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Posted on: February 11, 2021

City names 2021 de Avilés Award recipient

Bowman in costume

Brian Bowman, historic reenactor, recognized


On Monday, February 22, the St. Augustine City Commission will honor Brian Bowman with one of the city's highest awards, the de Avilés Award.  Bowman currently serves as the Facilities Assistant Manager and is a thatcher of American Indian and European buildings of the 1565 landing moment at Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, 

The presentation will be held at 4:00pm in The Alcazar Room, City Hall, 75 King Street., just prior the City Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting which begins at 5:00pm, and may be seen live on GTV/Comcast Channel 3 and at www.CityStAugTV.com where it is also available for on-demand viewing the following day.

Bowman, who has been a craftsman and a presenter of living history since the late 1970’s, currently serves as President of the Historic Florida Militia (HFM), St. Augustine’s preeminent historic reenactors organization.  As Quartermaster of HFM, he has been responsible for transporting the important materials, goods, equipment, and accessories to the historic reenactment events.  

Representing historical characters from the Juan Ponce de Leon landing in Florida, throughout St. Augustine history to the Victorian era, Bowman’s re-enactment of the Spanish civilian and military lifestyles and culture of citizens that once lived in St. Augustine serves especially to keep our Spanish heritage alive and well.

His lifetime of leadership and dedication to the city through the reenactment community is unparalleled.  As evidenced by his efforts, offering knowledge, materials from his own inventory of personal goods and artifacts, and encouraging all who are interested, from beginners to established reenactors.  

Vice Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline offered in her written nomination of Bowman for the de Avilés Award, “Mr. Bowman’s personal dedication for over 35 years of service to the preservation and restoration efforts of St. Augustine’s living history, stands out as one of the most continuously visible efforts in our community.”  Sikes-Kline’s nomination also recognized his “long-standing service… bringing awareness to the fact that historic preservation is more than saving historic structures and sites.  Historic preservation is also about preserving cultures in tangible ways through living history.”

Having nurtured and supported many volunteer organizations over his lifetime, Bowman’s service stands as a testament to the value of volunteerism making him highly worthy of the type of recognition this award bestows.

Considered in the industry to be a preservation craftsman, he has worked on many historic buildings, including structures at the Florida Agricultural Museum, that have benefited from his knowledge of history and how to restore, preserve and reconstruct articles and buildings to present and educate the observer.

Fellow re-enactor and 2016 recipient of the de Avilés Award, Mrs. Patti Rang, recognized Mr. Bowman’s contributions, saying “It was through Brian Bowman’s effort and personal labor that the St. Augustine living history reenactment activities are alive and flourishing.”  Rang added, “He has made it possible for many of us to be better living history presenters because of his principles and actions.  He has had hordes of followers throughout the years and the admiration of those who have traveled the same path as he.”

From 1985 – 1987, he served on the city’s Historic Architectural Review Board.  Bowman completed coursework in preservation from the University of Florida and graduated from Flagler College in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in History.  He currently resides in St. Augustine.



de Avilés Award


The de Avilés Award was initiated by the commission in 1988 and, since 2002, its presentation has been limited to one per year. Since its inception the award has been presented 34 times to recipients who have been “...identified in the field of public service or those well-known and respected by the citizenry who have dedicated and honorable service to the community of St. Augustine and St. Johns County.”

A nomination for the de Avilés Award originates with a member of the city commission that is presented to the city manager who then puts it before the entire commission for confirmation. Mr. Bowman was nominated by Vice Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline.

Questions and media inquiries may be directed to Melissa Wissel, Communications Director, at 904.825.1053 or via email at mwissel@citystaug.com

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