Heart and Soul of Florida
Sacred Sites and Historic Architecture

Elsbeth Gordon

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"Emphasizes the importance of many Spanish Colonial sites and puts them in context with American History."--Donald A. Crichlow, architect

Red-ochre burial mounds, mysterious artifacts in ponds, giant circles carved in limestone, Spanish mission chapels, frontier houses of worship, gothic cathedrals, courthouses, post offices: eight thousand years of Floridians’ lives can be experienced through the state’s human-made environment.

A sweeping saga of Florida’s built landscape from 6000 B.C. to the present, Heart and Soul of Florida begins with pre-Columbian archaeological sites. Architectural historian Elsbeth Gordon re-creates the original atmosphere of many such ancient places. These burial and worship arrangements serve as printed watermarks of Native American traditions, grounding Florida’s identity as time passes.

Spanish Colonial architecture provides Florida with a second important layer of cultural history. This book is filled with accounts of remarkable architectural activity from this period: it tells the story of the Spanish mission of Nombre de Dios (1580–1793) and compares the Spanish Royal Ordinances of 1573 with the town plan of St. Augustine today. Photographs, drawings, and maps make these tales even more absorbing and tangible.

Ending with Florida’s exciting pioneering and dynamic entrepreneurial era, Florida’s newest era, Gordon provides a much-needed broad synthesis of Florida’s rich architectural heritage. She expands the definition of "sacred space" by including preserved historic civic buildings, like the State Capitol, to fully examine the multitude of places that nurture the spirits of Florida’s people.

Gordon inspires the general and professional public to see Florida’s built environment as a rich continuum of history and identity that shaped and continues to impact Florida’s culture--from the mundane to the transcendent. These humanizing places, many of which endure permanently in the landscape, represent an "architecture of the soul."

Elsbeth "Buff" Gordon is research associate at the Historic St. Augustine Research Institute and currently serves on the board of directors for the St. Augustine Archaeological Association. She is the author of Florida’s Colonial Architectural Heritage.

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"A substantial and well-researched tome."
--The Lakeland Ledger

"Looks at Florida's rich architectural heritage and how it shapes and continues to impact the state's culture."

"With descriptions ranging from 8,000 year-old mortuary ponds to mid-twentieth century skyscrapers, Buff has pieced together a cogent narrative of Florida’s built environment...this book will open the eyes of anyone wanting to learn more about Florida’s history."
--St. Augustine Archeological Association Newsletter

“Beautifully illustrated with an abundance of plans, photographs and reconstructions of the sites and architecture of Florida from 6000 BC to the present.”


"This volume is a labor of love and a work of art."
--American Studies Vol. 53, No. 1

“The text is far more inclusive than any other single source, and the photos and illustrations enhance the reader’s pleasure.”
--H-Net Reviews

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