Historic Streets in St. Augustine
It seems around every corner of St. Augustine is a historical site with a plausible folk tale and an extensive history waiting to be discovered. From civil rights monuments to century-old Historic Inns to haunted pubs to infamous hotels and of course the renowned Flagler College, you likely know the importance of many of the city’s famed sites. However, you can explore the city from dawn to eve and not realize that the very ground you walk on is significant! That’s right, there are even historic streets in St. Augustine! Some old, some new, some narrow, some picturesque; the following world-wide historic streets are located in St. Augustine.
Aviles Street is the oldest street in the United States.
History: As you might have expected, the nation’s oldest street is located in the nation’s oldest city. Don’t be fooled by headlines claiming Elfreth’s Alley of Pennsylvania is the oldest street in the United States. Much like the famous squabbling between Britons and Spaniards during the 1700s, modern-day archeologists’ have enjoyed debating whether the true oldest street of the United States is Aviles Street or Elfrethy’s Alley. However, in 2010, Carl Halbirt, renowned archeologist for the city of St. Augustine, stated, “We’re throwing down the gauntlet here in St. Augustine,” after him and his team discovered pottery shards under several feet of Aviles’ current laid brick. This discovery determined that the street was constructed in the early 1600’s; Elfreth’s Alley was constructed in the 1720s.
How to Explore: Enjoy a front-row seat to the nation’s oldest street when you lodge with the St. Augustine Historic Inns. Both the Victorian House and Casa de Solana are located on this historic street. Wake up each morning with history at your feet. Aviles Street is also home to restaurants, boutiques, and galleries.
Magnolia Avenue, called one of the most photographed streets by
History: Magnolia Avenue can be a confusing concept for those who don’t know its history; many find it strange that a street named Magnolia is lined with giant live oaks. However, according to Old Town Trolley guides and locals, there is a pretty rational reason why you can’t find a single pink flowered magnolia tree on the road.
Many years ago, when the city was building the road, they lined both sides with luscious magnolia trees figuring Florida’s warm and humid climate would do the trees good. However, that same year Florida suffered one of the coldest winters recorded, one that the magnolias didn’t survive. The city of St. Augustine then decided to decorate the street with a tree native to Florida, Southern Live Oaks.
This folktale came full circle when National Geographic called Magnolia Avenue one of the most photographed streets in the United States. The city of St. Augustine originally chose magnolia trees to line the road for their beauty. Little did they know, the southern live oaks that eventually took their place would grow to be quite impressive, transforming Magnolia Avenue into a tunnel with grand live oak branches canopying overhead.
How to Explore: A stroll, bicycle ride, or trip on the Old Town Trolley are great ways to take in the road. Don’t forget your camera, you’ll definitely feel the urge to snap a few shots.
St. George Street is the core of the Nation’s Oldest City.
History: St. George Street is the very heart of St. Augustine. It runs north to south through the Historic District with most of it being closed to vehicular access. The street is chockfull of attractions, museums, galleries, restaurants, shops, and often live music. Visitors and those who plan to visit have undoubtedly added it to their itinerary.
How to Explore: St. Francis Inn, 44 Spanish Street Inn, Agustin Inn are located on or within a block of St. George Street and offer an unparalleled experience of the area. Imagine waking up and taking a walk to get coffee before the hustle and bustle of each day or spending a night on the town only to walk a few blocks back to the comfort of your historic inn.
St. Augustine Historic Inns
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