Housing the Pan American Center: The Marin-Hassett House
In order to attract the highest number of tourists possible to expose them to this Pan American dream, a location had to be decided.
The Marin-Hassett house was a central location and conveniently located to the Hispanic Gardens, providing a scenic and most importantly Spanish landscape to show St. Augustine’s rich past. Looking at this beautiful scenery transports us back to a rich past of plazas and leisure time under the warm Florida sun.
Built during a great period of reconstruction in the Oldest City, the Marin-Hassett house, although it looks like a surviving example of colonial architecture actually was not even constructed until the 1960s. Purchase of the site and rebuilding of the structure was made possible due to generous donations made by American corporations doing business in Latin America.
When giving her tours, our trusted tour guide told us that;
"The house itself is a reconstruction of what we think the original house on this site looked like, and is about 10 years old. What you see under the glass is the original English fireplace, and is 200 years old. That was the floor level of the first house. It was Spanish built sometime in the middle third of the 18th Century, and had English owners after 1763. The English added fireplaces with chimneys to replace the [illegible] the Spanish used for heat, and also put in glass windows in place of the Spanish wooden shutters. So what you see here is a basic Spanish house with English improvements. The back third of this house represents an English addition that we know of from actual records. Outside stairs were typically Spanish if the family was well enough off to have a second story to need a stair! You know, most houses here in St. Augustine in those days were simple “2 room on 1 floor” structures."