After efforts spanning two decades, a beachfront hotel has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The St. Johns Cultural Council has spent more than 20 years restoring and preserving the historic St. Augustine Beach Hotel, now recognized by the US National Park Service for its national civil rights and local historic architectural importance.
According to Christina Parrish Stone, the executive director of the St. Johns Cultural Council, the Cultural Council helped save the building from demolition, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and private donations to stabilize the building and restore the first floor. where now dance and art studios.
The council is currently working with the City of St. Augustine Beach to develop plans to complete the second floor, and a workshop will be held in March to receive community input.
On January 14, the National Park Service released information that the St. Augustine Beach Hotel and Beachfront in the city of St. Augustine Beach was added to the National Register of Historic Places for National Importance as part of the civil rights movement known as the St. Augustine campaign. The hotel is located at 370 State Road A1A.
To determine the significance of the historic property and prepare for the National Register nomination, St. Johns Cultural Council advisor Leslee Keys Ph.D. and Keys and Associates of St. Augustine.
According to Keys, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. Augustine as the third of a trilogy of southern cities for staged protests intended to draw attention as the US Senate debated the much-delayed Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The property of the St. Augustine Beach Hotel and the beach from 16th Street north to the hotel were the backdrops for multicultural wade-ins, performed by activists continuously from June 17 to July 1, 1964, the day before President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.
The wade-in that took place on the beach on June 25, 1964 is best known for segregationists who attacked protesters along the beach. Footage of the Florida Highway Patrol breaking up the riot and standing in the ocean fully uniformed to protect the protesters were among the most widely circulated in the entire St. Augustine movement.
The building’s historic and architectural significance includes its design by local architect Francis A. Hollingsworth as a timber building with coquina block veneer and additional historic materials to support commercial use.
Opened on Labor Day in 1940, the hotel is the only surviving building from a “St. Augustine Auxiliary Pier Project” by the federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression. Anastasia Island’s coquina quarry was reopened for the construction of WPA buildings, especially the twin beach hotels.
“Historic sites and historic preservation are critical to our community and to cultural tourism in St. Johns County,” said Parrish Stone. “Raising awareness of these sites through recognition like this and increasing access to funding for historic preservation are important components of our efforts to support, promote and enhance the area’s art, culture and heritage. St. Johns Cultural Council and its supporters are thrilled to receive this recognition for a property that has been an important part of the work to maintain our vibrant cultural community.”
The Cultural Council’s mission is to support local artists and arts organizations and promote St. Johns County as a premier destination for cultural travelers, ensuring that the lives of residents and visitors alike are enriched by art, culture, history and heritage.
For more information, contact Parrish Stone at 904-434-0959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The website is stjohnsculture.com.