Tolomato Cemetery is located in St Augustine, Florida, the oldest European-founded city in the United States, and was in use as a cemetery from the 18th century until 1884. This beautiful space is the last resting place of some 1,000 St. Augustinians, including many people important to the history of Florida and the United States. It is a distillation of St Augustine history in less than one acre, starting with the First Spanish Period, when Tolomato was a Franciscan mission, and going through its use as a cemetery during the British Period and the Second Spanish Period and then on through Florida’s Territorial and early Statehood periods.
It is an evocative place about which there are many legends and tales, but which also reveals the real stories of the real people. It reminds us of the connections of this tiny place, on what was once a strategic point but is now a vacation coast, with people throughout the world. Burials include those of people from Spain, Cuba, Ireland, Minorca, Italy, Greece, Africa, Haiti, France and the American South and Northeast – as well as the graves of soldiers from both sides of the Civil War, and even the burial place of a man important in the history of Cuba, who may one day be declared a saint, Fr. Felix Varela. There is no place in St Augustine that is a richer distillation of our history, which is the story of lives lived in rural poverty or in town comfort, soldiers and militia and battles fought or not fought, political and personal conflicts, faith and – even holiness – all on this tiny peninsula.
The cemetery is open to the public once a month. Visit it, learn about it and feel yourself surrounded by the past of this historic city.