During our CRPT Conference III, we hosted a trolley tour of St. Augustine's historic cemeteries in chronological order. For those who couldn't make it, here's the abbreviated version. Be sure to check out links to blog posts to learn more about each cemetery.
|St. Augustine Archaeological Association volunteers help out at Los Remdios.|
Los Remedios was built in 1572 when St. Augustine relocated to its current downtown location, arguably making the church the oldest documented church in the US. Archaeologists have recently uncovered the remains of what could be St. Augustine's earliest colonists. While research is still ongoing, analysis of the burials could provide insights into 16th century life in the City. Read more here.
Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude) – Sisters of St. Joseph parking lot, St. George Street
The site was discovered to be the remains of a 16th century Spanish chapel shrine, parish, hospital, and cemetery with potentially hundreds of individuals. The Spanish used this cemetery for over 200 years, with little change in internment patterns. The cemetery is used during the British period, from 1763-1783, and the differences was very noticeable in the burial practices – even switching the direction of the burials. Read more here.
Nuestra Señora de la Punta - end of Tremerton Street
A church and cemetery occupied this site between 1720s-1750s and was part of a mission for Yamassee and Apalachee Indians fleeing the English colonists in (South) Carolina for a more tolerant Spanish community. The green space protects the burials of more than 75 individuals, mostly buried beneath the church floor. La Punta was abandoned around 1755. Read more here.
|Photo Credit: Historic Cemeteries|
Established in 1777, Tolomato Cemetery is the nation’s oldest extant European cemetery – meaning oldest cemetery with above-ground features. It was a Catholic burial site used until 1884 but did have one unauthorized burial in 1886: Catalina Usina Llambias. Many of the burials were once marked with wooden crosses. Read more here.
|Photo Credit: Historic Cemeteries|
Public Burial Ground/Huguenot Cemetery – corner of S Castillo Drive and Orange Street
Huguenot Cemetery was created in 1821 to serve as a protestant burial ground during an outbreak of yellow fever. The last burials in the cemetery occur in 1884, when both Huguenot and Tolomato are closed due to over-crowding and concerns of graveyards in cities. Huguenot has a wide range of 19th century funerary art. Many of the headstones were imported from Charleston, SC. Read more here.
|Dade Monument at the National Cemetery.|
National Cemetery is not the oldest officially sanctioned National Cemetery but it is one of the oldest military cemeteries in the US. It has been a burial ground since 1828 and in 1842 officers of the Second Seminole War were reinterred here. It became Florida’s first National Cemetery in 1881. The Dade Monument memorializes the remains of the soldiers reinterred from Major Dade’s battle in Bushnell under coquina pyramids. Read more about the cemetery itself here or about its significance to the Seminole Wars here.
|Graves of the Sisters of St. Joseph.|
Mission Nombre de Dios, which dates from 1677-1728, has one of the largest churches as well as the only stone mission church in Florida. Archaeologists with the University of Florida Natural History Museum have been uncovering the foundation of this coquina building. However, they haven’t found any evidence of burials from this time period. When Tolomato and Huguenot Cemeteries were closed in 1884, the Catholic Church opened the grounds at Nombre de Dios to be used as a burial ground. The site was used until San Lorenzo opened in the 1890s. Read more here.