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"The Ximenez-Fatio House was the first to interpret 19th century women's history." ~William Seale, 2008
In 1939, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of Florida (NSCDA-FL) acquired the property for use as its state museum house. The NSCDA-FL joined with the National Park Service, State of Florida, Carnegie Foundation and other groups to initiate St. Augustine's historic preservation program.
Today the house stands as one of the best preserved of the three dozen colonial buildings remaining in St. Augustine. The historic grounds of the museum date to St. Augustine's original town plan of 1572. Meticulous restoration and furnishings of period decorative arts and historical objects provide the setting for authentic portrayals of territorial life and early statehood in St. Augustine. The museum focuses on the property's role as a boarding house, representing one of the few socially acceptable business ventures for a 19th century woman.
In July of 2002, shortly after beginning the 10th archaeological dig on the grounds at the Ximenez-Fatio House, an extraordinary small cross (pictured at left) was retrieved from the tens-of-thousands of items in a trash pit. Treatment removed a dark patina of encrusted salts to expose the resplendent white bronze material and fine details. Named for a hillside town in southeastern Spain, this Caravaca Cross is believed to have become popular in the 17th century to celebrate the end of the plague. St. Augustine City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt said, "I've never seen a cross like this one. They have been found in the Southeast, the Caribbean and in Canada, but not here -- until now."
Found with ceramic artifacts made about 1650, this relic dates to a time when the settlement's population was about 500 hearty souls. John T. Powell, educator and conservator said, "an absolutely outstanding find. Whoever had this was a person of some means. This is in the top 10 or 20 percent of rarity. You just don't find something that intricately made." ... Order a replica.
The Ximenez-Fatio House was used as a site for the filming of Florida: The 27th Star, an educational video about Florida's territorial period (1821-1845) produced in honor of the state's sesquicentennial in 1995 by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of Florida.