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UPDATE: Step Back in Time

Watch a short video history of the Waterworks Building, and then join us on Saturday, May 26 for an open house of the property. From 10:00am-12:00pm we will open the Waterworks Building to the public, offering a glimpse of what is yet to come.

Because the Waterworks building, located at 184 San Marco Ave., has no entry for vehicles from San Marco Ave., use the entrances to the St. Johns County Main Library parking lots on San Carlos Ave. or Ponce de Leon Blvd. 

May 10, 2018

First time since 2005 the public may visit the historic building’s interior

IMG_0853After being closed for more than a decade, the Waterworks building in Davenport Park on San Marco Ave., will be open to the public, for one morning when the city hosts an open house of the historic structure as part of its celebration of National Historic Preservation Month.

The open house will be on Saturday, May 26 from 10:00am until noon at 184 San Marco Ave., and will allow the public its first opportunity to see the interior of the building since it was closed in 2005. Parking is available on site and at the adjacent St. Johns County Library’s Main Branch.

Water Works Building, Circa 1915The Waterworks building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1898 as the pumping station for the city’s first water utility and remained in service until a new water plant opened in 1927 on West King St. The site was then developed into Davenport Park and the building continued in use as a little theatre, then home for the St. Augustine Arts Club, and later as the St. Augustine Garden Club.

Int2In 2005 the building was deemed unsafe when inspections reveled that mortar had been reduced to powder in some places threatening the stability of the brick walls that were carrying the load of a heavy truss system. The city began a diligent pursuit of historic preservation funding that would enable the restoration of the building.

During the open house, visitors will be able to see that the exterior walls are now secure, windows and doors have been restored and the non-historic addition on the west side of the building has been removed. Historic finishes and materials are now visible on the inside although the interior restoration has yet to be completed. Work completed thus far was funded through a state grant that covered a careful architectural and engineering plans that led construction work over the last three years.  Another phase of grant work is proposed that will be considered later this year by the Florida Historical Commission.

City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline will offer welcoming remarks and city staff will be on hand to talk about the history, the rehabilitation, and the archaeological investigation of the site.

The city is proud to host this open house as part of its celebration of National Historic Preservation month, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Events across the country are planned to promote historic places for the purpose of instilling national and community pride, promoting heritage tourism, and showing the social and economic benefits of historic preservation. View the event flyer.

Historic Preservation Month is a time to celebrate places that are important to a community and to individuals, and so the National Trust encourages participation in This Place Matters, a national campaign that encourages people spread the word about Preservation Month and use the hashtag #ThisPlaceMatters when posting photographs of those special places. For more information on the campaign, visit

For more information about the Waterworks building’s open house, contact the city’s Planning & Building Department at 904.825.1065.