Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Love St. Augustine history? This is for you!

If you like Florida history, you’re going to love this likely late 19th century or early 20th century photo album from St. Augustine. Here are many scenes taken near the turn of the century in and around America’s oldest city. There are shots of various vessels making a port call, including the steamboat Planter from Charleston, South Carolina, and the USS Ericsson, the second torpedo boat in the U.S. Navy.

The steamboat Planter may be the same vessel that was piloted by slave Robert Smalls through Confederate defenses in 1862 and surrendered to the Union Navy. It later served as a Union gunboat. However, that boat was beached in 1876, so if this is a photo of it in St. Augustine, it may be from the 1870s.

The USS Ericsson was based in Newport, Rhode Island, but was sent to Key West in 1897 to join U.S. forces in blockading Cuba in the months leading up to the Spanish American War. During the war, the vessel participated in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba and figured in the rescue of more than 100 Spanish sailors from the doomed crusier Vizcaya. The photograph may been taken on the Ericsson’s trip south or on its return in 1898.

In 1895, a wooden bridge was built across Matanzas Bay from St. Augustine to Anastasia Island (South Beach). It was renovated in 1904 to allow for a trolley. One photograph shows the gate to the toll bridge and seems to indicate a train was available. Another photo shows a two-team horse-drawn omnibus that connected with the South Beach train.

Click on any photograph to enlarge it. To purchase this book, please call (727) 822-3278.

1 comment:

  1. Please stop sending email to everyone who is following you on Google+. You may not be aware that most people consider those unsolicited emails to be spam. Just don't check the "send email" box at the bottom of the post. We'll still see you on Google+ but not in email. Thanks.


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