The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine is a historic cathedral constructed over five years (1793–1797), it was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark on April 15, 1970. Originally established in 1565 and re-built in the 18th century, it is the oldest church in Florida.
One possible misconception of the history of the Cathedral of St. Augustine is the well-known bell tower that graces the top of the building. This was not the first time in the U.S. that an exposed bell tower had been placed on a church, or Spanish type of religious structure. In fact, by this point, Spanish missions had already moved far west, and had built cathedrals in Arizona, New Mexico, California, Texas, and Mexico. The bell tower was placed on the Cathedral of St. Augustine because the exposed bell at the front of the cathedral had become a well known symbol of the Spanish mission. Despite the technique being used elsewhere, a certain grandeur was still associated with this specific cathedral. As such, four bells were placed at the Cathedral of St. Augustine; one of which is still thought to be the oldest bell in the United States to this day because it is thought to have been salvaged from a previous church. As for the other bells, one of the more ironic features of the cathedral, one of the bells was taken from a British cathedral, the very empire that had burned this church more than once in the past.
The cathedral's eclectic facade is a combination of Spanish mission and Neoclassical styles. Spanish mission features include curving bell gables, limited fenestration, clay roof tiles, a semicircular tympanum, prominent statuary niche, and comparatively unadorned walls.