Like a restored masterpiece, the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center continues to do what it has done since the day it opened: Welcome visitors to St. Augustine.
It was the Junior Chamber of Commerce that first proposed the idea of a Civic Center that would serve "as an incentive not only to attract but hold the influx of tourists to this city on their annual trek from lands of snow to the sunshine state."
That dream was realized on February 14, 1935 when more than 1,000 people gathered at the new facility for the start of a three-day festival celebrating its opening.
Constructed with native coquina stone in just eleven months under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration at a cost of nearly $100,000, the Civic Center featured a main hall with a seating capacity of 500, a 36' stage with green velvet curtains and lounge rooms furnished with bridge tables and leather padded chairs. Outside there were shuffle board, tennis and croquet courts, and areas for baseball and football provided for the entertainment of the city's visitors.
The Civic Center's designer was Frederick A. Henderich, who arrived in St. Augustine at the beginning of the 20th century as an architect for the Florida East Coast Railway. After entering private practice, he designed many St. Augustine structures
including the city's iconic Plaza de la Constitucion's Gazebo.
The facility underwent extensive renovations in the fall of 2012 and now in addition to welcoming visitors to St. Augustine also host a variety of historic and cultural exhibits.