The cemetery adjacent to St. Francis Barracks in downtown St. Augustine served the military post here from the the first days as an American territory. The earliest burials were soldiers killed in the Florida Indian Wars. In 1881, this cemetery was designated the first National Cemetery in Florida. Although the cemetery size was expanded twice in the early 20th century, it is now closed to new interments. The superintendent’s lodge, shown here on the right side of the photo, was built in 1938.
Each Memorial Day, veterans groups, civic groups and citizens gather to honor those who gave their life in battle and those local veterans who have passed away since the previous Veterans Day. An arched coquina stage located at the northern edge of the cemetery property with an open grassy area between it and the flag pole provides enough space for an impressive massing of colors and seating for local dignitaries. Some seating is available in the walkways, but most participants choose to bring chairs or blankets to sit under the live oak trees around the property.
The St. Augustine National Cemetery is located at 104 Marine Street, St. Augustine, FL 32084. There is no information kiosk or onsite management personnel at this location. Information inquiries should be made to the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell at 352-793-7740 or fax 352-793-9560. The cemetery is open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. You can search for burial locations for veterans and their family members online at the VA National Gravesite Locator.
- Department of Veterans Affairs – St. Augustine National Cemetery page.
- Harvey, Karen. America’s First City: St. Augustine’s Historic Neighborhoods. 1997, Lake Buena Vista: Tailored Tours Publications, Inc.
- Photos taken by the author.