• Share
  • Email
  • Embed
  • Like
  • Save
  • Private Content
GPR Presentation Notes, Tolomato
 

GPR Presentation Notes, Tolomato

on

  • 1,315 views

This is the presentation I delivered at a GPR Conference in St. Augustine in June 2009. It details the development of St. Augustine’s oldest-visible cemetery and discusses current obstacles to its ...

This is the presentation I delivered at a GPR Conference in St. Augustine in June 2009. It details the development of St. Augustine’s oldest-visible cemetery and discusses current obstacles to its survival. This is the presentation notes.

Statistics

Views

Total Views
1,315
Views on SlideShare
1,312
Embed Views
3

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
6
Comments
0

1 Embed 3

http://www.lmodules.com 3

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    GPR Presentation Notes, Tolomato GPR Presentation Notes, Tolomato Document Transcript

    • I want to thank Sarah Miller and F.P.A.N. for organizing this conference and for inviting me to speak on a topic that is very significant to the history of St. Augustine and to myself personally. I have had the rare opportunity to study Tolomato Cemetery as the topic for my thesis, which is a plan for the site’s preservation. I am here to discuss the history of this historic landscape and to address a number of the more prominent preservation issues facing Tolomato. 1
    • The romantic, old world atmosphere of Tolomato is remarkable. It is heavily shaded beneath a dense hammock of “ancient” oaks, laden with thick Spanish moss that sways gently amid St. Augustine’s coastal breezes; the scattered markers, dark with the stains of age stand out against lush vegetation; and in the evening, the lights from surrounding properties and street lamps flood the cemetery at extreme angles to form a stenciled array of shadows in nearly every direction. This alone has been enough for most visitors to admire this cemetery. But few have had the privilege to know it personally and to understand how this landscape came to be. 2
    • Tolomato Cemetery was founded on the site of a Franciscan mission to the Tolomato Indians, established here in the early 1720s. The Tolomato Indians were a coastal tribe of Georgia, encountered by the Spanish in the 16th century. This site was the third location for the mission. The Tolomato Indians built a chapel on the site by 1726. It was a wooden structure with a palm-thatch roof and a four-story coquina belfry capped with a round cupola, located at the east façade, where it served as the main entry. When Florida passed to Britain in 1763, any remaining inhabitants of the mission departed for Cuba with the Spanish. Prior to their departure, fate brought several German families to St. Augustine’s shores, where they lived among the residents of the Tolomato mission, before departing with the Spanish. Their presence left a lasting impression on the arriving British, who referred to the chapel as a German or Dutch church for years. The mission fell quickly into disrepair during the British Period. The chapel was dismantled for firewood and the grounds used as a landfill. By the time the cemetery was established nothing remained of the mission, but the stone tower, which stood until the 1790s, when it was dismantled and recycled into the construction of the new parish church (the present Cathedral Basilica). This is Maria Sanchez Creek; it was responsible for high water levels in this area of the city. This is why the area around the cemetery was undeveloped until the 1880s. 3
    • In 1777, the surviving indentured servants of Andrew Turnbull’s disastrous plantation colony in New Smyrna came to St. Augustine seeking emancipation from Governor Patrick Tonyn. Turnbull faced criminal charges as severe as murder for inhumane treatment and the conditions of his colony, which resulted in the death of so many of his workers; ultimately, Turnbull’s attorneys released them on his behalf. These settlers (most of whom were Minorcan) were permitted to move into the northern section of the old presidio. They established a Catholic chapel on St. George Street and Father Pedro Camps, the spiritual leader of the Minorcans at New Smyrna, petitioned Governor Tonyn for permission to use the nearby Tolomato mission as a burial ground for this new Catholic population. This would have taken place sometime after November 9, 1777, when Camps was finally permitted to join them in St. Augustine. In 1784, the Spanish returned to find their parish church (the hospital chapel of the hermitage, Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, shown here) transformed into an Episcopalian church (St. Peter’s) and the associated burial ground desecrated with Protestant burials. So in 1784, the Minorcan burial ground at the Tolomato mission became the parish cemetery for St. Augustine. 4
    • The first description of Tolomato Cemetery came in 1799, from a dispute between Miguel Ysnardy, owner of the land surrounding Tolomato, and Father Michael O’Reilly of the church. The area around the site was overgrown with cactus, Spanish bayonets, and palmettos. The cemetery was unfenced, which according to Ysnardy, left it open to “all kinds of animals, some of which knock down or break the crosses” (referring to the large, wooden crosses used as markers at that time). A simple wooden fence was erected by 1809, when Governor Enrique White expressed the need for a more secure boundary to Father O’Reilly. White was concerned over the burglary of sixteen year-old Elizabeth Forrester’s grave; her corpse had been robbed of its clothing. Remarkably, her tomb is the oldest marker in the cemetery today. 5
    • Governor White’s concerns were answered with a plan for the layout and administration of a new parish cemetery in 1811. Intended to be an extension of the existing parish cemetery, the plan included a stone wall around the site with an arched entrance and wooden gate. To maintain a uniform appearance, any masonry work was to be plastered and the walls and fences whitened. This practice was characteristic for Tolomato throughout the 19th century (and probably the 18th as well). The plan depicted a cruciform path that would divide the cemetery into four uniform grids, each with seven rows of twenty-one plots. The western border was reserved for vaults, separated at the center by “a pillar with a cross… of Tuscan design.” The end result would be a densely populated graveyard, with little room for movement between the graves. Though an interesting plan, I haven’t found any evidence that it was ever realized. Little remains from Tolomato’s earliest years. At the time, it fit the mold of the early church graveyard, lacking only the characteristic neighboring church building. Most church graveyards were limited to a few acres, where the graves were arranged in no particular order, resulting in a disorderly patchwork of burials across the landscape. These sites were unfenced and the grounds were rough (“torn up from new burials”); the need for burial space left few clear pathways. 6
    • As you can see, the few remaining markers from this period are scattered across the landscape, with no clear method present. 7
    • In 1821, when the United States assumed ownership of St. Augustine, they were met by a terrible yellow fever epidemic, which led to the establishment of a city cemetery to serve the new, non-Catholic population (the nearby Huguenot Cemetery). Tolomato became as much a curiosity for visitors as it was a sacred place of rest for the departed of St. Augustine. It was known for its old world charm and mystique. Despite its relatively young age at the time (forty-four years in 1821), it was seen as a relic, furnished with a blend of Catholic-inspired, Spanish and Mediterranean-styled markers unlike anything encountered in the burial grounds of New England. The aged and rustic appearance misled visitors to presume Tolomato was from a much earlier time than was truly the case, already assuming the label “ancient.” 8
    • We know from early maps that the cemetery was set back from what became Tolomato Street (and later Cordova Street). Sometime after 1833, Tolomato’s eastern border extended into Tolomato Street. An 1833 map of the city provides this approximation for the eastern border at that time. The earliest graves east of this border, narrow the possible range of dates for this expansion to sometime between 1836 and 1840. 9
    • This map from 1863 depicts the cemetery after the expansion. What this map does not show is that the southeast corner of the cemetery extended into the street. 10
    • Perhaps the most defining feature in the cemetery followed the death of Father Felix Varela Morales, a highly-regarded figure in American Catholicism and Cuban history. Born in Cuba, Varela lived in St. Augustine from the ages of six to fourteen before returning to Cuba, where he was ordained into priesthood and became a teacher of philosophy, law, and science. He also served as a delegate in the Spanish Cortez until his exile in 1823, when he fled to New York. Varela was as much a political figure as a religious one; it was his outspoken advocacy for the abolition of slavery, equal rights for women, and Cuban independence from Spain, that led to his exile. Illness brought Varela back to St. Augustine in 1850. In his final years, he lived and served within the parish church of St. Augustine, which as a child he would have witnessed the construction of. During this time, he is said to have frequented Tolomato “where his aunt, Rita Morales, and mentor Father [Michael] O’Reilly were buried.” During a stroll through the cemetery, he directed a friend to the grave of Rita Morales, whom he called his second mother (and was in fact his godmother) and confided that he wished to be buried alongside her in a modest grave without a coffin. He died in St. Augustine in February 1853 and was buried, as he wished, in Tolomato Cemetery alongside his aunt. His grave was marked by two wooden crosses and a circle of bushes. Less than a week after his burial, a representative of Varela’s Cuban admirers in New York came to St. Augustine with funds to provide him with a more comfortable life in his final years (also to implore him to return to Cuba). When this gentleman learned of Varela’s death, he hatched a plan to construct a memorial chapel in his memory. The chapel was meant to ease the eventual repatriation of Varela’s remains to Cuba, after which it could remain a “house of prayer, a place of pilgrimage, an eternal monument [to Varela’s teachings] for the Catholics of St. Augustine.” The cornerstone was laid in a ceremony, in which Varela was eulogized in English and Spanish; transcripts of each and “an account of the ceremonies” were sealed in a box and placed within the cornerstone. His body was moved to a tomb in the chapel floor in April 1853. The single-room chapel was constructed predominantly out of coquina masonry, and plastered to match the other masonry of Tolomato. Varela was entombed beneath the chapel floor and the tomb was sealed beneath a marble ledger and crowned by a second tablet. A reproduction of the altar from the Cathedral of Havana where he was ordained was built and sent from Cuba, and placed in the rear of the chapel (this is a reconstruction of that altar). The floor was originally bare concrete – this floor was added in the 1970s. In 1876, the cemetery received the body of Jean-Pierre Augustin Marcellin Verot, first bishop of the Diocese of St. Augustine. A highly-revered and widely-mourned religious leader (perhaps the most significant to the residents of St. Augustine), Bishop Verot deserved a prominent memorial in Tolomato, which by then lacked the space for an appropriate tribute. Around 1874, another Catholic cemetery (Nombre de Dios) was established north of St. Augustine, presumably to catch the overflow of the densely populated Tolomato. In the absence of a fitting burial space, the Bishop’s remains were interred in Varela’s tomb, within the floor of his mortuary chapel. Varela’s remains were placed in a pillow case and moved to a corner of the tomb. The two shared the grave for nearly 40 years. 11
    • Throughout the 19th century, public health concerns over burial grounds within city limits became increasingly frequent. The fear of miasma (a harmful gaseous layer in the atmosphere that was believed to aid the transmission of disease) resulted in the prohibition of burial grounds within city limits in communities across the country. Fears of disease and unsanitary conditions in the two historic cemeteries in St. Augustine manifested near the end of the 19th century. Both Tolomato and Huguenot were closed by city ordinance in 1884. Any interment within either cemetery would result in a fine of up to fifty dollars and the possibility of up to twenty days imprisonment. There were two burials in Tolomato after 1884 (in 1886 and 1892; both faced fines of twenty-five dollars). 12
    • In 1885, most of the land surrounding Tolomato remained marshy and unsuitable for development. By 1889, Henry Flagler owned most of this land. Flagler was responsible for filling Maria Sanchez Creek; for installing a street grid through this area (lower right); and for renaming Tolomato Street, Cordova Street. Within a few decades, this area was transformed into the residential district it is today. As St. Augustine changed, faster than ever before, Tolomato Cemetery receded within the shade of an overgrown canopy. 13
    • Between 1902 and 1917, an “artificial stone” wall was erected around the eastern half of the cemetery. There was a modest picket fence in place, which appears to have remained behind the new wall for another ten or twenty years after it was built. This fence was replaced with a chain-link fence prior to 1950. This photo (left) shows the gate in 1902 – a pair of paneled doors (a stark contrast to the iron-gate at Huguenot). In 1917, a city plan was produced that recommended the widening of Cordova Street in front of Tolomato; this required the removal of a portion of the cemetery that obstructed the street (top right). This doesn’t appear to have taken place until sometime after 1953. When it did, the wall east and north of the cemetery was demolished and subsequently rebuilt. The southern span of the wall today appears to be from the original. Unfortunately, there are no known records regarding the details of this undertaking or the movement of any of the graves as a result. 14
    • In 1911, Father Varela’s remains were returned to Cuba and enshrined on the University of Havana campus. After he was removed, the chapel underwent a series of alterations as a tribute to Bishop Verot. Most notable were the addition of a bronze memorial plaque in the wall beside the door and the replacement of the wood shingle roof with Spanish tile. The coquina masonry, which appears to have been originally whitewashed, was also stuccoed – all before 1945. Since Varela’s repatriation, many wondered whether the right body was exhumed. In the 1950s, the University of Havana conducted a study of his remains to answer this question. A member of the research team even came to St. Augustine to study the chapel, but wasn’t given access to the bishop’s remains. Nevertheless, they were convinced that they had right remains. The Catholics of St. Augustine were less convinced; they conducted their own investigation of Bishop Verot in 1975 with the same conclusion. 15
    • In the late 1960s, the local diocese took an interest in the renovation of the cemetery. With the centennial of his death coming up in 1976, there was a movement to provide Bishop Verot with an appropriate tomb; this led to a discussion that in many ways would decide the fate of St. Augustine’s oldest-remaining burial ground. Many wanted to move Verot’s remains to the more illustrious bishop’s chapel in San Lorenzo Cemetery; others wanted him to remain, where he was. Those that wanted him to stay feared the bishop’s removal would lead to a total loss of interest in the care of Tolomato, which had been left to deteriorate for most of the 20th century. They decided to keep Verot in Tolomato and to renovate the chapel and grounds in his memory. During this renovation, Varela’s ledger was mounted to the chapel wall and a new ledger for Verot was placed over the tomb; the chapel floor was also tiled, as you saw earlier. Though no records detailing the work have been found, it’s clear that many of the remaining markers were repaired at this time. 16
    • Around 1987-88, another effort was made to renovate Tolomato. The goals were to provide Bishop Verot with a new grave in a place of prominence; to restore the Varela chapel as a memorial to its first resident; and to refurbish the cemetery to honor and promote the significance of the site and its Minorcan heritage to the history of St. Augustine. A permanent path was installed down the center of the cemetery. There had always been a central path in this location, but it was overgrown during the 20th century. This pathway was lined with a coquina coping and Verot’s new tomb was placed at its center. Both his ledger and bronze plaque were moved from the chapel to this new tomb (top left). Varela’s ledger was returned to the chapel floor and his second tablet placed in the chapel wall, where Verot’s plaque had been. The mahogany altar, which was collapsing by the 1970s, was reconstructed incorporating elements of the original (the central seal and ornamental pedestals on each side). 17
    • Tolomato cemetery had always been a curiosity for visitors to the old city. This was just as true in the 19th century as it is today. But an active effort to interpret the cemetery began around the 1970s; in later years the gate was occasionally unlocked to allow volunteers to offer tours. This came to an end by the close of the 1990s. Sometime after 1994, the chapel was painted with waterproof paint, in order to “preserve” the structure. Around 2000, a member of the Sons of the Confederacy was permitted to replace a number of Confederate markers in Tolomato that were lost. The markers were supposed to be scattered across the grounds (to look more realistic), but they were placed in a row along the front of the cemetery, as if in a national or military cemetery. Apparently, one of these markers was for a veteran that was lost at sea (and never interred in Tolomato). A final restoration effort began in 2002 with a cemetery clean-up day that drew an estimated 120 Cubans from Miami. Their main goals were to erect a “more historically appropriate” fence and to repair any damaged markers. But the effort dissipated before the funds could be raised. Two years later, the cemetery passed from the diocese to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. Since then, restoration and renovation efforts have fallen silent. The cemetery sits quietly once again, watching the city pass beyond its gates. Today, Tolomato is cared for by parish employees, who cut the grass and clear weeds. Perhaps twice a year the gates are opened to the public, but there is no interpretation beyond the embellished stories of passing tour guides and a thirty year-old landmark sign. 18
    • Tolomato Cemetery began as a simple Catholic “church graveyard”. Over time the site was shaped to meet the needs of the community. When it was no longer in use, after 1884, the destructive proliferation of vegetation throughout the landscape and the loss of countless markers was a reflection of this evolving relationship. Starting in the 1970s, the cemetery underwent a series of renovations to give it a more sanitary appearance, considered to be more respectful in this modern era of memorial park cemeteries. Tolomato hasn’t made a smooth transition into the status of an historic landscape. Despite its caretaker’s good intentions, it continues to be maintained as any contemporary, modern cemetery (rather than the sensitive historic landscape it is). Renovation projects have been carried out on the basis of exclusive goals, independent of what has been done in the past and without a cohesive vision for the future. Both our understanding of the site and the site itself has suffered as a result. Now that I have discussed how Tolomato developed, I would like to discuss several of what I feel are among the more important preservation issues with this site. 19
    • This vault was one of the most unique markers in Tolomato. It also represents a recurrent obstacle in my research. How many times have I mentioned there are no records for an alteration, so far? This vault was changed dramatically without any record as to why or when it occurred. As you can see here, the vault was already in poor shape by the 1930s. It appears to have been a ruin by 1976. Presumably during the renovations in the 1970s… 20
    • …this vault was erected in its footprint. 21
    • This is the box tomb of Father Michael O’Reilly (sometime around the 1880s or 1890s). This earlier photo (top left) shows the tomb with a sloped roof. In the photo below it there is a new marble ledger over the same box. I am not sure what happened here; perhaps the sloped roof collapsed or money was raised to provide a more prestigious memorial. There is no record of the alteration. Documenting change is an important part of any responsible preservation program. Without documentation, it can be difficult to distinguish original constructions from repairs. 22
    • In many ways, Tolomato is a showcase of conservation issues. Deteriorated mortar in the joints of several masonry vaults is little more than powder now (lower left). Eventually the weight of the brick becomes too much for the weakened mortar to bear, and the vaults themselves begin to collapse; the barrel over this vault (top left) has begun to separate from the rest of the structure and will eventually collapse. In the past, people have tried to repair mortar joints with harder cements. The mortar joints in this barrel vault (top right) have been repaired with cement that is too hard; this has caused the bricks to spall (or crumble). As bricks dislodge from barrel roofs and fall, they leave gaping holes in the shell. To patch this one (lower right), someone has poured concrete over the barrel, which has irritated the area even more – further degrading the materials around it (like pouring concrete into a hole in a tree). 23
    • This double-barrel vault (on left) is another of Tolomato’s unique marker forms. It has undergone extensive repairs. Much of the brick along the front has been replaced with modern brick. The left barrel has been partially reconstructed using wire mesh and concrete. Numerous tablets have been reassembled using inappropriate materials, like adhesives and cements. This tablet (top right) was re-set using three separate agents, including caulk, a fine mortar, and a coarse cement (all within this one joint). These materials will continue to erode the soft marble and like the repairs to this vault, their removal would only result in further damage to the marker. This tablet (lower right) is just a more extreme example of this. 24
    • Box tombs represent the oldest and longest memorial tradition of the remaining markers in the cemetery. Many boxes are buckling beneath the weight of their ledgers. This box (on left) is collapsing; as you can see the west wall has been replaced; it remains intact as it separates from the historic materials. This box (on right) suffers from extensive mortar deterioration, high moisture levels, and biodeterioration (which is decay caused by living organisms, such as lichens, mold, moss, and plant growth). At the center of the box, where the mortar loss is greatest, the marble ledger is bowing downward. 25
    • Over the past century, the Varela Chapel has undergone extensive alterations. The character of the chapel has changed dramatically. The application of waterproof paint in recent years poses a serious threat to the structural integrity of the coquina masonry within. 26
    • The chapel exhibits symptoms of moisture damage. Stone is porous; it absorbs water from the air and the ground and releases it naturally. Sealing the walls beneath an impermeable layer traps moisture inside; over time this will lead to the destabilization of the stone itself (accelerating the breakdown it was meant to prevent). You can see along the base of the chapel wall that groundwater has caused the exposed stone to crumble. The west facade was never painted; it is stained with what appears to be rust (probably from the wire lath that was installed when the stucco was last replaced). The paint will need to be removed (preferably in the near future), through the gentlest means possible. As long as it remains, moisture will be absorbed from the ground and into the walls with nowhere to go. I highly recommend lime washing as an alternative to painting. It is water permeable and resistant to biodeterioration. An added benefit of lime wash is that it requires replacement every few years, which provides an opportunity to take a closer look at the masonry (this makes it easier to spot problems before they arise). As you can see, ill-advised repairs have complicated matters. Though each repair was well-intended, many modern materials are simply incompatible with historic materials. In the future, an historic materials conservationist should always be involved in work like this, to ensure that it’s done appropriately. In historic landscapes like Tolomato, there’s more to consider than only the built environment… 27
    • When walking the grounds of an historic cemetery, it is easy sometimes to overlook the natural heritage around us. But walking the grounds of Tolomato, one encounters a wide array of trees that simply cannot be overlooked. The great live oaks of Tolomato have already become landmarks in their own right. But their success is tainted by the loss of two other equally impressive oaks from this landscape (lower right). The vegetation of Tolomato is a significant contributor to the site’s character. When considering the preservation and interpretation of this site, vegetation is a pivotal layer to include in planning. Natural heritage is a resource that is every bit as significant to the human experience as cultural heritage. But without proper care and careful planning, vegetation can become a threat to the landscape. This has been (and continues to be) a significant problem in Tolomato. 28
    • Over the years, countless historic features have been damaged or lost to unchecked vegetation. This tablet (top right) and one of Tolomato’s unique iron fenceposts (bottom right) have been enveloped by trees. The tablet has been fractured. As the tree grows around the fencepost, it will eventually collapse this area entire fence. Many trees have grown against the east wall; here (left) an oak has absorbed the chainlink fence and collapsed part of the wall’s original southern span. 29
    • When St. Augustine was hit by a hurricane in 2004, high winds tore a large branch from the live oak near the entrance; crushing a nearby vault. Any risk of storm debris from these trees would pale in comparison to what would happen if either was uprooted. It is often said that the size of the canopy reflects the extent of the root system – imagine the damage that this oak (at left) could cause, with a canopy in excess of 95 feet across in an area of the site that is little more than 160 feet wide; it could easily uproot a massive portion of this densely-populated cemetery that dates to a time, when graves were only a few feet deep. As long as the canopy and root systems are properly maintained by qualified individuals, such an event would be unlikely even in the strongest of storms. 30
    • Tolomato Cemetery faces a problem common to many (if not most) historic burial grounds – a disconnection from our society, particularly the communities around them. Usually, a few generations after the last burial a cemetery “goes cold”; as family support is no longer present. Though there seems to be a firm interest in the general well-being of this site, the channels to foster and utilize that interest are currently absent. Tolomato is sealed from the public and interpreted only by an outdated landmark sign and the various tour companies that pass its gates, sharing narrow glimpses of the rich heritage within. In the absence of any meaningful interpretative activities, people have no reason to see Tolomato as anything more than another forgotten old graveyard (which is probably why so many do not hesitate to discard their trash over the fence). In addition to a preservation program, there needs to be some form of interpretation – not only to educate the public, but also to provide an opportunity for others to find their own interests in Tolomato. Often, people’s interest in historic sites are neither tangible nor even historical – it is the product of some entirely personal experience that curators and interpreters may not fully understand. 31
    • To illustrate this, I would like to share something I wrote about Tolomato, during one of many long days in the cemetery last summer: Walking the grounds of this cemetery is a fully-immersive heritage experience, almost a symphony for the senses. The air is cool, always carried on the gentlest breezes. The leaves rustle softly, like waves on a distant beach. This place is unencumbered by the world beyond its gates. Any sounds or distractions of the city outside are shed within a few steps into the site. Spanish moss slowly sways from the limbs of magnificent oaks, like ghosts waving a silent hello to those that pass, but do not see. But there are no ghosts here, only memories of so many loved, so many lost, and so many long forgotten. This is a place of rest… made sacred by those that were left behind, long since gone themselves. There is such feeling in this place, as if the tears of mourners have stained the ground and the air. Some would paint this place as the setting for a nightmare, when in reality, we should all be so lucky when our time comes, to know the sort of peace that exists here. This experience is what endears me to Tolomato Cemetery; it is why I will continue to return. And this… 32
    • …is the typical experience for most other visitors to the site. 33
    • Most of what visitors know about Tolomato, comes from stories or legends (and this sign). Today, it is best known for stories of supernatural activity. Accounts of a woman-in-white; a dark, cloaked figure; an angry Indian threatening people from the fence; and a child playing in a tree, draw countless visitors to the gate every day, to stare, photograph, and videotape the vacant grounds in hopes of capturing a glimpse of the supernatural. For many, Tolomato Cemetery is known only as the “most haunted place in St. Augustine.” This folklore has become a contributing aspect to the site’s significance, but it does little to further public understanding of the site itself. In fact, in many cases, it’s counterproductive (depending on the person telling the story). But ghost stories are not the problem. There is a general lack of understanding of Tolomato’s significance because there are no other interpretations available to them. Actually, I am looking forward to sharing what I have learned about Tolomato with local tour companies. They are the first (and in many cases, the only) line of interpretation for many visitors. 34
    • (CONCLUSION) Tolomato’s history demonstrates the need for a preservation program to guide maintenance and interpretive activities. The lack of one in the past has resulted in the extensive loss of historical integrity and continues to threaten what remains. The more we “cut” into the fabric of an historic site with inappropriate repairs or alterations, the more we compromise its integrity in the process, until eventually it is effectively lost and a new site is created that is merely a quilt of historic fragments interwoven with dense patches of modern intervention. As preservationists, our goal is to ensure that such a tragedy never befalls this cemetery. Successful preservation also requires the sustained interest of the community. Over time, closing-off the cemetery will result in a loss of meaning and significance for the public; people will not understand why it is important if we do not show them and tell them. While the desire to protect the cemetery is understandable, barbed-wires and locks are impediments to sort of the long-term protection they’re meant to provide; they are short-term responses to long-term problems. Education is the best and most enduring protection at our disposal. Though interpretive activities alone (i.e. guided tours, booklets, signs, etc.) would make a difference, the incorporation of community members in the actual management and care of the cemetery would make a far greater and more lasting impact on its future. Places like Tolomato Cemetery exist to be venerated, admired, and explored; to do more than turn our heads as we pass by; more than anything else, they exist to inspire reflection – to teach us silent lessons about ourselves and about life. For me, that is why we preserve these places – to continue the sentiment and the sense of remembrance that formed them. Tolomato’s history and its character enrich St. Augustine; with a little effort and cooperation, we can ensure that it continues to do so for generations to come. Thank you. 35