Ponce de Leon

Oldest City needs to brush up on historical knowledge

It’s a sunny afternoon during the recent 450th anniversary celebration of the founding of St. Augustine, no clouds in sight and a light breeze is coming off the Intracoastal Waterway. A women clears her throat and the interrogation begins. As she begins to ask questions that are beyond the ordinary realms of human comprehension, heart rates pick up, palms get sweaty and words start tumbling out of mouths.

Local man ‘holds’ Oldest City’s history

By Lauren Belcher | cbelcher@flagler.edu
Photos by Lauren Belcher

Jerry Kass, 96, is a retired Marine and long time Jewish resident of St. Augustine. He first visited the city in 1930, moved there in 1937 and has lived across the street from Flagler College, then Ponce de León Hotel, ever since.

Kass’ house has a large front porch. The mat at the door has a picture of a dustpan and a broom that says Schmootz, and he has a banner nailed into the door frame that says Shalom. Kass spends most of his time sitting on this porch.