Built to provide bread for troops quartered in the St. Francis Barracks, this unassuming building is likely the last remaining part of British St. Augustine.
British control of Florida lasted only 20 years, from 1763 to 1783. During that time, there was little new development in the territory. The British took possession of Pensacola and St. Augustine, the only significant settlements in Florida, and the populace of the two towns went from Spanish to British.
In St. Augustine, the British Army took over the Castillo de San Marcos and chose to house their troops on the opposite end of the town in what was a Franciscan Friary.
It didn’t require a great deal of work to convert the friary into barracks, though the British did expand the property with new buildings. One of the new structures was a bakery located on the waterfront across from the barracks. Known as the King’s Bakery, the builders wisely constructed it using native coquina stone which was quarried on Anastasia Island. That stone can still be seen uncovered on the southern end of the building. The quarry can still be visited as well.
From 1783 to 1821 the Spanish took back possession of Florida and continued using the British barracks for their own military. In 1821, the US became the third country to claim and administer all of Florida. Like the British and Spanish, it quartered its military in the St. Francis Barracks.
The King’s Bakery would come to have varied uses. It has been used for storage, offices, a garage and a military hospital. The US eventually deeded the property containing both the King’s Bakery and the St. Francis Barracks to the state of Florida in 1922. Since then, the facility has been used as the headquarters of the Florida National Guard.
These historic buildings lie next to the St. Augustine National Cemetery and around the corner from the Oldest House Museum. They are certainly worth a visit, even though they’re not open to the public as tourist attractions.
Below are photos from a 2016 visit to the King’s Bakery.