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1600 - 1900: Spanish Colonial House Style

Oldest European Homes in the American Colonies


Settlers in the Spanish territories of North America built simple, low homes made using rocks, adobe brick, coquina, or stucco.
The González-Alvarez House in St. Augustine

The González-Alvarez House in St. Augustine is the oldest surviving Spanish Colonial home in Florida

Photo © Jackie Craven
Settling in Florida, California, and the American Southwest, settlers from Spain and Mexico built homes with many of these features:
  • Located in the American South, Southwest, and California
  • One story
  • Flat roof, or roof with a low pitch
  • Earth, thatch, or clay tile roof covering
  • Thick walls made with rocks, coquina, or adobe brick coated with stucco
  • Several exterior doors
  • Small windows, originally without glass
  • Wooden or wrought iron bars across the windows
  • Interior shutters
Later Spanish Colonial homes had more elaborate features, such as:

During the 20th century, a variety of Spanish house styles borrowed ideas from Spanish Colonial architecture. Spanish Revival, Mission, and Neo-Mediterranean homes often have details inspired by the Colonial past.

The Historic González-Alvarez House in St. Augustine

The González-Alvarez House shown here is located in St. Augustine, Florida. Founded in 1565 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro Menendez de Aviles, St. Augustine is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in the U.S.

The first houses in St. Augustine were made of wood with palm thatching. None of these survived. The González-Alvarez House we see today has been remodeled. When it was built in the early 1700s, the González-Alvarez House probably had one story and a flat roof.

Like many Spanish Colonial buildings in St. Augustine, Florida, the González-Alvarez House is made using coquina, a sedimentary rock composed of shell fragments.

See More Colonial House Styles

Spanish Colonial History:

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