Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
St. Augustine, Florida
March 17, 2010
From journal Historic Downtown St. Augustine
January 14, 2005
I couldn’t hear everything about the history of the city the first time around (which sometimes happens with a lot of people), so if I went around again, I was sure I’d catch everything. And because my memory is so bad, I wanted to hear the history again so maybe something would stick! All of the tour drivers were so kind as I got to know them. It was nice to be addressed by my first name, and they gave me courage to ask lots of (what I call) dumb questions.
The Old Town Trolley makes 20 stops, and your ticket is good for three consecutive days. You can get on and off as often as you want. The trolley will pick you up every 15 to 20 minutes. They hit all of the highlights of the city like St. George Street, Flagler College and Presbyterian Church, Lightner Museum, Castillo de San Marcos, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Casa Monica Hotel, the Fountain of Youth, and San Sebastian Winery. Along the way, they will also point out other significant buildings and facts, like the shortest street in the country named "Treasury Street," and the doors are so small because the Spaniards were so short. The driver will also slow down so you can see things, like actual buildings made of coquina (shells). One of my favorite places on the tour was Magnolia Street, where these massive trees covered with moss lined the street and hung so low that there was hardly any sunlight on the street. It has been recognized as one of the country’s most beautiful. It was breathtaking.
I was not a big fan of trolleys in the past, although I had never been on one of them. To me they seemed too touristy. However, with so much history here, I think the Old Town Trolley is a great way to learn about the city. The service from the drivers was fantastic, so I wouldn’t choose anyone else. For more information and to order discount tickets online, visit http://www.historictours.com/staugustine/.
From journal Taking history class again in St. Augustine
by Mary Dickinson
December 27, 2004
The Exxon Station was also the location of the Old Jail, a fancy Spanish Renaissance building with friendly, comical guides trying to laugh at brutal inhuman justice. See and hear about the Mission Nombre de Dios and Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth as you travel back to town. On the way you will also experience one of the most beautiful streets in the world, Magnolia Avenue, with live oaks forming a vaulted archway over the entire street. Stop and tour Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum or the Castillo de San Marcos (the ancient walled fort), or keep going to the other attractions. You can get off and get back on all day, but you have to pay $18 for a pass for three consecutive days, even if you are only there for one.
The trolley stopped at both ends of St. George Street, which has a rich variety of restaurants, opulent shops, and many side attractions, and then went on to the Flagler buildings. Henry Morrison Flagler developed the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with remarkably beautiful Spanish Renaissance buildings that can be easily identified by their colossal size, flat concrete walls, arched doors and windows, courtyards, and red-tile roofs. His two enormous hotels, the Alcazar and the Ponce de Leon, are now the Lightner Museum and Flagler College respectively. Tours of the college are available two times a day. A discount is offered for most of the attractions when you buy your trolley pass.
Flagler financed and help plan many other buildings. The tour included the imposing Memorial Presbyterian Church, built in memory of Flagler’s daughter who died from complications after childbirth. The Grace United Methodist Church is another Flagler building, and he even financed the rebuilding of the Catholic Cathedral basilica after a destructive fire. You can stop right in front of it and visit Government House across the street as well.
Lincolnville, a small section of St. Augustine, is part of the tour because Martin Luther King stayed in one of the houses and was arrested there on trumped-up charges. The next stop was the winery, and then it continued back to town with the guide pointing out the interesting places to see. With your pass you can also take a free shuttle to the alligator farm, lighthouse, and/or beach.
From journal Delightful Historic St. Augustine
We paid $4 apiece (with a $1 discount, because we bought a package tour), and then we sat on a bench in front of the jail with Sheriff Joe Perry. He was nice and quiet (he was a statue), and the deputy offered to take our picture. A crowd of tourists arrived to see the jail, and the deputy told us that we were all his prisoners and had to go in the back door. On the way around back, we stopped at the stockades and torture cage, and he told us how Sheriff Joe didn’t like new prisoners because they had an attitude, and he demonstrated how it would be adjusted if they had any complaints about working 16 hours a day on the new highway. He warned us that Joe’s nickname was "Always Gets His Man," and he had no intention of letting anyone out of jail until the new highway was completed. We were also warned about "Sure Shot Higgins" up in the tower, and the deputy then showed us the gallows and told how every one in town enjoyed showing up for a hanging.
The women’s cell was right inside the back door, but few women ever stayed there because the judge usually had them confined to house arrest. However, the trustee that greeted us was a woman (she must have committed a serious offence or she wouldn’t have been in jail). She explained how she was willing to provide extra blankets and "privileges" if we gave her a bribe, and she looked us over to see if we had any jewelry or valuables. The kitchen and a few solitary cells were downstairs. We were marched into the kitchen, where the cook told us that prison food consisted of coffee and hardtack and said, with a foul cackle, that it tastes better if you dip the hardtack in the coffee and drowned the weevils.
We were allowed to go through the sheriff’s apartment, a two-floor, nicely furnished Victorian household, and then to the cells. There were two floors, each consisting of eight cells per floor, four bunks per cell. All cells were in the center of the room, with a corridor around the outside. The windows had no glass when the prison was in use. Sheriff Joe (an animated figure) told us his brutal rules while he was standing up on the second floor, but we escaped out the back door and down the stairs just the same.