Before Conch Island?

My mother’s two sisters moved to St. Augustine during World War II. After the war my mother, a war widow, and older sister also moved here. All of themĀ lived in a small house on Palmetto Avenue (it runs behind Gypsy Cab). I remember my Aunt Lin complaining about living in that “beach house” because the sand got into everything. I thought she was crazy thinking Salt Run was the beach. It was many years later before I learned that Conch Island didn’t always exist across from the lighthouse.

Now I wonder if some of the old photos I’ve inherited are actually pictures of that beach. If anyone is familiar with the Ocean Way, Palmetto Avenue, Magnolia Drive neighborhood just north of the lighthouse and remembers this period, do you recognize any of these photos as that beach?

old beach photos

Is this “the beach” before the jetties were built?

Playing at the beach

Playing at the beach

If you have memoriesĀ about this area, please share them in the comments. I would love to learn more about this beach neighborhood.


It All Began Here

The Great Cross
On September 8, 1565, a party of approximately 800 Spanish soldiers and settlers landed at this spot to create what would become the oldest continuously-occupied European settlement in the United States. Today, St. Augustine celebrates its 450th anniversary with a reenactment of that landing.

Photo: The Great Cross at the Mission of Nombre de Dios. From the author’s collection at Flickr.


Shrimp Boat City

Written by Ed Long and Brendan Burke and published by the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, this book chronicles 100 years of the shrimping industry in St. Augustine. Not only does it tell the stories of the men who made their living catching shrimp, the book also documents the associated industries like boat building and marine supplies. The stories are fascinating and the photographs are amazing. There are discussions and diagrams showing how the technology behind net design changed over the years. You’ll learn how the familiar design of shrimp boats evolved too.

Shrimp Boat City [$24.95] can be purchased at the Lighthouse gift shop or online.