About the House
The Father Miguel O'Reilly House is one of the oldest structures in St. Augustine, which makes it one of the oldest structures in the United States. The coquina and tabby portions of the building date to the First Spanish period (1565 - 1763). The Florida Master File puts the date of construction at 1691, and it is believed that during those 313 years, the property has only changed hands seven times (three of which were during the English period from 1763 - 1784). The artwork above is a detail of Father O'Reilly's will pertaining to the O'Reilly House property, which he identified as the "stone houses with their orange groves," which he bequeathed for the benefit of an order of female religious educators according to the plan of Saint Francis de Sales.

Since 1764, when Captain Lorenzo Josef de Leon (grandson of Joachim de Florencia, believed to be the original owner) sold the house to James Henderson, the owners of the house have been well documented. From the time Father O'Reilly purchased the property in 1785, the title to the property is unbroken and a matter of public record. Moreover, following the American Civil War, the physical appearance of the building is graphically documented in plan and elevation through photographs, drawings and maps.

As you step through the garden entrance you can clearly see that the original construction was influenced by the royal order of 1573. For defensive and security reasons, the decree stated that the main elevation of houses and gardens should be placed on the perimeter of streets. While the 1764 Puente map, a portion of which is shown on the home page, is the first documentary evidence showing a structure on the site of the O'Reilly House, archeological, historical and architectural evidence suggests that the house is from the same period as the Castillo de San Marcos.

We invite you to click on any of the elevations to the right to take a closer look at how the house has evolved through five architectural phases since the late 16th century. You can visit other sections of the website by clicking on the directory at the top of each page.

� 2004 Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine, Florida