History Comes Alive at the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum
The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum lies just south of St. Augustine's Plaza de la Constitución on Aviles Street — the oldest platted street in America. With its diverse collection of artifacts, this house museum immerses guests in 1800s St. Augustine.
The Ximenez-Fatio House is open for tours on Monday through Saturday. The grounds and the store are open from 10:00 to 5:00 p.m. and docent-guided tours are available at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. Self-guided tours may start between 10:00 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. The museum launched new, updated audio tours, available on a guest's cell phone. The new audio tours present the home's 225 year history, with different voices representing those who lived and worked in the home and boarding house. Now, the audio tours offer a true glimpse into the lives of those who stayed in the Ximenez-Fatio House, and places their experiences in an historical context.
Built in 1798 during St. Augustine’s Second Spanish Period, this coquina stone house has witnessed more than 225 years of Florida history. Don Andres Ximenez (a merchant from Spain) was its first owner, having built it for his family. Alongside his wife — a Minorcan woman named Juana Pellicer — Ximenez operated a general store and a billiards hall on the ground floor and lived on the second floor.
After Florida became a territory of the United States, the house was owned by a series of women who turned the house into a boarding house hotel. Three of these female managers were widowed while the most prominent, Louisa Fatio, was single her whole life. These enterprising individuals defied odds and adversity — from yellow fever epidemics to Seminole and Civil Wars — by operating successful and popular businesses.
In 1939, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Florida (NSCDA-FL) purchased the derelict house. Founded in 1899 as the Florida chapter of a national organization, 'the Dames' are committed to a mission of patriotic service and historic preservation. In the decades that followed, they began restoring and furnishing the house. They hired the best preservationists (including White House historian William Seale, Fulbright scholar Albert Manucy; and today, expert craftsman Christopher Koth) to ensure it was as historically accurate as possible to the Boarding House Period (1830s - 1880s). The NSCDA-FL named their newly opened museum "The Ximenez-Fatio House" — Ximenez for the man who built the house and Fatio for Louisa Fatio, the house's last historic owner.
Almost two centuries after being bought by its first female manager, the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum is now a National Historic Landmark — one that is still owned and operated by women. Generations of people — locals and visitors to St. Augustine alike — have enjoyed exploring the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum.
Each room in this house museum is carefully curated to bring the past to life — from Florida's first years as a tourist destination to the realities of urban slavery in the South. As research and archaeological excavations continue, the museum's programs and exhibits are always evolving.
The Ximenez-Fatio House Museum hosts specialty tours throughout the year — from Black History programs to Halloween events. Please contact them via their website or phone for more information.
With its central location on historic Aviles Street, the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum also makes a lovely wedding venue. Wedding guests will enjoy the convenience of being near all the great restaurants and attractions without compromising privacy or a beautiful setting. Visit their wedding venue profile here.