St. Augustine tops Preservation magazine’s guide to historic downtowns

Opera music

Preservation magazine recently highlighted historic landmarks such as the San Marcos Castle and the Casa Monica Hotel in an article titled “Summer Guide to Historic Town Centers”.

St. Augustine was the first city listed, followed by downtowns in Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and Virginia.

“Historic preservation is critically important in a city nearly 500 years old, where many of our most important cultural assets are either historic sites or museums housed in historic buildings,” said Christina Parrish. Stone, executive director of the St. Johns Cultural Council. .

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From the list of summer guides in Preservation magazine:

“Founded by the Spaniards in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied city in America. You’ll find dozens of historic sites just steps from luxurious accommodations, including the 1888 Casa Monica Resort and Spa and The Collector Luxury Inn and Gardens, a 1-acre oasis of nine historic homes dating from 1790-1910. you along the Matanzas River to visit the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. Enjoy fine dining in award-winning restaurants and artwork in our galleries and museums, including The Lightner, which showcases the decorative arts in a magnificent Gilded Age hotel designed by architects Carrère and Hastings. Opportunities to experience the performing arts – from opera to theatre, chamber music to ballet – abound.

The Cultural Council has partnered with Preservation magazine to distribute new cultural guides to St. Augustine across the United States.

“We started with the Northeast and Midwest, focusing on areas that have airports with direct flights to Jacksonville or St. Augustine,” Parrish Stone explained. “We chose Preservation because of our spectacular architecture and history; we knew the magazine’s readers would love to learn more about Florida’s historic coast. Additionally, we’ve partnered with the National Trust to create the Florida Historic Coast online guide that maps and provides direct links to 10 culturally significant properties in St. Johns County.

Find the interactive guide here:

St. Augustine praised for art, culture and historic sites

The magazine article mentions artistic and cultural opportunities such as opera, music, and ballet performances in St. Augustine in addition to historical landmarks.

“One of the things that makes St. Augustine so special is that many of our beautifully preserved historic sites – like the Ponce de Leon/Flagler College Hotel, the Lightner Museum/Alcazar Hotel, the Governor’s House and The Water Works – are places where visitors and residents can attend performances, exhibitions and other arts and cultural programs,” said Parrish Stone.

“Cultural travelers love to visit these places, so let them know what we have in St. Augustine – definitely more per capita than any other place in America! — helps our tourism industry. But it is equally important to educate our residents and local and national government officials about the challenges of maintaining historic sites and buildings, and to encourage investment in historic preservation. We need more grants available to support the rehabilitation and preservation of historic buildings, so that we can continue to enjoy them as residents and show them to our visitors.

The Water Works renovated by Saint Augustine

Speaking of recognition, the city of St. Augustine was recently recognized at the State Historic Preservation Conference for its restoration work. The Water Works, the new headquarters of the Cultural Council.

“Reviews have been particularly rave about the building being used for cultural programming,” said Parrish Stone.

Built in 1898, the old pumphouse was converted into a community center in 1928, where it operated the Little Theater of St. Augustine and the St. Augustine Garden Center. The building closed in 2005 for security reasons. The Water Works was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. It was recently renovated by the City of St. Augustine.

“The Water Works is a very cool place to see a play, concert or movie. We are excited about the lineup we have coming up in the coming months, including partnerships with Gamble Rogers Music Festival, St. Augustine Film Festival and A Classic Theatre.

Find events at or by subscribing to the St. Johns Cultural Council newsletter by emailing [email protected]