The Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board (HSAPB) uncovered the original foundations of the Salcedo House & Kitchen (at 42 and 42 ½ St. George Street) during archaeological excavations in 1962. This discovery led to the subsequent reconstruction of both buildings on their original foundations.
The Salcedo House was constructed during St. Augustine’s First Spanish Period (1565-1763) and belonged at the end of said period to Alfonsa de Avero. De Avero and her family left St. Augustine along with other Spaniards when Florida was transferred to the British with the 1763 Treaty of Paris. During the British Period, Thomas Stone, then Leonard Cecil, then Robert Johnston owned the house. The 1783 Treaty of Paris transferred Florida back to Spain, and Pedro Jose Salcedo, Captain of the Royal Corps of Artillery, bought the lot.
For five years, from 1796 to 1801, Georges Biassou, general from Santo Domingo and early leader of the Haitian Revolution, lived in this house. In 1805 Pablo Sabate, Menorcan fisherman and farmer, bought it.
Its reconstruction in the 1960s took time. Walls were built of coquina and plaster, while the roof was made of cedar shake shingles. The kitchen was built to show where the British had added on a kitchen to the First Spanish Period home. Mariano de la Roque’s 1788 map depicts this standing kitchen on the lot. The reconstruction was completed in 1965, in time for celebrations of the 400th Anniversary of the city of St. Augustine.
While San Agustín Antiguo, the city’s living history museum, was in operation, the Salcedo Kitchen served the public as a bakery. Today, the Salcedo Kitchen, set back from St. George Street, has become the famed and favorite Spanish Bakery & Café. The Salcedo House, directly on the street, is rented by Whetstone Chocolates of St. Augustine. Both the house and kitchen are owned by the state of Florida and managed on its behalf by University of Florida Historic St. Augustine, Inc.
Next time you stop for a chocolate or some lunch, think of the original First Spanish Period foundations beneath your feet! How many others might have lived or stayed here and what did their lives consist of?
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When you walk through the coquina entrance, there’s a tingling energy feeling like there’s something that happened. Possibly a tragedy, maybe fire, death. Something that left a magnetic energy sensation different from the surrounding area.