1860's Boarding House Visitors

Centuries of Endurance

The Ximenez-Fatio House has seen her fair share of trying times. Through war and disease to financial strife and family heartbreak, she has always endured. For 222 years this grand lady has stood the test of time and the tests of the many who have sought the safety and warmth of her hearths.

As we travel through this most recent struggle, we, her caretakers, would like to share her with those of you who are acclimating to this new normal of ‘virtual tourism’.

Please check back often as we update this page and add more info about this magnificent home, those who have crossed her thresholds and beautiful historic St. Augustine.

Women’s Suffrage and the 1918 Pandemic

Beginning in the mid-19th century, several generations of women suffrage supporters lectured, wrote, marched, lobbied, and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans considered a radical change to the Constitution – the right for women to vote. In 1918, Spanish Influenza swept the globe infecting one-third of the world’s population. Just like today, the severity of the pandemic was enough to temporarily shut down parts of the economy. The virus disproportionately affected young men, which in combination with World War I, created a shortage of labor. This gap enabled women to play a new and indispensable role in the…

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Great American Treasures

The United States is filled with treasures of every kind, from natural wonders to architectural inspirations; from scientific genius and discovery to institutions of great wisdom. But some of our greatest treasures are measured by the history they represent. The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum has the distinct honor to be a member of just such a collection of historic homes located all over the nation – over 60 homes in all! It is known as the Great American Treasures, a title that only scratches the surface of the elegance and local/regional historic importance that these houses represent. The stories they tell…

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Cooking in COVID!

With many of us staying close to home these days I think we’ve all felt a little more creative and have found ourselves experimenting with new recipes, household projects, or in my case, a lot more online shopping! Follow the wonderful Betsy along in her kitchen as she tests one of our delicious recipes from Dining with the Dames! Stop in the Fig Tree Gift Shop and pick up a copy of the cookbook or order online through our virtual shop. And, to help keep those online shopping expenses down, use coupon code DINING at checkout to receive a 20%…

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Flower Pressing at the Ximenez-Fatio House Garden

There are so many wonderful reasons why our on-site staff love working at the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, but one near the very top of the list is being surrounded every day by our beautiful gardens. We have lush tropical plants such as many varieties of vibrant hibiscus, banana, pomelo and, our famous Seville oranges. In addition to our tropical plants we grow mint, rosemary, basil lemongrass and cuban oregano. And, to take our green thumbs a step further, we have propagated milkweed throughout the property to entice the local butterfly population to make their homes here. With all these beautiful…

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Baking with XF: Florida Orange Bread

Total Prep Time: ~20 minutes Total Cook Time: 1.5 hours Greetings, browsers of the Internet. I hope this blog reaches you in good health and spirits. My name is Cheyenne—I am a historical interpreter at the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum. As the title reads, this is a blog post that will follow my endeavors to bake. In celebration of the summer (however strange it may be) and Florida’s heritage, we will tackle baking with our state’s famed delicacy: the orange. But don’t worry—I won’t be baking off the cuff! My guide through the culinary delights of citrus will be Ode to…

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The Human Spirit

The human spirit is an unwavering thing. By nature, we are curious and optimistic even in the most uncertain times. Grounded in family, community, and shared experience there is a constant that can be found across time and miles. When faced with the worst and the unimaginable is often when we find the best in ourselves. Our ability to band together in the worst of times is perhaps our greatest gift.  In the early 18th century, St. Augustine was often cut off from a friendlier outside world. Decades of destruction in Florida’s interior efforts, continuous English raids, European wars, and…

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The “New” Museum World of 2020

The world has been changed by the outbreak of COVID-19, not only on a personal level but also professionally for museums of all sizes and styles. Virtually overnight, museums were tasked with determining how to keep their audience engaged while both the museum staff and their followers were sheltered at home. We at the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum have worked hard to bring our social media audience a variety of content during this time. In addition to pretty photos to distract, we have created activities which can be completed from home with family members. Now, as the world begins to reopen,…

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What’s Normal?

Working in an historic home, one gets a daily dose of how simple life used to be, yet continually amazed at how “modern” some of the items we have in the museum were to the 19th century lifestyle. If these folks only knew how much their lives and expectations from society were about to change. “How,” they might ask, “could life get any more convenient…more amazing?!” We demonstrate in every room how much the 19th-century “normal” was changing, which brings many smiles and giggles as to how archaic and old-fashioned these items seem to us today. Historic home museums not…

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The Essential Service of Storytelling

At the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum we interpret 19th-century historic living, as seen in the lives of three single women who owned, consecutively, this grand old house and operated a very respected boarding house within its walls. Here we offer a glimpse at the simplicity of the 19th century, as we display its most fashionable designs and daily comforts that couldn’t possibly, ever be improved upon! It truly was a simpler time back then. Yet, if you think about it, 19th-century America was bigger than it is today. It was more spread out, with more distance between cities and towns, and…

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The Asiatic Cholera Pandemic

April 13, 2020 This latest pandemic is not the first time that St. Augustine has experienced a quarantine. On October 1834, when Dr. Seth Peck, his wife Sarah, and their children Mary, Rebecca, John, Lucy, and baby Sarah arrived in St. Augustine, they were not allowed to disembark. The schooner Topic, which brought them from New York, was ordered to quarantine everyone and everything onboard. The quarantine was imposed by the St. Augustine city council due to the threat of yellow fever and the Asiatic Cholera reported in nearby states. There was reason to be fearful! Cholera, an infection of…

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Caravaca Cross

History Repeats in St. Augustine

March 31, 2020  Human history is rife with plagues and pandemics. Just say the word “plague” and most people will conjure images of the Bubonic Plague (1347-1351) and Monty Python characters calling “Bring outcha dead!” That was a hilarious scene until you are reminded that over 200 million people lost their lives to this disease. Most recently, the Spanish Flu (1918-1919), with a death toll somewhere between 40-50 million people brought the world to its knees. COVID-19 is the new, unimaginable micro-biotic enemy in our midst. The Ximenez-Fatio House has a unique history with pandemics and infectious disease outbreaks. In…

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