of the many fascinating and unique options present in Saint Augustine. I have been coming to St. Augustine for the final six years and have learned many interesting info that are specific only to this space, and I really like to find unwitting strangers to share my knowledge with during my morning walks.