5 Hidden Sculptures in Plain Sight

You might stumble across them on your way somewhere else. Others you may have to seek off the beaten path. But all of these sculptures and artworks are hidden gems with an interesting story to tell.

August 24, 2020

1. “The Spanish Trail Marker” at the Visitor Information Center

It’s hard to miss this one. A coquina ball, 6 feet in diameter, stands near the entrance to the Visitor Information Center in St. Augustine. The Spanish Trail Marker is officially known as the Zero Milestone Marker and was created in 1924 in an effort to promote travel and tourism via automobile. Although there really is no Old Spanish Trail leading to San Diego, the trail harkens back to a time when driving across the country was considered more of a novelty.

2. The Anna Hyatt Huntington “Queen Isabella on Horseback” in the Hispanic Garden (Hypolita and St. George Streets)

You’ll very likely be strolling along this intersection at some point during your visit. The bronze statue in the small garden was cast in 1961 by sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, who gave the statue to St. Augustine, Florida, in commemoration of the city's quadricentennial celebration in 1965. You can view the statue from outside the gates. The Smithsonian Art Inventory Description of the statue reads: "Queen Isabella rides sidesaddle on a horse, or perhaps a mule. She wears a short-sleeved, ankle-length dress. The animal is in the process of descending from a mound of rocks. The sculpture is placed in a planted setting."

3. Dr. Robert Hayling “Let Freedom Ring” Chimes Project

This one is worth the walk or drive. The “Let Freedom Ring Chime Project” is an interactive, multi-media art initiative located in Freedom Park located at the confluence of the San Sebastian and Matanzas Rivers. Recently named Dr. Robert B. Hayling Freedom Park, this vast 10+ acre natural green space honors St. Augustine’s nationally acclaimed Civil Rights Movement hero and offers extraordinary opportunities to reflectively and experientially discover new ways to engage with one’s self, others, and the 455-year-old African-American story in our nation’s oldest continuously occupied European city.

4. Enzo Torcoletti Sculpture Garden at the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra

You may be in the Ponte Vedra area for some golfing or shopping. Add some culture to the list. A well-known and revered sculptor, Enzo Torcoletti, shares his thoughts on the exhibit of his works: “The sculptures I have decided to display in this exhibit are a hybrid combination of works. Some are very new and never shown before, while other pieces are from a few years past. Because in some of the pieces I use traditional sculptural approaches while in others I utilize unorthodox methods, it might even seem that the works are unrelated. However, the overall intent of my selection was not accidental, besides wanting to demonstrate the fact that I delight in exploring a variety of media and techniques, I also felt that this selection would provide more variety than a tightly edited group of closely related pieces.”

5. “Car Bumper Stallion” at Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum

Believe it or not, this mustang is made entirely from vintage 1950s and 1960s chrome car bumpers. The sculpture was created by metallurgist Sean Guerrero to celebrate the Denver Broncos’ 1987 Super Bowl appearance. Tipping the scales at well over a ton and measuring nearly 20 feet long, this recycled bumper bronco remains one of the largest pieces in the Ripley collection.

Other sculptures and artworks in public spaces that may be of interest include the Pedro Menendez tile wall on Aviles Street, the St. Augustine Beach Sculpture Garden on A1A, the replica statue of David at the Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum entrance, and the Ponce de Leon marker at the GTM North Beach access on A1A.