During the First Spanish period St. Augustine had a city gate called La Leche Gate in 1739. All the gate had was a small wooden opening. The reason for such fortifications around the city was to prevent the burning of the city again. So they made wooden guard houses throughout the city. The city gate was located just a matter of a couple hundred feet from the Old Spanish Quarter and village. Alot of history occurred near these gates as horse drawn carriages would pass in and out of the city.

Later an engineer  built by Captain Manuel De Hito made a recommendation to replace the wood guard houses with something more masonry and stronger. He built this new structure in 1808 which would be called the Land Gate. The opening was 12 feet wide and each tower was around 14 to 20 feet in height. The towers were composed of coquina, trimmed with red player and the roof had a pomegranate cap which symbolized fertility.

The Grand archway is a symbol to the historical city of St. Augustine leading to sites like the Oldest School House or Wood Water Wheel. There is even a tunnel which goes under the road leading to the city gates. Very close to the gates was Fort Marion which served to watch over the city. Sometimes that was not always enough after all at one time St. Augustine was burned down and suffered many attacks over the years gates or none. 

In 1812 there was a Patriot Rebellion led by John Houston McIntosh who was supported by the US government. At the time many small battles took place because the US government wanted Florida to be in there control. The governor Juan de Estrada stopped the rebellion at Fort Mose and at the gates of St. Augustine almost. A new governor later named Kindelan recruited Seminoles and Blacks  to push back the Patriots which seemed to pay off by 1813 when they were pushed all the way to the St. Johns river. Captain John Williams had lost the battle in the fight to overpower the city gates and take over St. Augustine. 

So this is one example of the historical significance to the city gates. This may be in my opinion one of the highlights that one could never forget in St. Augustine as these two towers stand in front of this five hundred year old city. 

Many people say the city gates are haunted such as the when the yellow fever epidemic broke out and a little girl was found dead wearing a white dress.  Nobody claimed her but some say her name was Elizabeth and when you walk near the city gates in the early morning some have seen her dancing  by the gates. This is perhaps the most famous ghost story of all.

©  By


Update From A Fan

The night before Elizabeth died her family didn't wanted to get banned from the city because it was law that all striked by yellow fever them and there family must be banned and there house burned to the ground to prevent the disease from spreading and so Elizabeth's family didn't tell a soul about here at that same day in the middle of the night Elizabeth's father and mother laid her on the ground in front of the city gates to die and the just left her by herself she was left to die. 



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