Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mission San Luis in Tallahassee, Florida

DH and I have been talking about going to see the mission for a long time. It's right there in Tallahassee and easy to get to. We finally picked our day to go.

It was really great! Several people are scattered about on the property in period dress and with knowledge of the history of the mission and the reconstruction. Needless to say, I took quite a few photos, so let's get started.

The first stop after the visitors center is the friary.



There was a very helpful friar there to answer our questions, when he wasn't being pensive.



The friary building included sleeping chambers, a dining area and food service area, and a wine storage room. The food for the friars was prepared in a separate building that was accessed across an outdoor walkway. The cook was in the food preparation area, stirring something on the stove.



She was very helpful and informative. The various herbs used for cooking, as well as corn and ground meal, were kept on a table in the same room.



Next to the friary and kitchen was the actual church. You can see the friary to the right.



The next stop was the council house, a huge structure that was unfortunately closed to the public on this day. There was a gentleman outside it that explained how the original was built, which was an amazing feat given that there were no cranes or other hoisting machines. If you visit this exhibit, be sure to get the story on the original construction as well as how the reconstruction was accomplished.



We followed the path toward the next building. We passed these carpenters working on some sort of structure.



The next building turned out to be the home of a merchant responsible for acquiring goods for the mission. His wife met us in the doorway.



She was a fun and well-informed woman who welcomed us into her home (it's very easy to get into the whole time-warp thing, particularly when there aren't many other visitors so there are more people in period dress than not. And this woman was excellent at staying in character). The walls of the house were made of clay (as were the walls in all the buildings we saw), with only one window. On this warm day it was noticeably cooler inside the house. The clay was mostly white, with spots here and there showing that it was mixed with red clay. The floors of all the buildings were dirt, with straw mats scattered here and there. This is her dining room.



They were fairly wealthy and the size of their house reflected that wealth. They had a separate bedroom.



Her garden, behind the house, was just starting to show some greenery.



We stayed with her for quite a while before moving on to see the fort. On the way to the fort we passed two women trying to round up a turkey, perhaps to cook for dinner for the friars...



The mission and outlying areas were occupied by both Apalachee Indians and Spanish explorers, who lived peaceably together.

This woman was enjoying the warm February sunshine and was weaving a basket.



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Another mission woman joined her.



We reached the fort.



We had two guides at the fort, both of whom met us just inside the gate.



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I believe the fort housed at most 45 soldiers, though I could be wrong. There was a long dining area.



The fort has a second floor accessible by steps, but there is a small building code issue that has to be addressed before they can open the upstairs to the public. The downstairs area included a few sleeping quarters and several storage rooms. The walls were also mottled white. This bench and flags were against the wall in one hallway. The door on the far side of the flags leads to a sleeping quarters.



These spears were stacked and ready for use to the left of the fort's inner doorway.



The fort was our last stop.

I recommend visiting the mission if you get a chance. They are continuing with the reconstruction, with more buildings planned. The buildings they have are all situated on the spots where the corresponding original buildings stood, with a few minor adjustments to accommodate future archeological activities at the sites. It's an interesting place. There is no admission fee, although they do welcome and encourage contributions inside the visitors center.