Author of Lincolnville book reflects on changes

By Mallory Hopkins |

Rosamond Parrish in her studio

Rosamond Parrish is the author of the only current book on Lincolnville, an area of St. Augustine that was the heart of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. The book is titled, “Lincolnville, A Sketchbook Journal”. The first edition of Parrish’s book has sold out and the second edition is coming out in January.

“I just felt like it was such a unique story and such a unique neighborhood and it really should be told and people, once they knew more about it they’d just be fascinated by it,” said Parrish.

“I’m an artist, I’m not a historian, I’m not an architect,” she said. The inspiration for the book came from local historian David Nolan, who used to give tours of Lincolnville. “—I had my sketchbook with me one day and I showed him some of my sketches and paintings and he said I should put it into a book,” said Parrish.

A map of Lincolnville painted by Parrish


David Nolan has been key to recording the history of Lincolnville, outside of fact-checking Parrish’s book, “—his name is associated with Lincolnville and everything they have here they refer to David Nolan’s history of it. He’s the one that put all the history together and has really made sense of it all. And brought the interest to Lincolnville.”


Nolan started giving tours of Lincolnville in the 70s because “I was tired of St. Augustine pushing all white history,” said Nolan. “—We had a city manager who said, ‘The only thing that you can do in Lincolnville is line up six bulldozers side by side and turn it into a parking lot.’ So I wanted to show people that there was something more.”

Nolan helped Parrish with the book and thinks Lincolnville’s history has not been recorded enough. “I’m so glad she did it when she did because more and more of it’s getting lost all the time and you know the last two hurricanes haven’t helped any either,” said Nolan.

With the second edition coming out, Parrish reflects on what has changed. “Since I first started working on it, there are new businesses, there’s a lot more gentrification, there’s a lot more building in Lincolnville, probably prices have changed and gone up. Lots of people have moved out and lots of people have moved in from other places, that have changed the character of the neighborhood.” Parrish sketches new buildings in the second edition, trying to capture the changing character of the area.

“Lincolnville changed so much in the decades I was here, it was the heart of the black community in St. Augustine. And now it’s an overwhelmingly white community,” said David Nolan about the transition of the neighborhood. “I think they certainly should not forget at least that it was a historic black community and that it was the heart of St. Augustine’s greatest contribution to American democracy which was the civil rights act of 1964,” said Nolan. He said Lincolnville used to be 95 percent black and is now 78-80 percent white, “—it would be a mistake to see it as a triumph,” said Nolan.


In the second edition of the book, Rosamond Parrish prefaces it with some comments about gentrification. “I can’t ignore the fact that Lincolnville is changing dramatically,” she wrote, “not only in homes being built but in ethnic population, commercial development (more to come!) and the overall look of the neighborhood.”

Parrish has lived in Lincolnville for 12 years and enjoys it, “It’s not a gated community. It’s everything a gated community is not—not too many grand mansions here and I like that and there’s a real mixture of people,” said Parrish.

Her second edition will illustrate some of the changes that the community has seen, “While we can’t hold on to the past, we must honor it by recording the stories of longtime Lincolnville residents and working to save our important meaningful places,” wrote Parrish.

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