The Ximenez-Fatio House is a historic home located at 20 Aviles St. in St. Augustine, Florida. Built in 1798 by Spanish merchant Andres Ximenez, this house has stood the test of time and still retains its original charm and character.
Today, the Ximenez-Fatio House has been transformed into a museum, showcasing the history and heritage of St. Augustine and its early settlers. It is proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places and recognized as a Florida Heritage Site.
The house is owned by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Florida (NSCDA-FL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving historical sites and promoting education about American Colonial history. Since 1939, the Ximenez-Fatio House has been under the ownership of the NSCDA-FL, making it a must-see destination for anyone interested in American history and culture.
The Ximenez-Fatio House, a veritable treasure trove of historical anecdotes, seems frozen in time since its inception in 1798. Built by the prosperous Spanish merchant Andres Ximenez, the house boasts two levels, tabby floors, and a separate coquina kitchen — a testament to the architectural brilliance of its era.
Initially serving as a mercantile shop on the ground floor, the upper floor housed the living quarters of the Ximenez family. After Andres Ximenez’s passing, the house found new ownership with the Fatio family in 1855. Under their stewardship, this charming abode underwent a remarkable transformation into a fashionable boardinghouse, ultimately becoming one of the most sought-after lodgings in St. Augustine. Operated mostly by women, it played the roles of a general store, tavern, billiard room, and boardinghouse, contributing to its standing as one of St. Augustine’s best-preserved Spanish Colonial dwellings.
In 1939, recognizing its historical significance, the NSCDA-FL purchased the property. They officially registered it as a historic place, ensuring its preservation for future generations. Today, the NSCDA-FL continues to maintain the Ximenez-Fatio House, safeguarding the rich history of its inhabitants and their profound impact on St. Augustine’s captivating story.
The Ximenez-Fatio House has been graced by many illustrious personalities throughout its existence. Among them, Margaret Cook, Sarah Petty Anderson, and Louisa Fatio stand out for their significant contributions to the house’s history.
Margaret Cook, a savvy businesswoman, began managing the boardinghouse in 1830. Through her entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with a keen sense of hospitality, she elevated the boardinghouse’s reputation, attracting affluent visitors from afar who sought the comfort and conveniences it offered.
Sarah Petty Anderson, another significant resident, took over the boardinghouse operations after Cook’s departure. Anderson, known for her meticulous management style, maintained the high standards established by Cook. She continued to attract a distinguished clientele, further cementing the house’s reputation as a premier lodging destination in St. Augustine.
Louisa Fatio bought the house from Sarah Petty Anderson in 1855, marking the beginning of a new era. Under Fatio’s stewardship, the property underwent significant transformations, evolving from a simple boardinghouse into a renowned inn. Fatio’s exceptional hospitality and the inn’s unique charm earned it a place in the hearts of the many who were fortunate enough to experience it.
Each of these women left an indelible mark on the Ximenez-Fatio House, contributing to its rich legacy. Their stories, interwoven with the history of the house, offer fascinating insights into the lives of those who once called this historical place their home. Moreover, the Ximenez-Fatio House has its share of ghost stories. Since its construction in 1798, this fine three-story coquina home has been a sanctuary for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of overnight guests seeking refuge from war, sickness, and hurricanes, and to start new adventures in the paradise of Florida. For 223 years, this home has been owned and operated by generations of enterprising women and continues to still be owned and operated by women today. These stories add an extra layer of intrigue to the already captivating history of the Ximenez-Fatio House.
The St. Augustine Book Festival, hosted at the historic Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, is an event that effortlessly ties together a love for literature and a deep appreciation for history. Spanning over three dates in September, the festival draws a large crowd of locals and visitors, ensuring an engaging day filled with immersive book-themed activities.
One of the key features of the festival is the chance for attendees to meet and interact with celebrated authors, giving a unique opportunity to delve into the minds of these creative geniuses. The authors present their works and discuss their writing processes, inviting readers into their literary worlds. Moreover, they grace the attendees with book signings, giving them a personalized souvenir to bring home.
Aside from the literary attractions, the festival also offers historic house tours of the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum. This allows attendees to explore the remarkable 225+-year-old house and appreciate its significant role in the history of St. Augustine. The tours are an opportunity to walk through the past and absorb the grandeur that the Ximenez-Fatio House has preserved over the centuries.
“Beyond the Pages: C.F. Woolson in St. Augustine” immerses visitors in a meticulously crafted tour that coincides with the St. Augustine Book Festival. This one-of-a-kind experience delves deep into the life and legacy of Constance Fenimore Woolson, a renowned 19th-century American author who defied the conventions of her era by providing a distinctly female viewpoint to a landscape dominated by male writers. The tour focuses on Woolson’s poignant short story, “The Ancient City,” written during her residency at the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum, formerly a boardinghouse. This event seamlessly intertwines literary exploration with historical discovery, not only celebrating Woolson’s impactful literary contributions but also revitalizing the captivating history of St. Augustine embedded within the walls of the Ximenez-Fatio House.
The “Everyday Life Tour” at the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum is a journey through over two centuries of St. Augustine’s history. Commencing from the year 1798, the tour provides an in-depth overview of the house’s multifaceted past, starting from its establishment during the Second Spanish Period by Andres Ximenez. As visitors traverse through the rooms of this historic edifice, they gain a vivid understanding of the daily lifestyle and culture of the residents during this pivotal era. The tour fosters a connection between the past and present, bringing to life the narratives that are deeply embedded within the walls of the Ximenez-Fatio House. Through this immersive experience, attendees not only appreciate the architectural grandeur of the house but also the intricacies of everyday life during this significant period in St. Augustine’s history.
The Ximenez-Fatio House, a historic house located in St. Augustine, Florida, is renowned not only for its significance in history and architecture but also for its intriguing paranormal activity. This 18th-century house, built in 1798, has witnessed an array of inhabitants, from Spanish merchants and stationed soldiers to entrepreneurial single women, all leaving a part of their essence imprinted within its walls. This becomes palpable through the strange encounters reported by visitors, adding a thrilling layer to the museum’s rich historical tapestry.
One notable room within the house is the “Frail Lady Room,” akin to a fainting room that offered privacy to those feeling unwell or short of breath. It is here that at least one death has been recorded, which possibly marks the origin of some spectral activity. Visitors often recount instances of indefinable shadows or movements, suggesting the presence of the unknown.
Among the many spectral inhabitants, the spirit of a little girl named Miss Madison is frequently mentioned. She is known for her playful demeanor, running up and down the stairs and moving items within the museum. Her favorite pastime appears to be playing with a dollhouse located on the third floor, an activity that many guests have reportedly witnessed.
A unique feature of the paranormal experiences at the Ximenez-Fatio House is a mirror, an original artifact of the residence. Many guests have claimed to glimpse ghostly shades within its reflection, adding to the thrilling aura that the house exudes. These encounters with the unseen, coupled with the house’s significant historical background, make a visit to the Ximenez-Fatio House a truly unique multi-dimensional experience.
The Ximenez-Fatio House also offers an intriguing Paranormal Tour for those interested in exploring the supernatural side of history. This tour delivers a unique opportunity to experience the captivating tales of unexplained phenomena reported by visitors and staff over the years. However, for those seeking a more extensive paranormal experience, the Old Jail After Dark Tour in St. Augustine offers a comprehensive exploration of the city’s haunted history. It’s important to note that, while both tours offer a glimpse into the supernatural, they each provide distinct experiences, contributing to the diverse array of attractions in St. Augustine.
No, the Ximenez-Fatio House is not the oldest house in Florida. The oldest known dwelling in Florida is the Gonzalez-Alvarez House, often referred to as “The Oldest House,” located in St. Augustine. The Ximenez-Fatio House, while a significant historical site and a well-preserved example of a 19th-century Florida boardinghouse, does not hold the title of the oldest house in the state.
The Ximenez-Fatio House is currently owned and maintained by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Florida. This organization is dedicated to the preservation of historic sites and the promotion of public education on colonial history. They have owned the Ximenez-Fatio House since 1939 and have worked meticulously to ensure its restoration and upkeep, preserving it as a valuable piece of Florida’s history.
Every year, the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum celebrates the Halloween season with a unique event known as the “Candlelight Tours.” In a truly atmospheric experience, visitors navigate the house’s historic rooms by candlelight, guided by staff dressed in period costumes. The event aims to offer a glimpse into 19th-century Florida’s folklore and superstitions, with a special Halloween twist. From eerie tales to historically accurate portrayals of life, the Candlelight Tours at the Ximenez-Fatio House provide an enlightening and entertaining experience for all ages.