San Sebastian District

St. Augustine has an incredible art community and though you can find lots of galleries in Historic Downtown, the art doesn’t stop there! Head west of Flagler College to the San Sebastian District to discover St. Augustine’s great industrial history, public art, local restaurants, and a heaping handful of galleries run by recognized and reputable award-winning artists.

 

History

           

Ice Plant

            With history dating back to the early 20th century, the Ice Plant has a story like no other. Since 1907, the building was Florida’s first power and ice plant. Power boilers would produce steam which was condensed, then recycled into the boilers or used to make 125 tons of ice for the local fishing and shrimping industries here in St. Augustine. Smaller quantities were sold to residents in the 1930s for iceboxes before refrigerators and freezers took the industry out in the 1950s. At its peak, the US trade accounted for 40 million tons of ice, 100,000 employees, and 4,800 plants. Ice plants were so crucial to American industry that workers were exempt from the draft in the World Wars.

 

            Historical details are all around with the original bridge crane on rails over the bar and the 300-pound block of ice from which custom cubes are cut specific to the cocktail you choose. Along with refined, vintage-inspired cocktails, the Ice Plant offers a seasonal farm-to-table menu with exceptional local ingredients. While you’re there, be sure to head downstairs for a tasting tour at the St. Augustine Distillery!

 

Solla-Carcaba Cigar Factory

            Architect Fred A. Henderich was a prominent designer in St. Augustine known for introducing the Mediterranean Revival style to St. Augustine at the turn of the 19th century and pioneering restorative architecture on many buildings after the great fire of 1914. In 1908, he designed what would be the final remnant of St. Augustine’s cigar industry: the Solla-Carcaba Cigar Factory. The top three floors were designated for cigar making while the ground floor was for tobacco storage.

 

            Since the 1830s, St. Augustine had established a minor handmade Cuban cigar manufacturing industry. When the Ten Years War with Spain broke out in 1868, some Cuban immigrants made their way here while others went to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Key West, Tampa, and Europe.

 

            P.F. Carcaba was a native of Spain and cigar manufacturer out of Cincinnati who opened a St. Augustine factory in 1893. The first plant burned down in 1895 and a vacant school building was offered to keep production going. Carcaba was one of St. Augustine’s principal cigar producers, making about 5,000,000 cigars a year by 1905. President Theodore Roosevelt visited that year and was gifted three boxes of Carcaba’s cigars wrapped in velvet, trimmed in gold, and fastened with silver clasps.

           

            After Carcaba’s passing in 1906, business moved to Tampa and St. Augustine’s industry took a major blow. The St. Augustine Board of Trade began negotiations to reestablish a local cigar factory to employ 100 workers and money was raised by public subscription plus donations from banks, labor establishments, and investors to construct the building by February of 1909. The factory opened but could not meet the 8 million annual production rate stipulated by the agreement. With that, optimism faded and assets were purchased by Pamies-Arango & Co. The firm was able to increase production and jobs, making cigar production St. Augustine’s second largest industry (behind the FEC Railway) by 1920. After World War I, cigarettes became more popular with aggressive marketing and the newly fast-paced lifestyle associated with cars, planes, and jazz. By 1937, only three cigar manufacturers remained in St. Augustine and Pamies was reduced to a small operation running out of the owner’s home.

 

            Today, the historic building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and operates as office space for local businesses. Plans for repurposing the building as  an upscale boutique hotel were recently announced.

 

Public Art

 

Crave Mural

            A popular local food truck recently became a brick and mortar restaurant, bringing lots of color with them!  With help from local branding house and design agency Future Friends, Crave improved its parking lot with a gorgeous mural as bright as their menu. Take a stroll down Sebastian Harbor Drive to snag a photo, then pop in for a smoothie and lunch!

 

Dining

 

Georgie’s Diner

            There are few things in life much better than a classic breakfast in a retro diner! Georgie’s Diner has the look and feel of a nostalgic 1960s diner complete with aluminum accents, checkered tile, red leather booths, and neon lights. Their menu includes classic American breakfast and lunch plates, plus exceptional authentic Greek cuisine.

           

San Sebastian Winery

            Founded in 1996 by the Cox family, the San Sebastian Winery has evolved to become Florida’s second largest winery with 40,000 gallons of storage capacity and producing up to 15,000 bottles of wine per day. Located in one of Henry Flagler’s East Coast Railway buildings, the winery maintains the historic charm of the Nation’s Oldest City. San Sebastian Winery offers tastings and tours every day and gift baskets, food products, and wine accessories in their gift shop. You will definitely want to grab a glass and an appetizer on the rooftop to enjoy the panoramic view with live music on the weekends!

 

Visit

 

Butterfield Garage Art Gallery

           

This 1927 building was formerly a parking garage showcasing cars! Once owners Jan and Max Miller purchased the building, they found the original neon sign on the second floor. They loved it so much, they kept the name and put the sign out front.

            Local artist Jan Miller had a vision to create an artist-run gallery space that would encourage professional artists to experiment with their craft. Since 1999, Butterfield Garage has exhibited the area’s most distinguished artists and offers frequent opportunities for visitors to engage with local creatives. They aim to be a leader in traditional and contemporary visual arts in Northeast Florida and encourage customer-artist dialogue and interactions.

 

ArtBox 137
 

        Described as “a mixed experience,” ArtBox is a contemporary gallery with an eclectic urban twist. Representing local, regional, and international artists, you will find fine art, furniture, sculpture, jewelry, and gifts. There’s always something going on at ArtBox, so be sure to carve out time for art classes, workshops, and painting parties!

 

Lenny Foster’s Gallery One Forty Four
 

            Accomplished and celebrated artist, Lenny Foster opened Gallery One Forty Four in St. Augustine to redefine his unique and spiritual vision. Inspired by the varied history, architecture, and culture of the city, he has turned his eye to the local African American experience to document the evolution of people, places, and important historical landmarks.

 

Rembrandtz
 

            Operating for over 25 years, Rembrandtz is an artist-owned, family run gallery and gift shop focusing on original art and contemporary handmade gifts. This award-winning gallery has an eclectic selection of glass, pottery, handmade jewelry, and mosaics with monthly exhibitions of local and national artists.

 

Ice Plant & St. Augustine Distillery: 110 Riberia Street

Solla-Carcaba Cigar Factory: 88 Riberia Street

Crave: 135 King Street

Georgie's Diner: 100 Malaga Street

San Sebastian Winery: 157 King Street

Butterfield Garage Art Gallery: 137 King Street

ArtBox 137: 137 King Street Unit 103

Lenny Foster’s One Forty Four: 144 King Street

Rembrandtz: 131 King Street

Post Date

July 15, 2020

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