Welcome to The Real Florida: First landing spot for many: This place is a very interesting area for me. We see it as we know it in today’s point of view. It’s cleaned, raked, cleared of gators getting too close to people, and even sprayed for annoying bugs. Try to imagine how this beach looked in the 1500s and you are the 1st man this land has seen. As I’m taking these pictures, I’m thinking about these perspectives. I stand here knowing the lifestyles of the fine dinning European families and wonder what were they thinking when they 1st saw wild Florida. Sure, it’s a pretty beach, but any local will tell you a virgin natural beach is full of horseflies, nats , mosquitoes, crabs, and snakes. Inland, there’s more than the commonly threat of alligators, there’s also panthers, black bear, pythons, rattle snakes, scorpions, and alligator snapping turtles. To get away from bugs, get in the water. Also get in the water to catch dinner and beat the heat. Then you have to worry about man o’war jellyfish, sharks, sea lice, and other flesh eating bugs that could leave nasty infectious bites and force a fisherman to cut off his own foot to save his life. The heat is so hot, that people would consider seeking shade under a bayonet palm. The fact that there was any migration, much less religious movement is a miracle in itself. At this time, Disney World and air conditioning is 500 years away.
America’s First Defense System, The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. The fort is the “bastion system” style of fortification. I was in a very simular fort in Cartagena Colombia with the same designers.
@CastilloNPS The military fort is strategically located on the shore of Matanzas Bay. Construction started on it in 1672 while Florida was part of the Spanish Empire.
@TheFirstParish The Cathedral is the oldest parish Basilica of European settlement. St. Augustine on the North American continent north of Mexico. On August 28, 1565, Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés first sighted land along the east coast of Florida. It was the feast day of Saint Augustine of Hippo. I found on wikipedia an untrue fact that the oldest church in america was a baptist church built in the 1700s. I was glad to correct the error on wikipedia. That the oldest church in America was a Catholic church.
First Mass St. Augustine was founded and established in 1565 by Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. He began his adventure by sailing from the port of Cádiz, Spain. Pedro Menedez de Aviles placed a small wooden cross in Florida’s soil and founded the Mission of Nombre de Dios. This is the sight of the first mass in North America. The beginnings of Christianity in this new land led to numerous missions throughout La Florida.
“The Great Cross” The world’s tallest free-standing cross measuring just over 260 feet tall. It was erected at the direction of Archbishop Joseph P. Hurley, then Bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine. His Excellency Casimiro Morcillo, Archbishop of Madrid, dedicated it during the diocesan Eucharistic Congress of October 1966. Like the Prince of Peace Church, the Great Cross celebrates the Four Hundredth anniversary of the Mission of Nombre de Dios and the City of St. Augustine. The Great Cross is a tribute to that growth. It serves to remind the visitor of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice on the Cross, as well as the role played by the Catholic religion in the history of both Florida and our Nation. At the bottom of the cross, you see my parents.
Knights are always near This area was founded and developed by Catholics. The sign in front of the Knights of Columbus Hall reminds, “You are on Sacred Ground”. The Knights at Santa Maria del Mar are located near where the 1st settlers claimed their home…. for a reason.