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A Native of Winby
Jim's Little Woman
Jim and Marty in St. Augustine, Florida
"Jim's Little Woman" by Sarah Orne Jewett

According to their biographers, Sarah Orne Jewett and Annie Fields stayed at the Ponce de Leon hotel in St. Augustine, Florida at least three times in the springs of 1888, 1890, and 1896.  After their second stay, Jewett published two pieces set in St. Augustine:  "Jim's Little Woman" (December 1890) and "A Lonely Worker" (April 1893).  The purpose of this presentation is to document the St. Augustine setting for "Jim's Little Woman."
    This documentation may prove interesting on several grounds.  Jewett has set the story at a quite specific time in the history of St. Augustine, when the city was quickly changing from a quiet, old town by the sea into a busier tourist destination under the influence of Henry Flagler.  From 1884 to 1890 and after, Flagler built two large and luxurious hotels in St. Augustine, completed a direct rail connection from New York to St. Augustine, and in numerous other ways changed the shape of the city  (See Graham 2004, p. 23, and also "The Flagler Era").  Jewett's story, therefore, enriches the record of this historical transition.
     Jewett clearly sets the story after the opening of the Ponce de Leon hotel (January 10, 1888).  All of the story's events, therefore, should occur between Jewett's first visit in 1888 and the date of the story's publication in December 1890.  One of the remarkable features of this story is that Jewett has incorporated so much detail about the city in about 1890, from features of and events at the Ponce de Leon, to the appearance of the harbor and even the construction of new jetties to improve the harbor entrance.  Though Jewett fairly often sets stories in specific locations that include accurate geographical detail, only a few offer so much verifiable information about a known site.
    What follows are all of the references the story makes to specific places, activities and events in St. Augustine, with brief discussions of each, indicating their factual foundation.  These discussions are designed mainly to illustrate the accuracy of Jewett's portrayal of the city, but they also may offer starting points for further study of the story.

Print sources used below that are not currently available on the Internet

Beth Rogero Bowen and the St. Augustine Historical Society, St. Augustine in the Gilded AgeCharleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2008.
Thomas Graham, Flagler's St. Augustine Hotels.  Sarasota, Fl: Pineapple Press, 2004.
Thomas Graham, Mr. Flagler's St. Augustine. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014.
Karen Harvey, America's First City: St. Augustine's Historical Neighborhoods.  Lake Buena Vista, FL: Tailored Tours Publications, 1997.
Karen Harvey, St. Augustine and St. John's County: A Pictorial History.  Virginia Beach, VA: Donning Company, 1980.

Orientation: Maps

The Location of Jim and Marty's Coquina House
Size and Appearance of Jim and Marty's Coquina House
The Spanish Burying-Ground
The Cathedral
The Plaza & the St. Joseph Academy
The Lighthouse and Anastasia Island
The Old Fort
The Great Hotels with the Towers
Did Marty Work for the Flagler Hotels?
Union Station, Pavements and Streets
The Old Gates and St. George Street
The Sea Wall and the Barracks
The Harbor Jetties

Orientation: Maps

Much the material below will be clearer if one is familiar with the layout of the old city area of St. Augustine.

Map 1 -- Overview of the old city from before 1882
Up is west on this map

Map 1

This map is from Max Bloomfield's Illustrated Historical Guide embracing an account of the antiquities of St. Augustine, Florida...; the image is available courtesy of Though this map shows the city significantly before the Jewett and Fields' visits and therefore not exactly as it appeared to them, it is useful for showing most of the landmarks mentioned in the story.  Following is a key for places mentioned in the story or in explanatory notes.

East bank of the St. Sebastian River
    Across the river from M. Daniels is the approximate location of the St. Sebastian Saw and Planing Mill and the St. Augustine Sawmill.  Jim at least once helped load the Dawn of Day with lumber at one of these mills.

Orange groves
    Upon first seeing St. Augustine from the harbor, Marty thinks some of the green she sees must be orange trees.  Whether she really could have seen oranges in quantity from the harbor is difficult to determine.  However, any of the empty spaces in the town on this map could have been orange groves, for oranges were cultivated in most suitable areas.  Graham (2014) notes that the Markland property, owned by city leader and associate of Henry Flagler, Dr. Andrew Anderson, consisted largely of orange groves and that these remained near the Ponce de Leon during 1888-1890.  Anderson owned much of the property between Tolomato Street and the San Sebastian River on Map 1.  Furthermore, like Jim and his grandfather, many people who had gardens also had an orange tree or two.
Maria Sanchez Creek
    The northern end of this creek marks the future location of Henry Flagler's Alcazar hotel and casino.  To the north, across King Street, will be the location of the Ponce de Leon hotel.  See maps below.

St. George Street (sometimes called George Street in the story)
    King Street crosses St. George Street in approximately the middle of the map and of the old city, and forms the southern border of the Plaza de la Constitucion.
    At the north end of George Street is the City Gate, called the "old gates" in the story.

Charlotte Street
    Running parallel to George, a block closer to the bay and the Matanzas River, Charlotte street marks the eastern edge of the Plaza de la Constitucion,
    A block north of the Plaza is Treasury Street, which runs through from Bay St. to Tolomato St. (misspelled on the map).
    Another short block north from Treasury Street is a short lane that passes only between Bay and Charlotte Streets.  Though not readable on this image, one can see in the enlarged detail below that this is Baya Lane, which is in the neighborhood of Jim and Marty's home.  In the detail below, #18 is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine.  The cathedral faces into the Plaza de la Constitucion, on Basin Street.

map 3b

Detail from Map 1
Jim and Marty's neighborhood.

Bay Street (called Marine Street on some maps and Avenida Menendez today)
    Jim and Marty's house is said to face a narrow lane and to have a window toward the harbor and is near enough to the plaza that one can look from a first-story window and observe ships entering the harbor, docking and unloading.  This places the house on Bay Street and within sight of the several piers between Baya Lane and the Plaza.
    The sea wall runs along Bay Street from the Army Barracks, at the south end of the wall, to Fort Marion at the north end.
    A square inlet along the wall, indicates the Plaza Basin, which is at the east end of the Plaza de la Constitucion.

Anastasia Island
    Old Light Ho.
    New Light Ho.
    Coquina Quarries
    After 1887, new jetties were constructed to extend into the harbor from the north end of Anastasia Island and the south end of the facing island (labeled North Beach on the map, now called Vilano Beach).  Jim worked for some time on these jetties.

Map 2 -- Detail of overview of St. Augustine, 1914
Up is east on this map.

Map 2

Wylie Tourist Map courtesy of

This map comes from well after Jewett and Fields' 1890 stay in St. Augustine.  For example, the first bridge to Anastasia Island was completed in 1895 (renovated in 1904), in time for the friends' final stay in 1896.  However, this map shows a number of sites in the story that are not on the pre-1882 map, several resulting from changes made by or under the influence of Henry Flagler, as he developed his tourist-centered enterprises.

The Harbor
This closer look gives a fuller view of Fort Marion and the piers along Bay Street.  By the time this map was made, an extensive fire had destroyed the Baya Lane area, and the lane no longer existed.

St. Joseph's Academy
Located on St. George Street, south of the Plaza, near the Public Library, this is the school run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, who are mentioned in the story as teaching at a school near the Plaza.

Flagler Buildings
    The Ponce de Leon Hotel stands within the block bounded by Cordova (formerly Tolomato), King, Savilla (Sevilla), and Valencia Streets.
    The Alcazar Hotel and Casino are across King Street from the Ponce de Leon.  Though not mentioned specifically in the story, this is one of the other large hotels with towers.
    The railway station on Malaga St. at the west end of Valencia St. was new in 1890, a stop on Flagler's Florida rail routes that were reaching southward toward Miami and eventually Key West.  Presumably, this is the station at which Jim arrives after his long absence.
    Not shown on the map, at the northwest corner of Ribera and Valencia Streets stood the steam laundry for the Flagler hotels.  The story suggests that Marty may have been working there when she heard that Jim had died.

The Old Cemetery
Also known as Tolomato Cemetery and the Old Spanish Cemetery, on Cordova St. between Orange and Saragossa Sts., this is where Jim's mother and grandparents are buried. 


The Location of Jim and Marty's Coquina House

Their old coquina house near the sea-wall faced one of the narrow lanes that ran up from the water, but it had a wide window in the seaward end, and here Jim remembered that the intemperate old sailor sat and watched the harbor, and criticised the rigging of vessels, and defended his pet orange-tree from the ravages of boys.

... and picked the oranges and planted their little vegetable garden....

There was a quiet little colored girl, an efficient midget of a creature, who had minded babies for a white woman in Baya Lane, and was not without sage experience.

Then she crept slowly along Bay Street bareheaded; the sun on the water at the right blinded her a little.

bay st.

Looking northward along Bay Street, the Plaza on the left, sea wall on the right.
Detroit Publishing Company Photo from the Library of Congress.
Dated 1904

That evening they walked up Bay Street to King Street, and round the plaza, and home again through George Street, making a royal progress, and being stopped by everybody.

These passages indicate the location of Jim and Marty's neighborhood with considerable precision.  The 1885 Birdseye Map of St. Augustine (made available by provides a wonderfully accurate depiction of the old town in 1885.

Map 3 -- Detail, Harbor and the Old City - 1885
Up is westerly.

Map 3

    On this map, the cathedral is #1, while #2 marks the market building at the east end of the Plaza, called "the slave market" during the Flagler era and after.  This map precedes the 1887 fire that originated in the St. Augustine Hotel #21 and left only the cathedral's external shell.  When Jewett first stayed in the city, then, the St. Augustine Hotel was gone, the cathedral was restored, and west of the cathedral was its new bell tower.
    What Jewett calls Bay Street is identified here as Marine Street, running next to the sea wall along the bay. 
    Baya Lane (see Map 1 detail) is mentioned in the story as the address of a neighbor who recommends the Black girl Marty hires to help with her children.  On Map 3, Baya Lane is difficult to locate.  Treasury St. would meet Bay / Marine at the private bathing house, the round building in the river at the end of the short pier.  Baya Lane, therefore, would meet the northernmost pier, as is confirmed by Map 1  Though the story is not perfectly clear on this point, it suggests that Jim and Marty's house is near Baya Lane, but not necessarily on it.  However, period maps show no other lane in this neighborhood, though both Treasury and Cuna Streets between Charlotte and Bay are narrow enough to be called lanes.  In any case, the story clearly implies that Jim and Marty live at the corner of Bay Street and a narrow lane somewhere near Baya Lane.
    Given this information, one can observe how Marty discovers the Dawn of Day unloading at the long pier, probably at #17, as she leans against the door of the cathedral.  When she walks toward home up Bay / Marine after learning of Jim's supposed death, with the blinding reflection from the water on her right, she must be moving northward from the pier.  And, when she and Jim make a "royal progress" after his return, they must walk down Bay to the Basin (east of the Plaza), then around the Plaza, turn onto George Street at the west end of the Plaza, pass the cathedral grounds and proceed up George Street toward their home.  However, this is made somewhat ambiguous when the story specifies that they walk "up" Bay Street to the Plaza.
    As their coquina house is said to face a narrow lane and to have a single window onto Bay / Marine and the harbor, one may be tempted to choose a likely building from this map.

Detail from Map 3

coquina house

Along Marine/Bay north of the Plaza, facing the northernmost long pier, is a building with a single window onto the bay, such as Jim's grandfather might have looked out of to observe shipping in the harbor.
    The enlarged detail above shows how the two-story building with the single window facing Bay Street resembles the house Jewett identified as the home of Jim and Marty.  To the left of the house a high wall encloses a garden.  This garden appears, however, to belong to the house on the left, which faces the bay with a number of windows.  The lane seems to run between this wall and the house with a single window. 
    Though this area tantalizes with its location and configuration, it is unlikely that Jewett actually imagined this particular building as Jim and Marty's coquina house.  Looking closely, one notices the attached ladder and the flagpole, suggesting that this is a commercial building.   This is confirmed by a Sanborn map from 1884, which identifies this building as an ice-house, which may account for the ladder and flag-pole on the Bay St. side.  The small building with a street door and two windows, just to the right of the ice-house, is identified on the Sanborn Fire Insurance map as a saloon.  This map locates only a few dwellings on Bay Street in this part of the town, which was in fact, mainly a commercial area.
    While Jewett's descriptions fairly clearly place the home of Jim and Marty in this area, Jewett seems to have created and placed there the sort of house she wanted for the couple.  At this level of detail she fictionalizes in two ways, in placing their residence on Bay Street and in the particulars of its appearance.  On the 1885 Map 3, there is no house on Bay Street in this neighborhood that fits the description Jewett gives of the coquina house.

Size and Appearance of Jim and Marty's Coquina House

...  he mentally cursed the boys who came to steal the old man's oranges, there in the garden of his own empty little coquina house.

It was not long before the dismal little, boarded-up, spidery coquina house was as clean as a whistle, with new glass windows, and fresh whitewash inside and yellow wash outside...

... they had two boarders, steady men and Jim's mates, for there was plenty of room; and the little woman was endlessly busy and happy.

Some young women hired all her spare rooms...

These passages seem ambiguous about the size of the house.  Though it is described as little, it has room for Jim and Marty, a child, at least two boarders, and possibly more.

Like many structures in old St. Augustine, the house is built of coquina limestone.  "Coquina is a form of limestone composed of broken fragments of fossil debris. Most fragments are about the size of gravel particles (greater than 2 mm/0.08 in) and are usually shell material -- coquina is derived from the Spanish word meaning "cockle" or "shellfish" -- that has been abraded during transport by marine currents and waves. Coquina fragments are easily broken. Soft and highly porous, coquina is found in varying tones of white. Deposits found recently in Florida have been used as roadbed material and as a masonry stone for homes." (Source: Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia).  See also Wikipedia.
    Many major projects in St. Augustine through the nineteenth century were built of coquina, including the sea wall, the "old gates" and Fort Marion. In The Standard Guide, St. Augustine (1890), Charles Reynolds says that coquina quarries for local buildings were found on St. Anastasia Island (76-8, and see Map 1 above).


Worn coquina wall in St. Augustine.
When quarried, coquina in the St. Augustine area typically is golden tinted, but it weathers to the gray and tan seen here.

But Jim's little woman's eyes glittered with strange light as she hurried on in the shadow of the high wall, where the orange boughs hung over, and beyond these, great branches laden with golden clusters of ripening loquats.

The photograph above illustrate a fruit tree -- in this case a grapefruit -- hanging over a high wall.


The Fernandez-Llambias House on St. Francis Street
This historic house may illustrate the color of the yellow wash with which Jim and Marty spruced up the exterior of their house.  Except that their house is not said to have a balcony or a walled garden, the appearance and configuration of this house could indicate how Jewett imagined their residence.

The Spanish Burying-Ground

Sometimes they went to the old Spanish burying-ground, and Jim used to put the baby on his grandfather's great tombstone, built strong over his grave like a little house, and pick the moss from the epitaph with his great sea jack-knife.


Tolomato Cemetery (Old Spanish Cemetery) in St. Augustine is on Cordova St. between Orange and Saragossa Sts, just west of Fort Marion. The site served as a Christian Indian village of Tolomato and then became a Catholic burial ground in the 18th and 19th centuries.  See Karen Harvey (1997) for a summary history of this cemetery (pp. 179-81).

Spanish cemetery

Tolomato Cemetery is now called the Minorcan Burial Place and Parish Cemetery.


The Cathedral

The bishop stopped Jim one day on the plaza, and told him that he must come to church sometimes for his mother's sake: she was a good little woman, and had said many a prayer for her boy.

Marty felt dizzy, and had to lean for a minute against the old cathedral doorway. There was a drone of music inside; she heard it and lost it; then it came again as her faintness passed, and she ran like a child down the street.

Cathedral door

Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine
Main Door onto Basin St. (now Business 1 / Cathedral Place) and the Plaza.
Closed for renovation in February 2015.

old cathedral

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine before the fire of 1887.
Reynolds, p. 53

    The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine faces the Plaza on the north side, diagonal from the Government House, which stands west of the Plaza.  See Map 3 above, building #1, and Reynolds, pp. 42-51.
    The church burned in April 1887 and was rebuilt by 1888, with the assistance of Henry Flagler.   Bowen indicates that Flagler specifically was responsible for the addition of the bell tower, but Graham (2014) does not confirm this, stating only Flagler preferred that his substantial support of the reconstruction be kept from public knowledge (p. 106)..
    By the time of Jewett's second trip in 1890, the new bell tower would have been added; the tower does not appear on Map 1 or 3.  The exterior shell of the cathedral, dating from 1797, survived the fire and was preserved in the rebuilding.  Jewett, therefore, is not merely fictionalizing when she characterizes the cathedral and its doorway as old at the time she sets the story.

Link to official Cathedral history.
Link to account of the 1887 fire.
Link to Bronson's History of the Cathedral with a collection of photos and illustrations.

cathedral 2

The Cathedral Basilica viewed from the Plaza de la Constitucion after it was rebuilt in 1888.

When the Bishop stopped Jim on the plaza, especially given the flora in the period photos above, the cathedral would have been visible from virtually anywhere on the plaza.  See also Map 3.

The Plaza & the St. Joseph Academy

Down at the foot of the narrow lanes the bay looked smooth and blue, and white sails flitted by as you stood and looked. The great bell of the old cathedral had struck twelve, and as Marty entered the plaza, busy little soul that she was and in a hurry as usual, she stopped, full of a never outgrown Northern wonder at the foreign sights and sounds, -- the tall palmettoes; the riders with their clinking spurs; the gay strangers; the three Sisters of St. Joseph, in their quaint garb of black and white, who came soberly from their parish school close by.


The Plaza
facing east, toward a pair of monuments and the market building.
Reynolds, p. 50.

The Plaza de la Constitucion remains the center of the colonial quarter of St. Augustine, a shady gathering place (probably more shady in 2015 than in 1890) that faces the former plaza basin and harbor, now the Bridge of the Lions to Anastasia Island.  It contains significant monuments, perhaps the most important in the period of this story being the Civil War Monument.  See Reynolds, pp. 47-51.


The Plaza -- facing west toward Government House,
Cathedral bell tower visible on right,
coquina Civil War memorial obelisk to left of center.

Notable in comparing images of the plaza area from past and present are the changed foliage, from tall palmetto palms to live oaks, and the number of newer structures. 

Plaza Reynolds 2

Reynolds, p. 15, labels the above image, "Garden Overlooking the Plaza."  This is somewhat mysterious, as it appears to be a view of the plaza itself, looking northward toward the cathedral at some time before the 1888 bell tower was constructed.  The view seems to be from the approximate location of Trinity Episcopal Church (see Map 2), which, in 1890 occupied a smaller building, that accommodated such a garden on its lot (see Map 3).  Whether the trees seen here were part of the plaza or across King Street from the plaza, they suggest more exactly the view Marty finds when she examines the plaza.

    It is likely that Fields and Jewett attended services at Trinity while in St. Augustine, as this was their denomination.


Trinity Episcopal Church and Garden in about 1890
From the corner of George & King Streets.
Detroit Publishing Company Photo from the Library of Congress

The Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine


Their quaint garb of black and white.

The Sisters of St. Joseph were invited to St. Augustine to "teach literacy" to newly freed slaves after the American Civil War.  According to the history of the St. Joseph Academy, the school was founded in 1866 by Augustin Verot, First Bishop of St. Augustine, who called upon the French Sisters of St. Joseph to operate it.  The parish school of St. Joseph in this story, then, was originally a Freedmen's school.  From early on located on St. George Street, adjacent to the Sisters of St. Joseph Convent and near the plaza, the academy moved to 155 State Road 207 in 1980. 

                      Joseph Academy

Site of the St. Joseph Academy in 1890,
convent visible on far right.

Map 4:  Detail from 1885 Birds-Eye Map, St. Joseph's Academy
Up is westerly.

academy map

The Saint Joseph's Academy and Convent (#14) at the left on St. George Street stands a few blocks south of the cathedral (#1).
Trinity Episcopal Church (#9) is just to the right of center.

The Sisters of St. Joseph convent remains at 241 St. George Street. 


According to Mary Atwood and William Weeks in Historic Homes of Florida's First Coast  (89-92), the original convent and school were in the Father O'Reilly house at 32 Aviles St.


The Father O'Reilly house at 32 Aviles St.,
site of the original convent and school of the Sisters of St. Joseph in St. Augustine.

The Lighthouse and Anastasia Island

As they lay out beyond the bar, waiting for enough water to get in, she strained her eyes to see her future home. There was the queer striped light-house, with its corkscrew pattern of black and white, and far beyond were the tall, slender towers of a town that looked beautiful against the sunset, and a long, low shore, white with sand and green here and there with a new greenness which she believed to be orange-trees.

The lighthouse stands on Anastasia Island, east of the city.  Designed by Paul Pelz, it was completed in 1874 not long before the previous lighthouse was undermined by shifting shoreline and collapsed.  See Wikipedia and Reynolds, 76-8.


Lighthouse viewed from the south.
c. 1890
Reynolds, p. 78

Lighthouse viewed from the north.
February 2015
Note that the black and white stripes
appear to have been reversed since 1890,
probably in repainting.

Once she went across the bay to the lighthouse island, -- babies, baby-carriage, the small hired help, and all, -- and took the railway that leads down to the south beach. It was a holiday, and she hoped that from this southern point she might look far seaward, and catch sight of the returning sails of the old schooner....  Those who saw the little company strike out across the sand to the beach laughed at the sight. The hired help pushed the empty perambulator with all the strength she could muster through the deep white sand, and over the huge green, serpent-like vines that wound among the low dunes.


Anastasia Island Trolley (between 1880 and 1899)
From the State Library and Archives of Florida
According to Steven Harvey, the horse-drawn trolley
probably ceased operation in about 1890.

Jewett has described Marty's outing with considerable precision.
    Marty's party would have taken a ferry to St. Anastasia Island, and caught probably a horse-drawn trolley to South Beach (See Map 1 above).  From this beach, she would have an unobstructed view to the south, in case the Dawn of Day might return from the Bahamas during her holiday.
    Karen Harvey (1997) reports that before the first bridge to Anastasia Island was built in 1895, the South Beach Ferry Company provided hourly ferry service between the Plaza and the island during the day, and that the fare included transportation on a five-mile train to South Beach and stops between (pp. 50-1).  An online summary of the lighthouse keeper's log indicates that ferry service may not have been so regular before 1890, when a steam-driven trolley was put into service for the South Beach trip.  See Steven Harvey, Building America's Main Street Not Wall Street (Author House, Apr 7, 2010, pp. 112-118) for an account of the change to the new ferry and train service that occurred between 1888 and 1890.
    It is unclear in the story which service Marty and her family used for their excursion, the old or the new.

Beach vines

Near South Beach on Anastasia Island

Though the vines in this image are not huge, one can see that navigating a perambulator on the beaches along the east side of Anastasia Island would be difficult.

The Old Fort
... he showed her the gray old fort one afternoon ....

The gray old fort is Fort Marion at the north end of Bay Street, now a national monument, the Castillo San Marcos (see Map 2, and Reynolds, pp. 52-67).

Fort Marion

    Castillo San Marcos

Fort detail 1

Close-up of Coquina Wall of the Castillo San Marcos

fort wall

During the two years before Jewett and Fields's first visit to St.Augustine in 1888, the fort had served as a prison for Apaches taken by U.S. troops during conflicts in the southwestern states.

The Great Hotels with the Towers

They went together to do their marketing, and he showed her the gray old fort one afternoon and the great hotels with the towers.

The winter days dawned with blue skies and white clouds sailing over; the town began to fill with strangers

Though there were many hotels and guest houses in St. Augustine in 1890, two of the great hotels with towers would have been the Alcazar (1887), now the Lightner Museum, and the Ponce de Leon (1888), now Flagler College, both built by Henry Flagler.  These hotels did most of their business in the winter months, when many wealthy northerners came to growing resort areas such as Jekyll Island near Brunswick, GA, and St. Augustine to winter.

sky line

St. Augustine skyline from the lighthouse on Anastasia Island
Looking northwest.

The above photo shows the hotel towers of St. Augustine, and other towers as well. 
- On the far right, the tower belongs to Grace Methodist Church, (1887) built by Henry Flagler. 
- The multi-story building on the right, The Treasury on the Plaza (1928) stands on the north side of the Plaza, east of the cathedral. 
- The first tower to the left of this is the cathedral bell tower, which may have been donated by Henry Flagler after the fire of 1887. 
- To the left of the bell tower is the smoke-stack of the Ponce de Leon power plant.  Henry Flagler's hotels made extensive use of electric lighting and steam heating.  The generating plant was provided by the Thomas Edison Company (Graham 2014, pp. 126-7).
- The dome that appears next on the left belongs to the Memorial Presbyterian Church built by Henry Flagler. 
- Next on the left is the matching pair of towers of Flagler's Ponce de Leon Hotel (January 1888).
- The next square tower with three windows and the shorter terracotta roofed tower to the left of it belong to the Casa Monica Hotel (January 1888), which was not built by Henry Flagler, though he purchased it soon after it was built.  He renamed it the Hotel Cordova. 
- The final pair of towers on the left belong to the Alcazar Hotel (December 1888), the roof line of which extends to the left side of the frame. 
    When Marty first arrived in St. Augustine, the Treasury Building was absent; therefore, virtually all of the towers visible to her on the skyline were built or owned by Henry Flagler.
- Missing from the above contemporary photo is another set of towers, those of the San Marco Hotel, visible at the far right in the photo below.  Opened in 1885, the San Marco burned in 1897.  Henry Flagler's 1885 stay in Isaac Smith Crufts' new hotel is believed to have inspired him to make a tourist center of St. Augustine (Graham 2014, p. 44).

Sky line

St. Augustine skyline in about 1890
From Bronson's History.

San Marco

San Marco Hotel, 1885-1897
from Bronson's History


The Alcazar Hotel, now the Lightner Museum
Opened in December 1888.
Included casino, pool, stream room, gym, tennis courts,
and other facilities for amusement and health.
See Graham (2004), pp. 42-55.

Ponce de Leon

Circa 1909 Postcard of the Hotel Ponce de Leon
Courtesy of Wikipedia
The story mentions that stuffed alligators were for sale on George St.

The high gray towers of the beautiful Ponce de Leon Hotel, with their pointed red roofs, were crowned with ornaments like the berries of the chinaberry-trees, ...

Ponce de Leon

Towers of the Ponce de Leon
with ornaments like the berries of the chinaberry-trees.
These towers housed water tanks for the hotel (Graham 2014, p. 128-9).

As seen below, the weather vanes atop the towers were in a sunburst pattern.  See Graham 2014, p. 130.  The contemporary photo indicates that the original vanes have been replaced, though both feature a large globe.

ponce tower

Close view of Ponce de Leon tower, c. 1890.
from Picturesque St. Augustine
by Edward Bierstadt. 
The Artotype Publishing Co., 1891

Ponce drawing

In his Standard Guide, Reynolds devotes pp. 25-42 (out of about 80 pages of text) to the Ponce de Leon Hotel, with many illustrations of its features, and he gives another full page to the Alcazar.  Both hotels are gray in color, being among the earlier large American buildings constructed from poured concrete.  Their terracotta tiled roofs and decorations make them appear colorful despite the basic gray of the walls.
    In this illustration, the left face, with its main gate to the garden and loggia, is the south side, on King Street.  The right face is the east side, on Cordova (see Map 2 above).

Thomas Graham (2004) details the planning and construction of Flagler's hotels.
    The Ponce de Leon was begun on 1 December, 1885, and completed in May 1887, with a grand opening in January 1888 (Graham 2004, p. 23, 27-8).

To advertize his hotels and St. Augustine as a winter resort, Flagler arranged for the distribution of Florida, the American Riviera. St. Augustine, the winter New Port. The Ponce de Leon, the Alcazar. The Casa Monica, by his New York architects, Carrière & Hastings
(Printed by Gilliss Brothers & Turnure, New York: The Art Age Press, 1887).

Ponce int 1

Dining Room of the Ponce de Leon Hotel

Ponce int 2

Foyer balcony of the Ponce de Leon Hotel

In midsummer the streets are often empty at midday, and the old city seems deserted. Marty sometimes took the children and sat with them in the plaza, where it was shady. Often in the spring they all wandered up the white pavement of the street by the great hotel to see the gay Spanish flags, and to hear the band play in the gardens of the Ponce de Leon; but the band did not play as it used.

The story takes note of differences between the spring, when the hotel crowds lingered in good weather, and midsummer, when the northern guests have departed, and the city seems deserted.  In summer, the plaza offers a cool place to relax, but in cooler weather in the spring, Marty and the children could enjoy free entertainment, given in the gardens of the Ponce de Leon.

Graham (2014) reports that soon after the 1888 opening of the Ponce de Leon, three flag poles were erected at the front of the hotel.  The two at the sides of the entrance flew "the red and gold banners of old Spain," while a larger pole at the southeast corner of the hotel displayed an American flag (p. 161).

Graham (2014) says that the Ponce de Leon was one of the hotels that employed bands during the winter seasons of 1888 through 1890.  Had Marty passed the Ponce de Leon during the January - April period of 1888 or 1889, she could have heard two performances per day, morning and afternoon, of Maurice J. Joyce's Military Band, including a program of sacred music on Sunday morning (175).  These performances took place in the loggia of the Ponce de Leon, and so could be heard in the front garden and, probably, on King Street by the hotel gates.  Joyce's band was well known, especially in New York, where he and Thomas H. Joyce were prominent entertainers at Saratoga Springs and in New York City.


Bronson's History  presents this Library of Congress photo of Joyce's band, playing in the loggia of the Ponce de Leon in 1889. 

    For the 1890 season, Flagler hired a different group, the Ellis Brooks Orchestra (Graham 2014, pp. 221-2).

"Ellis L. Brooks (1848-1920) was a trombonist, composer and popular bandleader.... Brooks directed famous bands in New York and Chicago during the late nineteenth century, and was ranked among contemporaries like Frederick Neil Innes, Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore and John Philip Sousa, both in terms of popularity and critical acclaim."  Kalamazoo Public Library.
Perhaps because Jewett did not visit St. Augustine in the summer, she may have been unaware that during 1889 and 1890, Flagler kept the Alcazar Hotel open through the summers and employed a smaller band drawn from the winter group to entertain guests daily in the courtyard.  If the summer of Jim's long absence occurs during one of those years, Marty might well have been able to take her children to hear music even in the summer, when most of the winter visitors had left (Graham 2014, p. 212).

    Illustrations of the Ponce de Leon above show extensive gardens around the hotel, including an open area across King St. in front of the Alcazar.

Casa Monica

Cordova Hotel c. 1889, (now the Casa Monica)
Opened in January 1888.
Detroit Publishing Company / Library of Congress
The third major hotel with towers at the time the story is set.
This is the west side, which faces the Alcazar garden.
Link to Bronson's History accounts of its early history.

Did Marty Work for the Flagler Hotels?

She went to her work cheerfully, and sang over it one of her Moody and Sankey hymns. She made a pleasure for the other women who were washing too, with her song and her cheerful face.

Some young women hired all her spare rooms, and paid well for their lodging, besides being compassionate and ready to give a little lift with the housework when they had the time.... One day Marty wrote to her own old friend, and asked her to come down by the steamer to Savannah, and then the rest of the way by rail, to make her a long visit. There was plenty of hotel work in the town; her lodgers themselves got good wages on George Street.

The story is ambiguous about where Marty and her female boarders work.  It seems clear that Marty's work consists in part of doing laundry and that she performs this work away from her home.  The Flagler hotels had their own laundry, but this was located on Ribera and Valencia Streets near the hotels, not on George Street.  Graham (2014) says that the Flagler hotel laundry workers all were women, but apparently both Black and White.  The upper stories of the laundry provided racially segregated dormitories for female temporary workers.
    It is unclear whether Marty's boarders also do laundry, but they are said to work on George Street.  Marty works with other women at her laundry, but it is not clear where this is located.  On the day she learns of Jim's supposed death, she is passing by the cathedral on her way to work at mid-day.  She seems not to have come by Bay Street, or she would have seen the Dawn of Day immediately.  Rather, she seems to have taken Charlotte Street to the Plaza, then turned west toward the cathedral, not thinking to look toward the bay until she notices children carrying over-ripe fruit away from the harbor.  Given her apparent route to work, it is possible that she was on her way to the Flagler laundry.  Also relevant is the fact that when Marty suffers from the disappearance of Jim, the "hotel people" help her with presents of money and clothing, implying that she is known to hotel employees.  However, there were many smaller hotels in St. Augustine, where she might have worked in a laundry.

Union Station, Pavements and Streets

One afternoon when the cars stopped at the St. Augustine station,...

... the white pavement of the street by the great hotel ....

Union Station

Union Passenger Depot, St. Augustine
c. 1890
from Bronson's History of St. Augustine.
More photos of Union Station

Henry Flagler built on Malaga Street a new St. Augustine train station along his new rail line to bring visitors and supplies to his hotels (See Map 2). 

Thomas Graham (2014) reports that Henry Flagler gradually paved streets between the train station and his hotels and around the hotels.  The photograph below shows the east driveway, running between Cordova and Sevilla, by which guests and luggage arrived at the Ponce de Leon, passing next to the round dining room and unloading in the sheltered area beneath.  This was the first drive that Henry Flagler paved in asphalt in 1888.  By the end of that 1889, Flagler had paved the blocks surrounding the Alcazar and Ponce de Leon, and Valencia St. from the train station to Cordova. (Graham 2014, p. 150, 188).
    It is somewhat mysterious how the pavements came to appear white, as the story reports and as is seen in the photograph below.  Indeed, all photographs of the Flagler hotels show either unpaved or white streets around them, as does the above photo of the passenger station.  Bronson's History indicates that the new train station area was paved in asphalt during 1889.  Asphalt uses a black bitumen binder to make concrete.  According to Graham (2014), this black material "came into the harbor on schooners in a powdered form and was then spread upon a base of concrete, heated by a massive roller, and pounded level by a force of men with hot iron mauls" (p. 188).
  Paving streets reduced the dust and discomfort for guests arriving at luxury hotels.  When bicycling became popular in the 1890s, extensive paved streets made the pastime more practical (Graham 2004, p. 59-61; 2014, p. 190).  Graham (2014) also suggests that paving streets was in part a response to outbreaks of yellow fever, which were thought to be caused by unsanitary, difficult to clean sand streets and a lack of sidewalks.   

Ponce driveway

View from Cordova Street, from Bronson History.
Dated between 1895 and 1910.
Though the Bronson page credits this photograph to the Detroit Publishing Company,
it does not currently (2015) appear on the Detroit page.

coquina house

Charlotte Street. St. Augustine
Coquina house and wall on the left.
Reynolds, p. 11.

King Street

King Street c. 1890
from Picturesque St. Augustine
by Edward Bierstadt. 
The Artotype Publishing Co., 1891
The above photo of the King Street route between the railway station and the Ponce de Leon on the left, shows it to be apparently unpaved sand.  Thomas Graham (2014) says that at the opening of the Ponce de Leon in January 1888, about 100 yards of King Street in front of the hotel was paved with asphalt (p. 141).

Lumbering carriages clattered along the palmetto pavement,...

As Jewett indicates, some St. Augustine streets were paved with wood.  Here she seems to refer to George St., though in the Reynolds illustration, below, George St. was not paved at the Old Gates.  Graham (2014) reports that a number of streets were paved with uniformly trimmed, 4-inch sections of cypress logs, including the streets around the Plaza and St. George St. from the Plaza to the Gates.  Most of this work was completed by the summer of 1889 (188-90).  This account includes a photograph of cypress block street construction (p. 189).  While Graham indicates that cypress exclusively was used for this paving, Robert F. Nawrocki, of the St. Augustine Historical Society, says that palmetto trees also were used for this purpose.  How Marty or Jewett would have distinguished cypress from palmetto pavement is uncertain.
    The St.  Augustine Record (July 26, 2002) reported uncovering some surviving wooden pavement during a repaving project.  The story explains:
"A felled log was sawed into segments -- much like store-bought cookie dough is sliced. Each segment was stacked in the 20-foot-wide graded road, with the logs being held in place by a wooden border. Sand was then laid in the spaces. Unfortunately, residents soon learned that the wood absorbed water, softened, rotted and quickly became worn. "The pavers were more trouble than they were worth," Halbirt [City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt] said.... An article in the Oct. 11, 1895, issue of The Florida Times-Union said the city's "board of aldermen decided last night that no more shells and sand shall be used to top-dress the decayed cypress blocks on St. George and any other thoroughfare, as it was throwing money away."

wooden paving

Carl Halbirt, St. Augustine City Archaeologist
examines remains of cypress pavement in July 2002.
Image from St. Augustine Record.

The Old Gates and St. George Street

"That old bishop o' my mother's," faltered Jim. "He's been givin' it to me; he catched me out by the old gates, ...

The remains of gates of the old walled city stand at the north end of George Street.  See Reynolds, pp. 44-6.

old gate

The Old Gate
Looking south down St. George Street.
Reynolds, p. 45

gate 2

The Old Gate c. 1890
from Picturesque St. Augustine
by Edward Bierstadt. 
The Artotype Publishing Co., 1891
Looking south down St. George St.

The wind-tattered bananas, like wrecked windmills, were putting out fresh green leaves among their ragged ones. There were roses and oranges in bloom, and the country carts were bringing in new vegetables from beyond the old city gates; green lettuces and baskets of pease and strawberries, and trails of golden jasmine were everywhere about the gray town.

gate south

South view from the Old Gate down George St.
February 2015

gate norht

The Old Gate, looking north, from George Street.

gates 1891

The Old Gate c. 1890
from Picturesque St. Augustine
by Edward Bierstadt.  The Artotype Publishing Co., 1891
Looking eastward toward Fort Marion.

George St. 2

 George St., looking southward toward the plaza and the cathedral.
Reynolds p. 20

In narrow St. George Street, under the high flower-lined balconies, everybody seemed to know Jim, and they had to spend much time in doing a trifling errand. Go into St. George Street when she would, the narrow thoroughfare was filled with people, and dark-eyed men and women leaned from the balconies and talked to passers-by in a strange lingo which Jim seemed to know.

George 1

St. Georges Street
Reynolds, p. 10

The old city of St. Augustine had never been more picturesque and full of color than it was that morning. Its narrow thoroughfares, with the wide, overhanging upper balconies that shaded them, were busy and gay. Strangers strolled along, stopping in groups before the open fronts of the fruit shops, or were detained by eager venders of flowers and orange-wood walking-sticks. There were shining shop windows full of photographs and trinkets of pink shell-work and palmetto. There were pink feather fans, and birds in cages, and strange shapes and colors of flowers and fruits, and stuffed alligators.

While much changed in the 21st century, George St., now a pedestrian mall from the plaza north, remains a colorful and busy commercial street, catering mainly to tourists.

George 3

George St., looking north
February 2015

shops 1

Shops on George St.

Shell shop

Close view of shell shop on George St.

The Sea Wall and the Barracks

They tried to walk on the sea-wall, and one man fell over and was too drunk to find his way ashore, and lay down on the wet, shelly mud. The tide came up and covered Joe Black, and that was the last of him, ...

sea wall

Looking north along Bay Street and the seawall.
The pier beyond the bathing house would have stood at the head of Baya Lane, before fire razed this area in 1895.
Detroit Publishing Company Photo from the Library of Congress.
Dated 1902

As this and other photos and illustrations indicate, walking on the sea wall was not unusual.  In this incident, then, the problem for Joe Black seems to be walking on the wall at night while drunk and in the company of others too inebriated to notice his fall.

new sea wall

New sea wall near the Plaza, with "shelly mud" at low tide.
Looking southward from the Bridge of the Lions.

reynolds wall

Sea wall of coquina, at the Plaza basin.
St. Augustine
  Reynolds, p. 16.

This is one of the few images in Reynolds to depict what appears to be a Black person in the city.

  ... when she heard the sunset gun from the barracks it startled her terribly.


United States Military Barracks
Reynolds, p. 70.

The United States Military Barracks or St. Francis Barracks, according to Reynolds (p. 70), was built by the British in 1763 on the site of a Franciscan convent.  Reynolds says "The out-door concerts given by the military band, the dress-parades and the guard-mount at sunset on the parade in front of the barracks" were tourist attractions in the 1880s and 90s.  Presumably the sunset gun was part of the evening guard-mount on the parade ground.

Map 5 -- Detail, Military Barracks at south end of the Sea Wall - 1885 Birdseye Map
Up is westerly.

barracks map

This map detail shows the Military Barracks on St. Francis Street at the southern end of Bay St., including a small boat basin, the parade ground on which the sunset gun was fired, and the barracks (#5).  According to the map legend, all of the areas labeled 5 are parts of the barracks.  The cannon, presumably fired at sunset, projects over the sea wall south / left of the pier. 

barracks -2015

United States Military Barracks
In 2015, the parade ground has become a parking lot.

Though the original barracks were damaged by fire, the current building follows the same plan, as seen in a comparison of the photograph with the illustration and Map 5 above.

The Harbor Jetties

He went to work on one of the new harbor jetties at his wife's recommendation, and did good service.

The St. time-line for 1887 includes this entry: "A survey of the St. Augustine harbor was conducted between May and June. The surveyors, David DuBose Gaillard and William Murray Black, proposed the construction of jetties extending from both North Beach (Vilano Beach) and Anastasia Island spaced 1,600 feet from each other. Galliard and Black produced a map of their survey, published in 1889. Their proposals led to creation of today’s 16-foot deep channel into St. Augustine’s harbor."
    David du Bose Gaillard 1859-1913) "was a U.S. Army engineer instrumental in the construction of the Panama Canal."
    William Murray Black (1855-1933) "was career officer in the United States Army, noted for his ability to organize and train young engineers."

    The Report of the Chief of Engineers U.S. Army, Part 2 (United States Army Corps of Engineers: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1893) describes the work that was completed between 1888 and 1890 on "Improvement of the St. Augustine Harbor, Florida" (1653-5). 

    With the appropriation of $35,000, made in the act of 1888 three groins were built: No. 1, on Anastasia Island, near the northern boundary of the United States light-house reservation; No. 2, on North Beach at the point; No. 3, on the North Beach, about 2000 feet from the point.
    These groins all consist, essentially, of a foundation of brush fascines, covered with riprap and capped with concrete blocks which are 2 feet wide on top and have side slopes of 1 on 2. (1654)

Further work was added late in 1890 and through 1893, by which time seven groins had been built.  Historic Stucture Report, Fort Matanzas National Monument, Florida by Fort Matanzas Stabilization Team (1980, p. 153) summarizes a 1935 report that three of the groins had fallen into disrepair and needed replacement.
    Given the dates provided, it would seem clear that Jim worked on the first three jetties within the time-frame of the story.  Later reconstructions and other projects were necessary to produce the current St. Augustine harbor.

    The following detail from a 1911 coastal survey map may show surviving jetties on North Beach, the two dark lines extending outward from the shore at the southern tip and another just north of this on the east coast of North Beach.
Map 6: Detail of 1911, St. Augustine Inlet, Coastal Survey
Top is north; the city is to the left.
The wireless telegraph is located just north of the lighthouse on Anastasia Island.



He worked at loading the schooner down at the sawmill, ...
... the schooner  Dawn of Day had come up from the sawmill wharf with a tug, and sent a boat ashore for Jim.

Map 7:  Detail from 1885 Birdseye Map -- St. Augustine Sawmills
Up is westerly.


The St. Sebastian Saw and Planing Mill (#46) clearly has a wharf, and the St. Augustine Saw Mill (#46) probably has a wharf as well, though this is less clear.  Jim may have helped load the Dawn of Day at either mill.  These are located on the St. Sebastian River on the west side of the old city.  Graham (2014) says that Henry Flagler obtained much of his lumber for hotel construction from the English Mill, also known as Sloggett's Mill, as it was managed by Dr. Henry C. Sloggett (p. 104).  Carl Halbirt, St. Augustine City Archaeologist, notes that the St. Augustine Mill also was called Sloggett's Mill (An Assessment of Potential Archaeological Resources in the Marina Complex of the San Sebastian Project p. 9)
    The bridge, partially visible in the upper right corner, connects King Street with the New St. Augustine Road (see Map 1).  A citrus grove probably stands across the river from the mills.

Organized and annotated by Terry Heller, Coe College, with invaluable assistance from Gabe Heller, Linda Heller, David Nolan, Betty Jean Steinshouer, Stewart Memorial Library of Coe College, and the St. Augustine Historical Society.   Contemporary photos by Terry Heller, February 2015.

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A Native of Winby