Venue History

20 Aviles Street

through the years

The Ximenez-Fatio house has a long and rich history, dating back to 1798 when Florida was still a Spanish territory with St. Augustine as its capital. It was initially built as a Spanish merchant’s home and place of business. In the 1800s, a series of dynamic women took ownership of the building–a rarety at the time–and helped launch Florida’s tourist industry!

Now owned and managed as a museum by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America, the Ximenez-Fatio House is one of St. Augustine’s most historic wedding and event venues!

Home Built by Andrew Ximenez

Home Built by Andrew Ximenez

History of the Ximenez Fatio House | Wedding Venue

In 1798, Spaniard Don Andrew Ximenez built this fine three-story home and warehouse of coquina for his bride, Juana Pellicer Ximenez. For those familiar with St. Augustine’s Menorcan history, Juana’s father was Francisco Pellicer, who led approximately 600 Menorcans to St. Augustine.

The first floor of the building included a grocery store, storage room, tavern, and billiard hall. The family lived on the second floor, and servants and slaves lived on the third floor. The property also included a detached kitchen and warehouses.

1798
Mrs. Cook Converts the Home into a Boarding House

Mrs. Cook Converts the Home into a Boarding House

Historic Home Weddings in St. Augustine Florida

In 1826, two years after Florida became a U.S. territory, the Ximenez-Fatio House was bought by Margaret Cook. Mrs. Cook was an enterprising woman from Charleston, S.C., who outlived two husbands and owned considerable property in St. Augustine. By 1830, Mrs. Cook converted the home into a boarding house. Working alongside her partner, Eliza Whitehurst, the women operated the building as “Mrs. Whitehurst’s Boarding House.” They offered travelers three meals a day and a room with a fireplace.

1826
Single ladies running the home as a boarding house prosper in St. Augustine

Single ladies running the home as a boarding house prosper in St. Augustine

History of the Ximenez Fatio House in St. Augustine

In July of 1838, Sarah Petty Anderson bought the inn after coming north to St. Augustine as a refugee after Seminole Indians destroyed her home. In 1855, Anderson retained Louisa Fatio to manage the boarding house. In 1855, Ms. Fatio continued the impressive line of strong-willed women to own the house. She can be seen peering out the first-floor window in the image above.

Women who had been widowed or never married had rights not granted to married women at the time, including the right to operate their own businesses. Ms. Fatio had been engaged to a British Navy officer who died at sea, but never married. She made a living for herself and kept the boarding house afloat during times of slavery, succession from the Union, re-occupation by Union troops, and Reconstruction.

1838
Home refurbished by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America

Home refurbished by the National Society of Colonial Dames of America

National Society of Colonial Dames in America Photo Ximenez Fatio House

After Louisa Fatio’s death in 1875, the building went through several incarnations, including being used as apartments, a paint store, and a craft store.

In 1939, the National Society of Colonial Dames of American in the State of Florida purchased the property. This group of formidable women all have ancestral links to colonial Americans and are devoted to the preservation of historic buildings. In 1939–with the country still in the grip of the Great Depression–they went to bankers and asked for loans to purchase the home from the descendants of the Fatio family. After securing the loans, they refurbished the home and introduced it for the first time to the public as an example of historic home restoration.

1939
The Ximenez-Fatio House brings history to life as a Museum

The Ximenez-Fatio House brings history to life as a Museum

Ximenez-Fatio House history of the museum and wedding venue

The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum is considered one of St. Augustine, Florida’s best-preserved Spanish colonial dwellings. Each room of the house is meticulously interpreted to bring the past to life. The Ximenez-Fatio House and its grounds provide an idyllic backdrop for intimate weddings and events in the Nation’s Oldest City!

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