Florida: St. Johns County

St. Johns County (pop. 190,039) is south of Duval County. Its population has grown from 30,727 in 1970.

One of Florida’s two original counties

Its county seat, St. Augustine (pop. 12,975), is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. It’s been a major tourist destination since the late 19th century.

The Ponce de Leon Hotel (1888) was built by Henry Flagler, a founder of Standard Oil and an early leader in the development of Florida’s Atlantic Coast. It is now part of Flagler College (1968).

A four-year, liberal arts college

Across the street from the former Ponce de Leon Hotel is the former Hotel Alcazar (1887), which now contains the St. Augustine City Hall and the Lightner Museum.

Also built by Flagler

The Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S., was built from 1672 to 1695, when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire.

Now a national monument

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine is the oldest church in Florida. It was established in 1565 and rebuilt in the 18th century.

Still an active church

Bayfront Mini Golf is Florida’s oldest miniature golf course.

It opened in 1949.

Nombre de Dios, a Spanish Catholic mission founded in 1587, has a 204-foot cross that may be the world’s tallest free-standing cross.

208 feet

Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park may have been the site of Ponce de Leon’s Florida landing in 1513.

The St. Augustine Light (1874) is an active lighthouse and a museum.

Stairway to the top

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, which opened in 1893, now has ziplines that pass over the alligators and crocodiles.

23 species of crocodilians

The World Golf Hall of Fame is in World Golf Village, north of St. Augustine. The headquarters of the PGA Tour is nearby in Ponte Vedra Beach.

17th hole at Sawgrass

NEXT: CLAY COUNTY

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