Today we’re showcasing one of our favorite downtown buildings; the Herrera House! The Herrera House, located at 58 Charlotte Street, has a long and fascinating history. Record of it dates back to 1764 when it appeared on the Puente map as a “ripio” or rubblework building owned by Juan de Muros. It was likely built in the 1750s when de Muros and his wife were married.
The original home that occupied this site was a great representation of what is considered “St. Augustine Architecture”, which closely resembles the Spanish architecture of the time with its own flair. The house came right up to the street line as many structures did, and the entrance to the home was through a walled and fenced courtyard.
During the British occupation of St. Augustine, records list a land agent named William Wilson as the owner of the structure. He built an outbuilding on the property during his residence, but left St. Augustine with most of the British citizens when Florida reverted back to Spanish control in 1783.
By 1785 Luciano de Herrera owned the home and the Rocque map of 1788 describes it as a house of “masonry…some divisions of wood” and assessed it to be in fair condition. At this time Herrera rented it to Eduardo Esten, a tailor. Herrera died later that year and his heirs sold the house to Miguel Isnardy, a sea captain who had newly arrived in St. Augustine to serve as the contractor for construction of the Cathedral. The property changed hands many times through the 19th century as it saw Florida become a U.S. territory and later the 21st state.
For much of the 20th century, Neil Pope’s Garage occupied the site of the home. The Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board purchased the site in August 1966 under the auspices of their private foundation, St. Augustine Restoration, Inc.
The Preservation Board reconstructed the home in 1967, and chose to return it to its appearance when Luciano de Herrera owned it. It features a beautiful courtyard with a loggia entrance. When the reconstruction was completed, it became the offices of the Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company. The offices were completely decorated in Spanish style furnishings, which made it fit in very well with the surrounding interpreted museum village.
The Preservation Board and St. Augustine Restoration became separate entities in 1982, and the Herrera House has since been owned and managed by St. Augustine Foundation, Inc. (formerly St. Augustine Restoration, Inc.) Most recently, the Herrera House was the home of Italian restaurant La Pentola, which closed earlier this year.