Taby Wall along Magnolia Avenue, St Augustine, Florida
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This composite image has several different factors relevant to St Augustine.
The road, Magnolia Avenue, is one of the most photographed in the USA. Only - the magnolias died out many years ago as the majestic oaks took over, and are now adorned with an abundance of the air plant - Spanish Moss - a relative of the pineapple family.
The wall to the right surrounds Ponce de Leon's great 'discovery' - the Fountain of Youth. Drinking of the waters were reported to add longevity . . . but the only truly long-lived resident of St Augustine who dwells close by is "The Senator" - a huge, sprawling, 600-year-old oak tree!
Thae wall itself captured my attention. Short on natural building supplies, and long on oysters, the original streets of St Augustine and many fences were created from oyster shells - and known as 'Taby'. The textured background is from the wall by the Fountain of Youth, thickly encrusted with the shells.
History says that the durability of 'Taby' was considered ideal for roadbeds after the Imperial Spanish were overthrown. The Spanish used the substance properly, but other countries had a slight problem - when they attempted to use the oysters as a road surface - no one considered using the shells alone - or drying the oyster meat. In Florida's intense summer heat it wasn't long before the beautiful city was almost uninhabitable due to the odor from the roads.
Eventually the oyster shell roads were torn up and replaced with bricks - some of which still remain.
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