Constructed in 1691, with portions of the building having been in existence since 1565, the O’Reilly House, officially known as the Father Miguel O’Reilly House Museum, is truly one of St. Augustine’s treasures. Covered in a yellow stucco accented by green wood, this unassuming building is located at 32 Aviles Street in St. Augustine, and at first glance, you might drive right by it, dismissing it as “nothing special,” which would be a big mistake. This jewel is worth visiting again and again, and a trip to our fair city would not be complete without the opportunity to see what is behind the stone walls that surround the ancient garden or the treasures that lie behind the heavy wooden front door.
The entrance to the O’Reilly House is a heavy wooden door that leads you to a garden of beauty; the plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables found here have been growing since the 1800s, which, to a group of people who consider themselves lucky to keep a house plant alive for more than a month, is considered miraculous! Every green thing in this walled enclave is indigenous to the area, which boggles the mind as well. The focal point of this peaceful and holy site, however, is the baptismal font, constructed in 1865, which has christened the heads of generations of St. Augustinians throughout the years.
Surprisingly, the O’Reilly House in St. Augustine has only changed hands seven times in its centuries of existence, a claim that not many buildings today can make. In addition, it has gone through five architectural phases which you can explore yourself at their website, www.oreillyhouse.org, by way of the virtual tour, or by visiting the place while on your St. Augustine vacation! The first phase was the simplest, while the second phase added the most changes. The fifth and final phase began in 2001, and was more of a restoration, returning the building to what might have been its original colors and installing a gate to allow entrance to the gardens and its treasures. During this restoration, the original construction of the home was studied extensively, giving us a new appreciation of construction methods throughout the centuries.
The Ocean Gallery
Living in our nation’s oldest city is a blessing we do not take for granted. Not many Americans can state that they have had the opportunity to explore a building constructed in the 1500s, and we realize just how lucky we are! Book your luxurious Ocean Gallery vacation home today and discover the beauty and wonder that is the O’Reilly House in St. Augustine.
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