This gorgeous Queen Anne-style house is the O’Brien House on Moultrie Point. It overlooks the Matanzas River just south of the mouth of Moultrie Creek. Built in 1885, it is the second structure to be built of poured concrete in the St. Augustine area. The first was Villa Zorayda in downtown St. Augustine.
Today the house is restored to its early glory, but for many years it was sadly neglected. Even in its worst days, it gracefully watched over the water traffic up and down the Intracoastal Waterway – the only way you can really experience all its beauty. This photo was taken from a kayak sitting just south of the dock.
In 1995, before the house was renovated, David Nolan wrote “The Houses of St. Augustine” which includes many photos of the house’s architectural details [the photography was beautifully done by Ken Barrett – not quite a cousin]. Even neglected, it’s beauty shows.
The book recounts an incident in 1980 when exterminators discovered a note from Lewis Ogden O’Brien in a vent. Lewis was the oldest son of Henry Stanton O’Brien and 12 years old at the time he wrote the note. He stated as of his birthday – May 15, 1885 – his father was building the house as a winter home. Lewis stated, “I write this so that perhaps 100 years or more from now people will know who had this house built.”
Thanks to Lewis we have a more complete history of his beautiful home.