St. Augustine's 450th birthday
Ready to celebrate with us?
We're getting an early start on celebrating the momentous occasion that is St. Augustine's 450th Birthday. Though the actual milestone won't occur until September 2015, the Nation's Oldest City is gearing up for three years of exciting events leading up to the big day.
OldCity.com is delighted to join with the rest of our community in marking this tremendous event! We have created this page to help visitors find information about the city's historical significance and the events that will take place over the next three years as we approach St. Augustine's 450th jubilee.
450 Years of Diverse History
Beginning with Ponce de Leon's quest for the Fountain of Youth that led him to Florida in 1513, our beautiful shores have been a long sought destination for conquistadors and kings. In 1565, it was Pedro Menendez of Aviles, Spain, who first stepped onto the soil in St. Augustine and proclaimed it for his homeland. The first Catholic mass was held at what is now the Mission de Nombre de Dios by Menendez and his men.
Two centuries later, a location in St. Augustine known as Fort Mose was established to offer refuge for freed slaves from the British colonies in the north. Believed to be a precursor to the Underground Railroad, this historic site and the militia that protected it earned a name for themselves with through their bravery in a difficult time. After the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincolnville was established closer to the city center as a residential area for freed slaves. Lincolnville would later become an important location during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's.
In the 1920's, Henry Flagler and his railroad came to town. This important move led to the construction of Flagler's architecturally exquisite hotels including three that remain today -- Flagler College, Lightner Museum (formerly the Alcazar) and the only one that still operates as a hotel, the Casa Monica.
From the 300 year-old Castillo de San Marcos coquina fortress to the Oldest House, St. Augustine is filled with historical relics of a by-gone era that will make you appreciate all the sacrifices made by our ancestors to bring us to this point.
450th Celebration Events
- Discover First America! Lecture Series (Nov. 2014 - March 2015)
- Tapestry: The Cultural Threads of First America Exhibition (January 2015 - January 2016)
- Grand 450th Ball & Spanish Royal Visit (Sept. 2015)
- St. Augustine Spanish Wine Festival (October 2015)
- St. Augustine Marathon Weekend (Nov. 2015)