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Thread: Oldest City in USA

  1. #1
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Oldest City in USA

    St. Augustine, Florida:

    Oldest house in SA (note cannonball in wall):

    Moderator note:
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    residential alley:

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    Downtown walk and intracoastal bridge:

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    Flagler College downtown SA:

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    Downtown Church:

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    Old fort on water in front of town:

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    **the pics are bigger in the gallery should you want to view.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Um, did you mean the oldest European settlement in the US of A? I think Taos, Santa Fe, and others are older cities.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by Cardinal
    Um, did you mean the oldest European settlement in the US of A? I think Taos, Santa Fe, and others are older cities.
    Apparently I do. To clarify:

    "Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin in the United States."

    http://www.ci.st-augustine.fl.us/visitors/history.html

    I didnt realize native american cities were part of this equation... You know, since the USA was found by Columbus and all
    Last edited by H; 05 Dec 2003 at 9:10 AM.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Originally posted by Cardinal
    Um, did you mean the oldest European settlement in the US of A?
    St. Augustine was orginally settled by the Spanish.
    New York was orginally settled by the Dutch.

    ?How about by the
    French? or Germans?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Originally posted by JNA
    ?How about by the
    French? or Germans?
    Frenchyville and Krautsburg


    Just kidding. The first permanent French settlement was Quebec, the second oldest European city in North America.
    The first truly German settlement was the in the imaginatively named Germantown, PA, north of Philadelphia.

    I don’t know the dates and don’t really feel like Googling.

    By the way, nice pics H

  6. #6

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    The Acoma pueblo "Acoma Sky City" is a pretty neat fortified mesa town in New Mexico that is purported to be 1,000 years old. Pretty cool place (the best potters, imo)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    St. Augustine is nice, but it has changed a lot since I first saw it. The change is especially dramatic because St. Augustine is so small that a little change goes a long way.

    On my first visit, I passed through in the evening on my way to Miami, single and footloose. I thought I would take a look.

    What I found amazed me: a little old decrepit Spanish city, a small, unrestored San Juan. People obviously lived there—people who didn’t have much money, and people who lived urban lives.

    I stopped on a narrow, medieval street at a bar with a blinking red neon sign. I think the sign was shaped like a martini glass, with an olive. Part of the sign was burned out, and all of it buzzed.

    The bar was in a small, two-or-three story building, vaguely deco. Inside the gloom, there were eight or ten people, all but one of them, men. One or two sat at tables, but most were at the bar. The conversation ebbed and flowed or lapsed into silence.

    I was in a film noir.

    I had a film noir evening: four or five longnecks and a boozy, sentimental conversation with the bartender and a couple of lushes. I came close to having an adventure.

    Years later, I returned and found St. Augustine had been repackaged as a tourist attraction (I almost said “theme park”). Some of the town had been simply removed, to provide discreet parking for the tourists. Some of this was tucked away behind tasteful walls or plantings. The neon signs were gone, replaced by today’s familiar good-taste boutique signs, and there were little flocks of tourists in shorts. It didn’t seem that anyone lived there.

    It was pretty nice, but I liked it better the way I remember.

    * * *

    Btw, I think I have a pretty good idea of how this transformation took place.

    Some years ago, I was in the office of Savannah’s planning director. I had arrived unannounced. I wanted to ask him why buildings were being torn down in his lovely town.

    “We’re proud,” he intoned, “that we don’t tear down anything here in Savannah. We believe in preservation.”

    Through his window I observed a wrecking ball smash into a building.

    “What about that?” I asked, nodding toward his window.

    “Oh, that!” he exclaimed, aghast at my ignorance, “that building has no value!”

    * * *

    In St. Augustine I looked for the decrepit little deco building that had housed my bar. I guess it didn’t have any value either.

































    H,

    These pics are even older than my memories. You can see that among the buildings now gone are some that might have had some “value.”

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  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Hum just one question... are you sure St. Augustine was continously populated since 1565? No native raids that destroyed it or something like that? You see, I'm used to see such events in Chilean history. I think no Chilean city stands since it's foundation, blame the Mapuche people, pirates and earthquakes...
    My city was originally founded in 1552, destroyed several times by natives, twice by quakes; and passed a few decades completely uninhabited (in the late 1500-early 1600)
    Our oldest city would be Santiago, first founded in 1541; also destroyed many times by natives. Certanly there must be earlier Spanish founded cities in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, etc...

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    A bigger problem than Native Americans: British pirates.

    In Massachusetts, however, the inhabitants of Deerfield were twice exterminated by Native Americans, the second time as recently as 1705.

    [/URL]http://www.stjohns.k12.fl.us/history/history.html
    Last edited by ablarc; 12 Dec 2003 at 11:12 PM.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by SkeLeton
    Certanly there must be earlier Spanish founded cities in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, etc...
    There are for sure, but St Augustine is the "oldest continuously occupied settlement of European origin in the United States".
    ...as I earlier cleared up.

    and, ablarc nice photos and stories.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  12. #12
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    H,

    It occurs to me that there is a Disney issue in St. Augustine, and it comes with a dash of irony. St. Augustine is old, sure enough, but it doesn’t look old any more, the way I remember it looking old-- back when everyone on earth would have said, “It looks old.”

    Now it’s all spiffed up and its surfaces have that fresh-scrubbed look of new. Sandblasting, repaired stucco and woodbutcher signs make it look a whole lot like…of all places, I confuse it in my mind with, uh, Carmel. Why, it even has a Thomas Kinkade store.



    If we condemn Celebration for making the new look old, what should we say about a place that makes the old look new? Or even more, what should we say about a place that makes the old look ye olde?

    Can you find maybe a hint of Disney in this? Possibly at least as much as you profess to find in Celebration?

    Now, here comes the point: I don't condemn St. Augustine for being a little phony; it's still a nice place, and it's a sincere effort by well-meaning folks. They didn't get it to be the way that would have made me optimally happy. But it's still a pretty nice place. And I would ask that you go a little easier on Celebration for the same reason: it's still a nice place and it's a sincere effort that a lot of people really like, most of all those who live there.

    And the bottom line: both these places are immeasurably better than most other small towns in the U.S., which have no interest whatever for the tourist or the seeker after beauty, and don't work economically or socially. Most small towns are in fact forlorn, run-down, parking-lot-infested, deserted and moribund places.

    Each in its own way--St. Augustine, Carmel and Celebration-- is the outcome of a vision. Not one is perfect, but each is worth a visit from a distant place. Is your town? If not, why not?

    When you can answer that question, you're on your way down Haussmann's path.
    Last edited by ablarc; 13 Dec 2003 at 11:09 PM.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    ablarc, without a doubt there is a Disney feel to the very touristy streets of St. Augustine as with almost any tourist destination. St. Augustine is full of tourist because it is old (the tourist are mostly from the baby boomer gen) and you are sure to find a Kinkade gallery wherever you find baby boomer tourist with dinero in their pocket (for instance, my own mother who thinks he is better than Picaso :-P). I never said St. Augustine didn’t have a Disney feel. I never even said it was a “good” town, I just said here it is and it is old. I also never said that Celebration and Carmel were not worth a visit. Heck, I even think Disney is worth a visit….

    That being said, I would not call any of them a “perfect” or even a “good” city. I assure you that the affordable areas in St. Augustine are not as pretty as the areas shown in the photos.

    Should these cities be condemned for being “fake” and/or “tourist traps”…of course not. However, on the same note, they should not be praised for being great cities either. Interesting places yes, but great cities no.

    They have all have residents, but they are ALL tourist traps and/or vacation spots alike.

    You ask if my town worth a visit? Absolutely. I live in Miami (city not beach). I am not sure what the “vision” is here, but there sure is plenty to “see” (great or not)
    Last edited by H; 14 Dec 2003 at 9:49 PM.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Great Cities and Interesting Places

    Great cities are interesting places. That's how you know they're great.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Re: Great Cities and Interesting Places

    Originally posted by ablarc
    Great cities are interesting places. That's how you know they're great.
    While ‘interesting’ is absolutely one of the many components to a great city, there is a lot more to it than that. Another component might be, ummm, lets say “reality”. You know like jobs, affordable housing, good schools, etc….

    How many of the high dollar home owners in Celebration work in the Celebration city limits? Or do the drive to Orlando / Metro Orlando for work? If they drive it sure sounds like Celebration functions as more of a ‘neighborhood’ than even a city at all. :-S

    While ‘interesting’ is nice, it is not everything. For example, the novelty Rock City, Tennessee is an interesting place, but faaaaar from a great city. :-P

    Cutesy and artsy make great places to visit and vacation, and even great places to live for some… but this is not a basis for a ‘great’ city.

    In fact, I don’t see how any of the places we have talked about could even rationally be categorized as nothing more than novelty places.

    Do you live in Carmel or Celebration? Or do you only know them as a tourist (like me) also?
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  16. #16
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Re: Re: Great Cities and Interesting Places

    Originally posted by H
    While ‘interesting’ is absolutely one of the many components to a great city, there is a lot more to it than that. Another component might be, ummm, lets say “reality”. You know like jobs, affordable housing, good schools, etc….

    Cutesy and artsy make great places to visit and vacation, and even great places to live for some… but this is not a basis for a ‘great’ city.

    In fact, I don’t see how any of the places we have talked about could even rationally be categorized as nothing more than novelty places.
    You can pack a fair number of people into a novelty place, and bundle them with jobs and good schools. We all know about novelty places like Venice, Amsterdam, Prague and (come to think of it) Paris.

    San Francisco is a novelty place. So is half of New York.; Manhattan and Brooklyn between them account for over four million souls. They live in places that are novel by American standards, but they are also well-equipped with reality.

    They are certainly popular enough as places where we wish we could live; Cyburbanites choose the most novel places as their dream locations, and New York tops the list. See the "Ten Best Places" thread on this page.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Re: Re: Re: Great Cities and Interesting Places

    Originally posted by ablarc
    .... We all know about novelty places like Venice, Amsterdam, Prague and (come to think of it) Paris.

    San Francisco is a novelty place. So is half of New York.; Manhattan and Brooklyn between them account for over four million souls. They live in places that are novel by American standards, but they are also well-equipped with reality.

    They are certainly popular enough as places where we wish we could live; Cyburbanites choose the most novel places as their dream locations, and New York tops the list. See the "Ten Best Places" thread on this page.
    I would actually consider the places you name as great cities containing novelty places. There is a big difference. I have already fully acknowledged ‘interesting’ is one of the many components to a great city, it is just not the only (or even the most important) one to me.

    Let us agree to disagree and stop beating this dead horse. I am sure if you asked 10 people for a definition of a “great” city you would get 10 different answers. The topic is very opinion oriented. Just look at the “Ten Best Places” thread, every one has their own ideas.

    So hopefully I will live in one of my "great" cities and you can live in one yours.

    Cheers
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  18. #18
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Cheers.

  19. #19

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    my cousin from mexico is living there as a foreign exchange student. she says she likes it a lot.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Originally posted by ablarc
    A bigger problem than Native Americans: British pirates.
    This book is now out of print but apparently amazon.com still has some copies laying around. I got the last copy at my local bookstore - an amazing work that spends a chapter on the pirate armies of the north atlantic.

    http://www.bostonreview.net/BR26.1/blackburn.html

    The Swedes and Finns both made their first permanent settlements in and around Philadelphia. The Swedes were more concentrated in present day Delaware, though.

    The Dutch tried to settle around Camden in the late 1620's but were wiped out by the Lenape a few years later. They tried again 15 years later and were mostly successful.

    The Dutch were all over New Jersey - due largely to Henry Hudson's work - and were more in the Hudson Valley than in the Delaware Valley.
    Last edited by jresta; 26 Dec 2003 at 1:11 PM.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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