Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dow Museum of St.Augustine

We moved today to Cape Canaveral, and are located now in a park which comes up to the shores of the Banana River. It has been cloudy and rainy, we hope that improves over the next couple of days but they Florida does need rain. I have one more item to cover on St. Augustine,  the Dow Museum. It covers an entire city block of St.Augustine, and within this area are nine historical homes.  Arguably, it is the largest collection of older homes in all of the United States. Also, under and around this historical area are the foundations and structures of the 16th century colonial town. The homes were bought up by Kenneth Dow in the early 20th century. The oldest one is the Murat Home, built in 1790. The owner of the home, Charles Louis Napoleon Achille Murat was the crown prince of France (nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte). Murat came to the United States at the age of 22 years seeking political asylum. He happened to strike up a friendship with the philosopher Emerson, who visited him at this house. Emerson came to St.Augustine frequently to restore his health.  Another interesting fact regarding Murat is that he married a relative of George Washington. This home is well furnished with antiques of that era.
Dow traveled around the world to find the most odd and unusual art for these homes. This can especially be seen in the courtyard and gardens surrounding the homes, which he decorated with many statues and fountains. On a brick wall of the gardens he even installed a street grate, which is quite decorative. It is a very fascinating museum.  Two of the buildings house the studios and galleries of  local artists.
In a square of this historic village is a bell with a historical marker under it. The marker claimed that according to a report provided by a slave, Mary Gomez, in 1863 all the slaveholders of St.Augustine were ordered by the mayor to release their slaves and to have them gather in  this vacant lot. There the Emancipation Proclamation Act was read.. After the reading the "bonds" were struck off. I think that we will never forget St.Augustine because of its many layers of history, which can easily be discovered all over the city.

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