St. Augustine’s Oldest House, or the Gonzalez-Alvarez House, sits at 14 St. Francis Street, south of the Plaza de la Constitución, across from the headquarters for the Florida National Guard. There was a home at this site during the seventeenth century, but any such home was burned during Carolina Governor James Moore’s raid in 1702. The current standing structure dates back at least to 1727 when there was a two-room coquina house belonging to artilleryman Tomas Gonzalez y Hernandez and his wife Maria Francisca Guevara y Dominguez. The first story is an excellent example of First Spanish Period architecture.
After St. Augustine was ceded to the British in 1763, Joseph and Mary Evans Peavett became the new owners of the house in the 1770s. They added a wooden second story, fireplace, and coquina kitchen. The house at times served as an inn or a tavern for the troops at the nearby St. Francis Barracks (today’s National Guard headquarters.)
During St. Augustine’s Second Spanish Period, Geronimo Alvarez purchased the home, which remained in the Alvarez family until 1882. Later that same decade, owner Dr. Charles Carver began charging admission to see this house. The house went by the nomenclature “Oldest House,” and was purchased by the St. Augustine Historical Society in 1918. Today the Oldest House Museum Complex consists of the Oldest House, a museum on St. Augustine’s history, a changing art exhibit gallery, a garden, and a museum store. The tour of the house reflects Spanish, British, and American occupants of the house over the centuries.
The Historic American Buildings Survey recorded the house in the 1950s. In 1970 the Oldest House was designated a United States National Historic Landmark.