Historic Waterfront Home
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"St. Augustine today contains the largest concentration of historic resources in the United States that testify to the presence of Spain and Spanish-speaking people in this country," said William Adams, the city's director of heritage tourism, in an AP article published 7/22/2007.

The following was written by Dr Adams in 1987-

Site: 8sj2514
Address: 53 Marine Street
Site Name: Puello House

The colonial architecture of St. Augustine was influenced by a royal ordinance concerning the laying out of new towns issued by the King of Spain in 1573. It was decreed that in hot climates the streets should be narrow, and that: "All town houses are to be so planned that they can serve as a defense or fortress against those who might attempt to create disturbances or occupy the town. Each house is to be so constructed that horses and household animals can be kept therein, the courtyards and stockyards being as large as possible to insure health and cleanliness." Thus, in St. Augustine, the streets were narrow, and the houses built right upon them, with walls protecting the courtyards from the street.

The colonial house at 53 Marine Street, constructed late in the Second Spanish Period, shows the effects of these early regulations, being built right to the street line. It is one-and-a-half stories and constructed of coquina, the porous native shellstone quarried on nearby Anastasia Island and invariably plastered for protection against the elements. The building’s stucco finish has a smooth surface. There is a gable roof of north-south orientation with shed dormers front and rear. Windows are double-hung 6/6 and 6/1 sash, with an attic louver. There is one end interior chimney on the Marine Street side. The building in November 1987 is a construction site. The interior has been gutted to the coquina walls. Doors, windows and roof covering have been removed. Foundations have been laid for a large L-shaped addition toward the bay and a garage on the south side of the lot.

This began as a small, very simple coquina house. A 1903 photograph from Marine Street shows it one-and-one-half stories with wood shingle gable roof and shed dormer with wood siding parallel to the roofline. There were vertical board shutters on the dormer. The first floor had a central four-panel cross pattern door and one window on each side, double-hung 9/6 with moveable louvered blinds. The construction of the seawall between 1835 and 1842 greatly increased the depth of the lot, and the arrival of wealthy winter residents after the Civil War prompted increased real estate values. During the 20th century the orientation of the building changed from Marine Street to the bayfront. Outbuildings and other structures to the east were removed and the house expanded in that direction. It acquired a tile roof, rejas on the Marine Street windows, a garage, and other signs of the times. The current remodeling is a continuation in that direction. In conformity with current architectural guidelines in the city of St. Augustine, the additions to be made will have some historical antecedents in colonial architecture. The original coquina building will be a small part of the finished complex. Due to its many remodelings, this house is not usually included in lists of surviving colonial buildings, but research in the past decade has clearly documented it as such.

The area of the colonial city between Bridge and St. Francis Streets is one of mixed usage. Though primarily residential, it includes commercial tourist attractions, religious, and educational buildings. The narrow streets, some still brick, conform to the colonial town plan listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Construction dates in the area range from colonial through modern times. Many of St. Augustine's surviving colonial buildings are located along Marine and St. Francis Streets, including the Oldest House. Along the bayfront and on St. George Street are two of the outstanding Victorian neighborhoods of the city, with many elegant winter residences from the Flagler era. Some colonial-style buildings have been reconstructed, and other buildings have been remodeled in the St. Augustine Colonial Revival style. The area is bounded on the west by Cordova Street and on the east by the bayfront. The section of Avenida Menendez between Bridge and St. Francis is the major waterfront residential street of the downtown area. The area has suffered many demolitions for parking lots and expanded school grounds over the years. A heavy toll has been taken among Flagler-era buildings. The area continues to feel pressure from the tourist and school traffic that passes through.

This Spanish colonial building was constructed of native shellstone (coquina). The narrow streets with houses and their courtyard walls built to the street line reflect the requirement of Royal decrees for New World towns. Except for a two-decade long interlude (1763-1783) of British ownership, St. Augustine was a Spanish colonial outpost for two-and-one-half centuries. In 1821, when ceded to the United States, the city's Iberian defensive environmental elements were wellestablished and have retained that character to the present.

This section of the walled colonial city was first occupied in the 17th century as the early settlement expanded south towards the St. Francis convent. Most structures were destroyed in 1702 by the invading South Carolinians, but by mid-century, houses had been rebuilt on all streets except present-day Cordova Street, then the course of the early 18th-century Rosario defense line. The northern boundary of the area, Bridge Street, led to one of three late colonial San Sebastian River ferry crossings. The British demolished numerous buildings here, but were the first to build along the bayfront on the east side of Marine Street. The Spanish filled this low-lying land in the 1790’s, and substantial residences were thereafter erected on the reclaimed land.

The Spanish crown owned considerable property in this section of the colonial city, such as a school building near the southeast corner of Bridge and St. George Streets and the vacant land west of St. George Street where crops were raised by the garrison. Nine colonial buildings have survived in this section, particularly in clusters along Marine and St. Francis Streets: Sanchez, Marin, Puello, Jones and the two Rovira Houses on Marine; Tovar and Oldest House on St. Francis; and the St. Francis Inn on the corner of St. George and St. Francis. The Llambias House and the St. Francis Barracks lie on the south side of St. Francis Street.(l) The area remained essentially residential throughout the American period, although several religious structures were built along St. George Street (the non-extant 19th-century Presbyterian Church and the 20th-century Synagogue). Several boarding houses were scattered throughout the area, most notably the St. Francis Inn building and the Valencia Hotel. Taken as a whole, this section has a high concentration of 18th and 19th century buildings on all streets except Cordova, which was developed primarily in the 1920’s.(2)

There was a wooden house on this property by 1791. In 1797 a Catholic priest, Father Michael Crosby, bought it. In 1812 he sold part of the property to Maria Puello. The wooden house may have been destroyed in the hurricane of 1811, which ruined others on Marine Street, or it may have been on the section that Crosby retained. At any rate, Maria Puello, in her 1814 testament, when seriously ill, noted that she built the existing stone house at 53 Marine Street at her own expense with money she inherited from her mother. So its date of construction is between 1812 and 1814. Puello (also spelled Pueyo) was a native of Havana whose husband Juan Gill had abandoned her twenty-four years before. They had no children.(3) Puello survived that illness and in 1823 sold the house to Jose Sanchez. An 1830 deed for the property just to the south notes it as "bounding on the north by a House and Lot at present occupied by Simeon Sanchez Esq."(4)

Jose (later Joseph) Simeon Sanchez (1797-1853) was one of the most prominent figures in St. Augustine during the territorial and early statehood periods. He served as tax collector, justice of the peace, alderman, mayor, sheriff, marshal, representative to the legislature, and delegate to the St. Joseph constitutional convention. In 1835 he bought the house at 43 Marine Street and in 1847 he married Sabina Marin Hawkins whose family owned 47 Marine Street. Thus, over the years he was connected with all the property at the north end of the block, and some of it stayed in his family until the 1930’s. Various pieces of the property were put into commercial use over the years, and an 1841 agreement refers to 53 Marine Street as a "House and Lot at this time occupied by Emanuel Crespo as a retail qrocery."(5)

The house stayed in Joseph Simeon Sanchez's estate until 1877 when his son Frank acquired title, trading it for his interest in the house at 43 Marine Street. Frank lived there until his death in 1897.(6) In 1900 it was rented for commercial purposes by "Ingraham Artistic Signs, established 1870." This was the business of W. Milford Ingraham, a Union soldier who settled in St. Augustine after the Civil War, served as city treasurer, fire chief and president of the city council, while operating a business at the house, sign and decorative painter and seller of paints and oils.(7) In 1904 Frank’s son, J. W. Sanchez, a local undertaker, used the house as a residence.(8)

In 1911 the 39 heirs of Frank Sanchez sold the house to Margaret Armstrong (later Hunter) for $3,150. She held it for two years then sold it back into the Sanchez family for $3,000.(9) The purchaser was J. Clifford R. Foster (1873-1928), the adjutant general of Florida, who was a grandson of Joseph Simeon Sanchez and a nephew of Frank. He was born in Savannah and came to St. Augustine in 1876 after the death of his father, a former Union soldier who had married into a family famous for its Confederate firebrands. He then became a southern planter. Clifford Foster was forced, for economic reasons, to leave school at an early age, but was appointed assistant postmaster of St. Augustine before he reached 21. He started the Morning Journal newspaper, resigning to join the military during the SpanishAmerican War. In 1899 he was elected municipal judge, and in 1901, while still in his 20’s, was appointed adjutant general. During his term he got the State military headquarters moved to St. Augustine and got the Federal Government to turn over the abandoned St. Francis Barracks for its use. He served until 1917, then was reappointed in 1923, serving until his death. While out of office, he helped to organize the American City Bureau and served for a time as executive manager of the Broadway Association in New York City. He was president of the Board of Trustees of Flagler Hospital, director of the First National Bank, and president of the Magnolia Hotel. He also served as president of the National Guard Association of the United States.(10)

The house was conveniently located a block away from Foster's office, but while he was adjutant general a house at 86 Marine Street was provided for his use. Foster enlarged and remodeled 53 Marine Street, adding a clay tile roof in place of the earlier wood shingles. In 1917 it was reported: "Adjutant General and Mrs. J. Clifford R, Foster have vacated their former residence adjoining the state arsenal and are now located in their own very pretty and comfortable home at 53 Marine Street, where in a day or two, as soon as household effects are placed, they will be at home to their friends."(11) They did not stay there permanently, however. In 1918 it was reported: "Mr. and Mrs. P. H. Skidmore and child and Mrs. Skidmore's father, George A. Brigham, all of Winter Hill, Mass., have arrived in St. Augustine for the season. They have spent a few days at The Monson while looking for a suitable cottage to occupy during their winter's stay here. They were very much attracted by the pretty cottage belonging to General J. C. R. Foster, which has entrances from both Bay and Marine Streets, and have leased that for the season."(12)

In 1920 it was reported: "Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Kellar entertained Thursday night in the cottage on Bay Street, which they have leased for the winter months from General and Mrs. J. C. R. Foster. This cottage was remodeled from one of St. Augustine's old coquina houses, and every precaution was taken to preserve as much as possible of its quaint charm, so it is most attractive in every way. The party of Thursday was in the nature of a house warming and there were many friends entertained during the evening. There was dancing for the young folks to the accompaniment of victrola music. The decorations throughout the rooms were especially pretty, southern smilax, moss, ferns, roses and poinsettias being used. Refreshments of Dunch, sandwiches, cake and bon-bons were served in the dining-room during the evening."(13)

Later that year it was noted: "Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Keller, who have enjoyed the attractive cottage of General Foster on the Bay for the past nine months will take up their residence October first at the Villa Zorayda, where they will welcome their friends. Mr. and Mrs. Keller came here over a year ago from Charleston, South Carolina, and that they are pleased with the Ancient City and its people is evidenced by the fact that they will purchase or lease a home as soon as one is available and will then have their household effects shipped in."(14)

In 1924 Foster, then back in office as adjutant general, bought part of the lot to the south of his, and did some rearranging to give his cottage a better view of the bay. It was reported: "The Von Balsam house, which is on the property bought some months ago by Adjutant General J. C. R. Foster, adjoining his Bay Street property, is now being torn down. This is an interesting landmark, as it is one of the oldest frame buildings in the city. General Foster says that if it had been a stone house, he would have preserved it for its historical interest, but as it was very shabby it detracted from the beauty of Bay Street and he felt that it would be best to tear it down. The Hite house, which was on the northeast corner of the lot, is to be moved to the south end and renovated. This leaves a large yard between it and the Foster coquina cottage, which faces on Marine Street." (15)

Foster was actively involved in real estate development during the Florida land boom of the 1920’s. In 1926 the boom collapsed, symbolically swept away by a hurricane, and at the end of the year the large wooden Victorian Magnolia Hotel of which he was President was destroyed by fire. Still, as 1927 dawned he was quoted as saying that 1926 had been the city's best year, and that gamblers should be able to take a loss without blinking. He died in June 1928 of a heart attack at his home in the Barracks. He was 55.(16)

53 Marine Street continued to be rented to various tenants. Royce Kershaw, a contractor, lived there in 1927, Dr. Z. Lote Webb, local dentist, was there in the 1930’s, and Mrs. Mary Poe was the occupant in 1940.(17)

Winifred Foster, the General's widow, died in 1937 and the house was inherited by her brother, Charles Young, Sr., owner of the Monson Hotel. In 1943 it was sold to William F. Prentice, an antique dealer who had been living in another colonial house at 21 Aviles Street. He kept it until 1947 and sold it to Arthur and Fanny Kendrick. In 1949 Catherine and Clifford Lawrence bought it from Kissimmee, Florida. They sold it in 1957 to Dr. Reuben J. Plant, Jr. who lived there for a decade, glassing in the porch off the dining room and building a small guesthouse. Camillo and Marion Gazzalo bought it from Plant in the 1960’s. Mrs.Gazzalo, by then a widow, sold it to Arthur and Elizabeth Peckham from Canada in 1978. They lived there several years and sold to the current owners, the Childres.(18)

When it was on the Christmas Tour of Homes a card was distributed noting" "Last Christmas Ida Marie Rogero Childre found the deed to No. 53 Marine Street in her stocking. This gift from her husband returns the property to the Sanchez family." The occupant at the time was William Daniell, an antique dealer who served on the city's Historic Architectural Review Board and later became chairman of the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board. In 1987 the house was vacant, undergoing major enlargement and remodeling.

1. Kathleen Deagan, et, al "A Sub-Surface Survey of the St. Augustine City Environs," (Tallahassee, 1976); Juan Jose Elixio de la Puente, "Plano I de la Plaza de San Agustin," January 22, 1764; Mariano de la Rocque, "Plano Particular de la Ciudad de San Agustin," April 25, 1788; East Florida Papers, Escrituras, 1784-1821; Albert Manucy 'The Houses of St. Augustine, 1565-1821 (St. Augustine, 1962), p. 22-25 and 41-747.
2. Anon., "Copy of a Plan of the City of St, Augustine," 1833; 1885 and 1894 Birds-Eye Views; Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1888 1958,
3. "Partial Chain of Title, Lot 4 and North Half of Lot 5, Block 22, 53 Marine St." in Block and Lot File, Historic, Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board; East Florida Papers, Escrituras, Bundle 379, folio 269.
4. St. Johns County Courthouse, Deed Book H, p. 33; Deed Book I-J, p. 42.
5. St. Augustine Historical Society, biographical file "Sanchez"; Jose Simeon Sanchez Papers, SAHS manuscript collection, folder "repairs to house."
6. Deed Book X, p. 185; Miscellaneous Book 1, p. 84.
7. St. Augustine Record, January 17, 1900; p. 4; SAHS biographical cards, "Ingrah M.
8. 1904 City Directory.
9. Deed Book ZZ, P. 186; Deed Book 24, p. 289.
10. St. Augustine Record, June 18, 1828, p. 1 and 2; June 19, 1928, p. 1 and 3; June 20, 1928, p. 1; June 21, 1928, p. 1; February 17, 1922, p. 4; January 31, 1925, p. 5.
11. St. Augustine Record, January 22, 191,79 p, 6.
12. St. Augustine Record, November 10, 1918, p. 2; for reports on other winter residents, see October 1, 1917, p. 4 and January 3, 1921, p, 4.
13. St. Augustine Record, January 2, 1920, p. 4.
14. St. Augustine Record, September 27, 1920, p. 4.
15. Deed Book 52, p. 256; St. Augustine Record, July 30, 1924, p. 4.
16. St. Augustine Record, January 2, 1927, p. 2; June 18, 1928, p. 1 and 2.
17. City Directories, 1927-40.
18. Deed Book 137, p. 291; Deed Book 168, p. 525; Deed Book 239, p. 22-3; City Directories 1960-85.

Below is quoted from "The Houses of St. Augustine" (pg 9) by David Nolan et al,1st Ed.1995, Pineapple Press, Sarasota: The block-long section of Marine Street between Bridge and St. Francis Streets contains one of the finest collections of colonial buildings in the city. They were constructed before the seawall on the bayfront, and thus cling to the Marine Street rather than the Avenida Menendez side of their building lots. Buildings closer to the water tend to date from the Flagler era when the seawall was safely in place to protect them from periodic inundation. Several of the houses on Marine Street were occupied in the early years by the black children of well-to-do white men.

TEXT ADDENDUM File No. 17145
Borrower: N/A
Property Address: 53 Marine Street a.k.a. PUELLO
County: Saint Johns
City: Saint Augustine State: FL Zip Code: 32084-5038
Lender: Jess Childre

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