The National Society of the Colonial Dames
of America in the State of Florida
The NSCDA-FL was organized in 1898, by a group of women across the state of Florida who felt the need to become involved in the preservation of Florida’s history before there was no history left to preserve. Ours is a lineage society, meaning that candidates must be able to trace their heritage to an individual who played a valuable role in the formation and settlement of this great nation. It was women’s organizations like this that saved Mount Vernon and the Alamo, so these ladies picked up the gauntlet to pursue the same efforts here in Florida. And where better to search for an historic home to preserve than in the nation’s oldest city? But to find the right house to preserve and restore would take time and a great deal of mileage.
It was not until 1939, as Germany invaded Poland and the Great Depression waged a different kind of war here at home, that the ladies of the NSCDA-FL found what they were looking for and purchased the Ximenez-Fatio House in St. Augustine. The “XF House” was built in 1798 and has experienced many morphings and evolutions in its 222+ years of existence, but none greater, perhaps, than what efforts it took to make this house presentable to the public! So much work was need that it was not until 1940 that the NSCDA-FL would be able to present the city of St. Augustine with its newest historic home museum.
But the NSCDA-FL has not sat back on its laurels. They have spent a great deal of time and money promoting, maintaining, and restoring the XF House ever since! In addition to fostering an appreciation and respect for this old home and its unique history, the NSCDA-FL participates in endeavors such as patriotic services and education projects. The Dames participate in naturalization ceremonies, historic re-enactments, school tours, and a wide array of civic events and promotions. While in graduate school, our own Museum Director, Dr. Roger Smith, received a research grant from the NSCDA-FL to investigate a Revolutionary War-era project for his Ph.D. dissertation. There is no end to what these ladies have done and what they will accomplish in the future.
Great American Treasures
Today, the NSCDA-FL promotes the preservation and appreciation of two historic homes in the state of Florida. The Dorr House in Pensacola and the Ximenez Fatio House in St. Augustine. Click on the link below to visit the historic Dorr House – another honored member of an exclusive collection of historic homes across the nation known as the Great American Treasures.
The Clara Barkely Dorr House
Since 1976, the Pensacola Town Committee and the University of West Florida Historic Trust have partnered in caring for Pensacola’s historic Clara Barkley Dorr House. The Pensacola Town Committee has helped by providing many of the furnishings for the house as well as providing funds and volunteer hours to assist with maintenance of both the house and grounds.