Thanks to its long and colorful history, Ximenez-Fatio House is said to have a story in every room. But that’s only half the story.
People lived on this site for thousands of years before the Spanish founded St. Augustine in 1565. Over the years, there have been 15 archeological digs on the site that have unearthed findings dating back to pre-Columbian times (the time before Columbus landed in America, in other words, pre-1492.) Many of those items are on display, adding an extra layer of history to any visit.
The building we know today was built in 1798 by Andres Ximenez as a merchant’s home and place of business. It’s made from coquina, a rock composed of shells, and was built on the highest point in St. Augustine. As a result, it’s survived every hurricane without any flooding or structural damage.
But the story gets more interesting in the 1830s when a series of women took ownership of the building—a true rarity at the time—and helped launch Florida’s tourist industry.
The most famous of the owners was Louisa Fatio, who transformed the building into a fashionable boarding house known as Miss Fatio’s. She owned and managed the Boarding House until 1875, during which time she added a new wing with eight rooms.
Today, each of the rooms has been interpreted to bring the past to life. There’s also a detached kitchen that features the only beehive oven in Florida. Guided tours are available, as well as self-guided audio tours in English and Spanish.