Feb 18 2022, 9:42 pm in

I grew up in St Augustine Florida, the oldest city in the nation. History all round. Many buildings in use today date to the early 1700’s. My grandparent’s home was built around civil war times.  

The building at 12 Aviles St (see above photo) is now in use as a research library, home to records kept by the St Augustine Historical Society. The coquina house was originally constructed in 1783 as a home constructed on Aviles St in 1783, by Bernardo Segui. 

Superior Court Judge Joseph Lee Smith from Connecticut rented the home. His wife, Frances, an ardent Confederate sympathizer and was exiled from town in 1863 by Union forces for spying. Their son, Edmund Kirby Smith, was the last Confederate general to surrender forces, approximately two months after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

The house came to be called the Segui-Smith House. In 1895 it was given to the city to be used as a library. 

My library. The portal to hundreds of different worlds.   

It’s a good possibility many of the books I perused on the shelves had been there since 1895. Really. They were old.

That building holds powerful memories for me.

Rainy afternoons sitting in a corner of the porch listening to rain tap a beat on the banana leaves and palm fronds in the courtyard.

The dark rooms. Wide oak plank flooring creaking when no one stepped on them.


Yellowed library cards. The wood drawers for the catalogue cards sticking.

Yes, I am that old that I didn’t have a device to look everything up.




The powerful musty scent of dust, old paper and history was comforting. On hot humid days, those who currently work in the building report the musty smell.  

I honestly can’t remember any books I checked out and if I remember correctly there were a set of encyclopedias from the 18th century. on not the 18th century part.     

I miss my library.   

Do you have fond Library memories?



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