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  • The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
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See the Cloisters of the Ancient Spanish Monastery

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St Bernard de Clairvaux Episcopal Church, better known as one of the oldest buildings in the Western Hemisphere.

Spain sold Florida to the United States in 1819 for 5 million dollars, but it wasn’t until much later that the Cloisters made it to Florida.

William Randolph Hearst took an interest in the Cloisters and decided it would make a nice addition to the United States. In 1925 he bought the cloisters, which were taken apart stone by stone and shipped to the U.S. in 11,000 separate, numbered boxes. Perhaps he wanted to add them to Hearst Castle, his mansion in California. Unfortunately for Mr. Hearst, the cloister stones had been shipped with hay that was possibly contaminated with Hoof-and-Mouth Disease, which had just broken out in Spain. The boxes were quarantined and emptied, the hay was burned, and the stones were returned randomly to the boxes. This was only the beginning of Heart’s problems, however, as his dire financial situation soon forced him to sell most of his belongings. The cloisters remained in boxes in a warehouse in Brooklyn until Hearst’s death in 1952.

The boxes were purchased by Mr. W. Edgemon and Mr. R. Moss for $1.5 million. They had the idea to reconstruct the cloisters as a tourist attraction. After 19 months of puzzling over how the blocks fit together, they succeeded.