We have completed all the conservation work, description, and digitization of the drawings and blueprints of the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church. Last week I visited St. Augustine and saw the church (and the Hotel Ponce de Leon). Although I had never been there before, I felt as though I had since I’ve been working with these drawings for a few months and have become familiar with the church’s features. In working so closely with original materials, you begin to feel connected to their history. What was going through the minds of John Carrere and Thomas Hastings as they created original drawings, amended existing blueprints, and visited the sites where the Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church and Hotel Ponce de Leon would be built? Could they envision the towering dome they had designed for the church as they stood on the empty lot?
I can hear Carrere and Hastings debating what types of carvings should go on the doors, how high the dome should be, and where walls should be placed as to allow for a large, open space or several small intimate spaces. The previous repairs are interesting, too. I imagine Carrere and Hastings visiting the site, bringing along some of their drawings and blueprints so they can compare and make changes to what has already been built, and opps! one of them tears. An assistant scrambles for Scotch Tape, a stapler, or (in one instance) some paste and a brochure for the Hotel Ponce de Leon to serve as a Band-Aide.
Through this project, history is being preserved in both the content of the drawings and in the drawings themselves as historically significant objects.