Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Love St. Augustine history? This is for you!
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.