Boatyards are not generally in the posh side of town but here in St. Augustine we find ourselves in a nationally significant historic district. Lincolnville was established by freed slaves in about 1866 and was originally called Little Africa. It was soon a vibrant community with a large business district, and later played an important role in the civil rights movement, when the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King, Jr. came to the aid of local activists campaigning against the segregation of public facilities. Marches, rallies and acts of civil disobedience, many resulting in violence and most in arrests, continued for months. The publicity on the demonstrations in Lincolnville focused national attention on the struggle and helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in June 1964.
Everywhere you go in Lincolnville there are plaques describing the significance of a resident or a house or a church in the Civil Rights Movement. You can’t help but be humbled by the day-to-day heroism of so many people in the face of entrenched beliefs. Each person made a difference, and together they changed the country.
Today, Lincolnville is still charming if a little seedy, with beauty at every turn. The National Park Service claims it holds the largest concentration of Victorian era buildings in St. Augustine, and This Old House says it’s a good place to find an older home to fix up. There are certainly enough that could use it.
For me it’s a treat to see big trees, a rarity in most of Florida, and they are obviously respected and well cared for. This one is noted to be as old as the Constitution.
It’s impossible — at least with an old iphone — to captured the size and form of these giants.
We found Oneida Street to be particularly beautiful.
On one side of the street is a huge mansion with a lot of lawn sculpture:
…and directly across the street is this artfully decorated charmer:
Even the front walkway is beautifully paved with recycled brick.
Every day we see a little piece of the neighborhood and feel like we’ve become part of the street life. No matter where we go, our route takes us the length of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue. We go at least once a day, sometimes twice, and every time, any time of the day, there’s a group of men on the sidewalk doing this and that, hanging out, sometimes tuning up bicycles. The first time we passed they stared at us, even after we waved. The second time they acknowledged us with a nod. Now, after a week they wave as soon as they see us coming up the street and we feel like we belong.
St. Augustine is a tourist destination, and one of the attractions is carriage rides through the historic districts. We haven’t done this, but every day we see the drivers making their way through Lincolnville toward downtown, heading for work.