St. Augustine is Gator Country

A view looking south down historic St. George Street.

Erica Brough
Published: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 28, 2014 at 3:08 p.m.

America’s oldest city lies just more than 70 miles to the east.

You’d be forgiven if you didn’t know that. Most children don’t, either — schools don’t teach that version of American history.

That’s why a host of University of Florida archaeologists, historians, architects and preservationists are out to rewrite the textbooks. Faculty, staff and students from all over campus have teamed up with the City of St. Augustine, Flagler College, the National Park Service, lawyers, a state representative and a banker to make St. Augustine more than a day-trip destination as it sneaks up on its 450th anniversary next year.

With buildings so old they often have more than one story to tell, St. Augustine weaves a rich history that so few get to hear. But with the rare partnership UF has forged by taking on the management and maintenance of 38 historic buildings on 23 state-owned parcels, the city hopes to be able to share its history with visitors from all over the world.

UF’s direct support organization, a separate nonprofit corporation called UF Historic St. Augustine, is hoping to accomplish this through building and archeological preservation, informative exhibits, a living history museum and even a four-part documentary.

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