St. Johns County to Relocate Historic Canright House to Collier-Blocker-Puryear Park in West Augustine

The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted unanimously to relocate the historic beach cottage known as the “Canright House” from 5480 Atlantic View to Collier-Blocker-Puryear Park (10 N. Holmes Blvd., St. Augustine) during its regular Feb. 20 meeting. The motion was made by District 3 Commissioner Roy Alaimo.

The house is where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was scheduled to stay as part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in May 1964 until it was vandalized by segregationists. King was famously photographed outside the home later, pointing to a bullet hole in one of the windows. The house became a symbol of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The St. Johns County Parks Foundation has secured state funds to relocate the historic house, donated by the current property owner. After consideration of multiple locations—including Collier-Blocker-Puryear Park, Crescent Beach Park (6930 A1A South), and the originally planned location of Windswept Acres Park (5385 A1A South)—the BOCC chose Collier-Blocker-Puryear Park as the ideal new location for the Canright House. Due to the longer distance, the estimated cost difference for relocation to the new site is $250,000. The additional funds could possibly come from Tourist Development Council reserve funds or General Funds reserves.

Robert Nimmons, chair of the West Augustine CRA Steering Committee, spoke during public comment in favor of the BOCC’s decision to relocate the house to the West Augustine area.

“Our entire community is embracing the fact that we’re opening up our arms to welcome this house over in our community,” Nimmons said. “It’s a rich part of history. We will do whatever we can do to get it over there… I just want to say ‘thank you’ to the commissioners for considering bringing that house home, because that’s where it needs to go.”

The St. Johns County Parks Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to utilize charitable purposes to acquire, develop, maintain, improve, expand, erect, support, preserve, restore, fund, encourage and sustain parks and recreational facilities within St. Johns County, for benefit of the general public.