Florida Historical Markers Programs - Marker: Leon





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Leon

LEON COUNTY
Location:301 South Monroe St. In front of County Courthouse
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Originally part of Escambia and later Gadsden Counties, Leon was created by the territorial legislature in 1824. Named for Juan Ponce de Leon, discoverer of Florida, it became antebellum Florida's most prosperous and populous county, Cotton thrived in its fertile soil. Tallahassee, the county seat, has been the state capital since 1824. It is the home of Florida State University (1857) and Florida A&M University (1887).
Sponsors: In Cooperation with Leon County Commissioners
LEWIS BANK
Location:South Monroe St. at the Lewis State Bank Bldg.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Founded in 1856 by B.C. Lewis as a private banking business, the oldest bank in Florida has grown with the city and section, in size and services rendered. Since its founding, sons have followed fathers in the profession.
Sponsors: In Cooperation with Lewis State Bank
OLD CITY CEMETERY
Location:Old City Cemetery between Call St. & Park Ave.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: The present boundaries of the Old City Cemetery were established by the Florida Territorial Council in 1829. Many pioneers and their slaves are buried here, although some early Tallahasseans were buried several hundred feet east of this site. The cemetery also contains graves of Confederate and Federal troops (white and Negro), some of the fatalities from the Battle of Natural Bridge, 1865, which marked the end of the ill-fated Northern attempt to seize the capital during the War Between the States.
Sponsors: In Cooperation With Anna Jackson Chapter UDC No. 224, Susan Bradford Eppes Chapter C of CO No. 26
BATTLE OF NATURAL BRIDGE - March 6, 1865
Location:Natural Bridge Historic Site, Natural Bridge
County: Leon
City: South of Tallahassee
Description: Site of decisive repulse of Federal forces by Confederate Militia in joint U.S. Army and Navy Operation to take St. Marks. The Army landing at lighthouse was prevented from getting to rear of St. Marks by Confederate opposition at Newport and Natural Bridge. The Federal Flotilla ran aground during ascent of River: it did not reach St. Marks. Their next objective would have been Tallahassee. Federals (Number = 893*, Killed = 21, Wounded = 89, Missing = 148), Confederate (Number = 595, Killed = 3, Wounded = 23, Missing = 0). COMMANDERS: Brig. Gen. William Miller – Confederates, Commander R.W. Shutelt – U.S. Navy, Brig. Gen. John Newton – U.S. Army. *Of Whom 500 Were Reported To Have Been At Natural Bridge
Sponsors: Florida Department of State
PRINCE AND PRINCESS MURAT
Location:on Call Street, St.John's Episcopal Cemetery.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Prince Achille Murat was the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte and the son of General Jochaim Murat, King of Naples. He settled in Florida in 1825, and as attorney, county judge, and director of Tallahassee's Union Bank, he played an active role in public life. Princess Catherine Willis Murat was the great grandneice of George Washington. Their plantations, "Lipona" and "Econchatti," were centers of social activity. Twin marble obelisks mark their graves in St. John's Episcopal Cemetery. The Murat seal is on the surrounding wall.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials In Cooperation With Florida Society Colonial Dames XVII Century
BELLE VUE - HOME OF THE PRINCESS MURAT
Location:Rankin Avenue on grounds of Tallahassee Museum of History & Natural Science
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Former home of Catherine Daingerfield Willis, great-grandniece of George Washington and widow of Archille Murat, Prince of Naples and nephew of Napoleon. During the Second French Empire she was recognized as a princess and financially assisted by Napoleon III, whose court she visited. She lived in this house from 1854 until shortly before her death, on August 6, 1867. The house, moved to this site in 1967 from its original location on the Jackson Bluff Road, is an excellent example of indigenous Southern architecture.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials in Cooperation with Murat House Association, Inc.
SAINT CLEMENT'S CHAPEL CHURCH OF THE ADVENT
Location:Piedmont Drive
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Built in the town of Lloyd in 1890, this Episcopal chapel was dedicated as St. Clement's Church on June 14, 1895, by Edwin Gardner Weed, 3rd Bishop of Florida. William Betton of Tallahassee designed and built the structure at a cost of $3,500. The furnishings are the original ones, including the pine pews and reed organ. The Bishop's Chair, oldest in Florida, dates from 1838 and is the only one in existence that the first five Bishops of Florida all used. The chapel was moved to this site and rededicated on November 29, 1959, by Edward Hamilton West, 5th Bishop of Florida.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials in Cooperation with the Church of the Advent
THE MISSION OF SAN PEDRO Y SAN PABLO DE PATALE
Location:North CR-158 at the site of the Patale Mission.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Side 1: In 1633, the province of Apalachee in Spanish Florida received its first full-time resident missionaries. The Franciscan Mission of San Pedro y San Pablo de Patale which was located about one hundred yards north of this marker was one of the first missions with a resident priest to be established in the region after that date. Like other Spanish missions in Florida, this outpost of Spanish domination was designed to convert and "civilize" the Indians. It also served as a center for the civil and military authority of Spain on the frontier. Archeological investigations at the site in 1971 revealed the structural remains of the mission church and other buildings and a cemetery for the burial of Christians containing some 64 graves. Side 2: The mission of Patale evidently continued as an important segment of the mission system until its destruction in June, 1704. By that time, the colonial rivalry between Spain and England had become very keen. In 1703-1704, Colonel James Moore of South Carolina led an English expedition to destroy the Spanish Apalachee missions. On June 23, 1704, Patale was attacked and captured by the English who then used the mission as a base of operations. A counterattack by the Spanish and their Indian allies in July resulted in another victory for the English. After this, the Patale mission site seems to have been abandoned. But during the decades of its existence, it played an integral part in the military, political, and religious background of the Tallahassee area.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Fred O. Dickinson, Jr. In Cooperation With Department of State
OLD PISGAH
Location:on CR-151 (Moccasin Gap Road).
County: Leon
City: North of Tallahassee
Description: Side 1: Missionaries sent by the South Carolina Conference of theMethodist Episcopal Church held services for the Centreville community settlers at this site in the early 1820's. John Slade, known as the "Father of Methodism in Florida," organized the "Society" at Pisgah on May 3, 1830, with thirty-four charter members. During the Ante-Bellum period, Pisgah became one of the leading churches in Middle Florida. Charter members Jacob Felkel and his wife Rose Anne deeded seven acres to the church's trustees on December 12, 1858, for $125.00. Under the leadership of presiding elder Simon Peter Richardson and the pastor, Robert Hudson Howren, the present building was erected at that time at a cost of $5,200. Side 2: Pisgah is one of the oldest remaining church structures in Florida. Architecturally significant, it is representative of early church design. Special features include hand-hewn box pews and galleries lighted by clerestory windows. The new sanctuary was dedicated on May 1, 1859, by the Reverend Richardson, who returned in 1863 to serve as pastor. While at Pisgah he was elected Captain of the Centreville "Old Guard" the local home defense unit. Pisgah has served as a cultural center for the community hosting political rallies, temperance meetings, musical programs and lectures as well as religious services. Since 1924, an annual homecoming has been observed on the first Sunday in May with state-wide educational, political, or religious leaders conducting the service.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Old Pisgah United Methodist Church In Cooperation With Department of State
THE TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT
Location:Magnolia Drive in front of the Tall. Democrat Bldg
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Florida's capital has never been without an alert, vigorous press. Tallahassee's first newspaper, the Florida Intelligencer, was founded on February 19, 1825, nine months before the city was incorporated. The Tallahassee Democrat traces its ancestry to March 3, 1905, when John G. Collins founded his Weekly True Democrat. He explained the name showed dedication to "true and tried doctrines of the Old Time Democracyàas distinguished fromàmischievousàfads and fallacies of the day." Collins sold the newspaper to Milton A. Smith in 1908. On April 6, 1915, Smith changed its name to the Daily Democrat. Lloyd C. Griscom became owner in 1929, and Knight Newspapers, Inc., purchased it on March 1, 1965. The structure you see is the newspaper's third plant, opened in May, 1968. Earlier plants were located at 115 S. Adams and 100 E. Call St.
Sponsors: sponsored by the tallahassee democrat in cooperation with department of state
OLD CAPITOL OF FLORIDA
Location:400 S. Monroe St. In front of Old Capitol
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: The first two sessions of the territorial legislature were held at St. Augustine and Pensacola. The hazards of traveling between cities 400 miles apart prompted legislators in 1824 to locate a new capital at Tallahassee, between the two cities. Log buildings that housed the government made way in 1826 for a two-story masonry structure. This was succeeded in 1845 by what is now the core of the present historic capitol. A dome and wings were added in 1902, and further additions made in 1923, 1936 and 1947. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and restored to its 1902 appearance in 1982.
Sponsors: Florida Department of State
THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
Location:West end of Copeland Street, Westcott Building,
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: The Florida State University campus is the oldest continuously used site of higher education in the state of Florida. In 1851, the Florida Legislature authorized the establishment of two state seminaries, on east and one west of the Suwannee River. Eager to attract the western seminary, the city of Tallahassee, under the leadership of Intendent (Mayor) Francis Eppes, offered to donate four city lots on which to locate the school and provide $2,000 a year for its operation. The site chosen for the new institution was the crest of "Gallows Hill," located about a half mile west of the center of town. The West Florida Seminary opened in 1857, the first classes being held in a wood frame building erected by the city. Eppes, the grandson of Thomas Jefferson, served for eight years as president of the seminary's governing board. In 1901, the name of the school was changed to Florida State College and in 1909 it became the Florida State College for Women. The Florida Legislature transformed the college into a fully coeducational institution in 1947, creating The Florida State University.
Sponsors: florida heritage landmarksponsored by the florida state universityand florida department of statesandra b. mortham, secretary of state
THE JOHN GILMORE RILEY HOUSE
Location:419 E. Jefferson St.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: John Gilmore Riley was born in 1857, the son of Sarah and James Riley. He was not formally educated, but was instructed by his Aunt Henrietta. Riley became principal of Lincoln Academy, Tallahassee’s first local high school for African Americans in 1893 and served until retiring in 1926. He was a life-long member of St. James CME Church and Grand High Priest of the Royal Arch Masons of Florida. He owned a significant amount of property in Tallahassee near the Capitol Center. Riley died in 1954, the same year that the Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision was rendered. Records indicate that the site on which the Riley House sits was sold to John Gilmore Riley by Aaron Levy on August 17, 1885 for $125. The two-story wood fame house was built in 1890. It was the home for the Riley family until 1973 when they sold it to the City of Tallahassee. The house was placed on t he National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and was restored with joint funding from the City of Tallahassee and the Department of the Interior. In 1982 the Florida NAACP partnered with the Riley Foundation to purchase the house.
Sponsors: THE JOHN G. RILEY FOUNDATION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
FLORIDA A & M UNIVERSITY
Location:S. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. at Lee Hall
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Founded in 1887 as the State Normal College for Colored Students, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) is the only historically state supported educational facility for African Americans in Florida. It has always been co-educational. In 1890, the second Morrill Act was passed. This enabled the school to become the Black Land Grant College for the State of Florida. In 1891, the college was moved from its original location west of town to its present location, which was once the site of “Highwood,” Territorial Governor W.P. Duval’s slave plantation. It is on one of the highest hills in Tallahassee. The school was known as Florida A & M College from 1909 until 1953, when it attained university status. On May 6, 1996, the historic Florida A and M College campus was listed in the National Register of Historic Places based on the school’s historic significance and the architectural style of its buildings. The designation also recognized the national achievements and contributions of FAMU students, alumni, faculty and staff. In 1997, in national competition, FAMU was named “College of the Year” in Time Magazine’s Princeton Review.
Sponsors: The Black Archives, Research Center and Museum at FAMU and the Florida Department of State
THE UNION BANK OF FLORIDA
Location:On Appalachee Pkwy near Monroe St.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Completed in 1841, the Union Bank is Florida's oldest surviving bank building. The business was chartered in 1833 as a planter's bank from which plantation owners could borrow against their land and slave holdings. The bank operated in a private house called "The Columns" until 1841. With John Gamble as its first and only president, it served as Florida's major territorial bank. The bank failed in 1843 because of crop failures, the Second Seminole War, and unsound banking practices. After remaining unused for nearly 25 years, the building reopened in 1868 as the National Freedman's Saving and Trust Company, serving emancipated slaves and refugees. Starting in 1874, the building functioned in a variety of ways -- as a church, shoe factory, beauty shop, and dance studio. Originally located near the southwest corner of Adams Street and Park Avenue, the structure was moved to this site in 1971. The Union Bank building was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1984.
Sponsors: The Union Bank Restoration Committee and the Museum of Florida History
KNOTT HOUSE
Location:301 E. Park Ave.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Evidence points to George Proctor, a free black man, as the probable builder of this structure in 1843.The house was a wedding gift for Catherine Gamble, the bride of attorney Thomas Hagner. In 1865 the house was used as a temporary Union Headquarters by Brigadier General McCook. On May 20, 1865, McCook read the Emancipation Proclamation from the front steps of the house, declaring freedom for all slaves in the Florida Panhandle. After the Civil War a locally prominent physician, George Betton, bought the house, bringing with him a young buggy driver named William Gunn, a former slave. When Gunn expressed an interest in learning medicine, Betton funded his study at medical school and helped him establish a practice in Tallahassee. Gunn became Florida’s first black physician. In 1928 the Knott family acquired the house, had the front columns added and lived here until 1985. William Knott served the State of Florida for over 40 years as its first State Tax Auditor, as Comptroller, and Treasurer. His wife Luella Knott was an artist, musician, and poet. She named hr home “ The House That Rhymes,” and filled it with Victorian era furnishings. Almost every piece is adorned with a poem narrating history and moral lessons, written with charm and wit. Luella was also a political activist. The sale of alcohol was banned in the state’s capital for over fifty years, in part because of Mrs. Knott’s involvement with the temperance movement.
Sponsors: THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
JOHN W. MARTIN HOUSE
Location:1001 DeSoto Drive
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: John Martin was born in Plainfield, Marion County, Florida on June 21, 1884. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1914. He joined the Democratic Party and toured the state making speeches in support of President Woodrow Wilson before and during World War I. From 1917 until 1923 Martin served three terms as Mayor of Jacksonville. In 1924 he ran and was elected Florida’s 24th Governor, serving from January 1925 until January 1929, during the height and collapse of the Florida Real Estate Boom. Martin was the first candidate to solicit the women’s vote. At the bottom of his political advertisements was the phrase “The Ladies are Especially Invited.” During his administration he proposed a change in the state constutitujion to allow the state to provide direct assistance to public elementary schools. This was ratified by the voters in 1926. Wildlife conservation programs were also begun in the state, with the restocking of quail and deer and the establishment of fish hatcheries. Martin’s house, called Apalachee,” was constructed in the early 1930’s on his 27 acres. It is of the Georgian Revival style. In 1941, Martin sold the property to local developers who incorporated all but approximately six acres into a new subdivision called Governor’s Park. Martin moved back to Jacksonville where he lived until his death in January 1958.
Sponsors: THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DE SOTO WINTER ENCAMPMENT SITE 1539-1540
Location:De Soto State Park, De Soto Drive
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: In 1539, a Spanish expeditionary force led by Hernando De Soto landed in the Tampa Bay area. Nearly 600 heavily armed adventurers traveled more than 4000 miles from Florida to Mexico intending to explore and control the Southeast of North America. The route of de Soto has always been uncertain, including the location of the village of Anhaica, the first winter encampment. The place was thought to be in the vicinity of present day Tallahassee, but no physical evidence had ever been found. Calvin Jones’ chance discovery of 16th century Spanish artifacts in 1987 settled the argument. Jones, a state archaeologist, led a team of amateurs and professionals in an excavation which recovered more than 40,000 artifacts. The evidence includes links of chain mail armor, copper coins, the iron tip of a crossbow bolt, Spanish olive jar shards, and glass trade beads. The team also found the jaw bone of a pig. Pigs were not native to the New World and historical documents confirm that the expedition brought swine. These finds provided the physical evidence the 1539-40 winter encampment, the first confirmed de Soto site in North America. From this location, the de Soto expedition traveled northward and westward making the first European contact with many native societies. Within two centuries, most of the southeastern native cultures were greatly diminished by the affects of European contact and settlement.
Sponsors: THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
FLORIDA A & M UNIVERSITY
Location:FAMU way and Railroad Ave.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Founded in 1887 as the State Normal College for Colored Students, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) is the only historically state supported educational facility for African Americans in Florida. It has always been co-educational. In 1890, the second Morrill Act was passed. This enabled the school to become the Black Land Grant College for the State of Florida. In 1891, the college was moved from its original location west of town to its present location, which was once the site of “Highwood,” Territorial Governor W.P. Duval’s slave plantation. It is on one of the highest hills in Tallahassee. The school was known as Florida A & M College from 1909 until 1953, when it attained university status. On May 6, 1996, the historic Florida A and M College campus was listed in the National Register of Historic Places based on the school’s historic significance and the architectural style of its buildings. The designation also recognized the national achievements and contributions of FAMU students, alumni, faculty and staff. In 1997, in national competition, FAMU was named “College of the Year” in Time Magazine’s Princeton Review.
Sponsors: The Black Archives, Research Center and Museum at FAMU and the Florida Department of State
FLORIDA A & M UNIVERISTY
Location:Intersection of W. Palmer and S. Adams St.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Founded in 1887 as the State Normal College for Colored Students, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) is the only historically state supported educational facility for African Americans in Florida. It has always been co-educational. In 1890, the second Morrill Act was passed. This enabled the school to become the Black Land Grant College for the State of Florida. In 1891, the college was moved from its original location west of town to its present location, which was once the site of “Highwood,” Territorial Governor W.P. Duval’s slave plantation. It is on one of the highest hills in Tallahassee. The school was known as Florida A & M College from 1909 until 1953, when it attained university status. On May 6, 1996, the historic Florida A and M College campus was listed in the National Register of Historic Places based on the school’s historic significance and the architectural style of its buildings. The designation also recognized the national achievements and contributions of FAMU students, alumni, faculty and staff. In 1997, in national competition, FAMU was named “College of the Year” in Time Magazine’s Princeton Review.
Sponsors: The Black Archives, Research Center and Museum at FAMU and the Florida Department of State
MAJOR GENERAL DAVID LANG
Location:Old City Cemetery
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: David Lang was born on May 9, 1838 in Camden County, Georgia. After graduating from the Georgia Military Academy in 1857, he moved to Florida and worked as a surveyor for Suwannee County. At the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted as a private and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the 8th Florida Infantry. He commanded the Florida Brigade (2nd, 5th, and 8th regiments) at the battle of Gettysburg, PA, (July 1-3, 1863), including Pickett's Charge, where the brigade suffered 43% casualties. Lang surrendered at Appomattox with the brigade. After the war he married Mary Campbell, with whom he had four children. He worked as a civil engineer before being appointed Adjutant General of the State Militia (1885-1894). When Florida got a new constitution in 1885, Lang asked the legislature for changes in militia law, including increased funding for training camps, provided U.S. Army pay scales for militiamen on active duty and established tougher controls over militia units. He established the Florida State Troops as the official State military force and organized the first statewide summer encampment. After serving as the private secretary for Governors Mitchell and Bloxham, Lang died on December 13, 1917.
Sponsors: Florida National Guard, the Department of Military Affairs, and the Florida Department of State.
PLANTATION CEMETERY AT BETTON HILLS
Location:Betton Rd. between Trescott Dr. and W Randolph Cir.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: The site is all that remains of a much larger cemetery for African Americans dating from the pre-Civil War era through the 1940s. It was the main burial ground for black slaves and servants from the Betton Plantation as well as other surrounding plantations. The plantation system grew in North Florida as cotton plantations to the north depleted their soil from overuse. Prominent early plantations in this region included Goodwood, Waverly, and Live Oak. Turbett Betton was a prominent Tallahassee merchant who purchased roughly 1,200 acres from the Lafayette estate, lying between Thomasville and Centerville Roads. Shortly after Betton’s death in 1863, the land was purchased by Guy Winthrop. The emancipation of the slaves ruined the cotton industry and many planters turned their land into quail hunting plantations. In 1945, the Winthrop family began subdividing the property for a new housing community called Betton Hills. Henry Watson, buried at the back of the lot with his wife, was one of Winthrop’s servants. However, most of the burials were marked with a simple wooden cross or flowers, and so no longer remain. Evidence of a burial site is marked by elongated depressions in the earth covered with altered vegetation.
Sponsors: Betton Hills Neighborhood Association and the Florida Department of State
DALE MABRY FIELD
Location:Tallahassee, Appleyard Drive
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: In October 1940, hundreds of laborers began clearing swampland for temporary quarters for Dale Mabry Army Air Base, named in honor of a young Tallahassee dirigible pilot who died in 1922 after serving in World War I. In 1941, America entered World War II. The need for a place to train pilots prompted the federal government to set a 90-day completion deadline. Eventually, the base became a nearly self-sufficient city, with several runways, barracks, officers’ quarters, mess hall, hangers, a hospital, a church and a bowling alley. Some sections of the base’s asphalt runway are still visible, as are several concrete tie-down pads. Over 8,000 pilots from Europe, China and the United States trained here in P-39s, P-40s, P-47s and P-51s. This marker is at the edge of the NW/SE runway near the point where planes took off or landed. Over a dozen pilots died in accidents while learning how to fire at targets such as a giant, plywood “bull’s eye” at Alligator Point to the south. During 1943, 79,000 family members came to Tallahassee, then a town of 16,000, to visit pilots-in-training. The base was deactivated in 1945 and served as a commercial airport until 1961, when Tallahassee Regional Airport opened.
Sponsors: TALLAHASSEE COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
MISSION SAN LUIS
Location:2020 Mission Road
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Mission San Luis, established by Spanish members of the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans), served the Apalachee Indians located in present day Leon and Jefferson Counties. Its name may have been a tribute to Luis Horruytiner, the governor who began the mission effort. San Luis was established shortly after 1633 at Xinayca near the present State Capitol and the Hernando de Soto winter campsite of 1539-40. The mission was moved in 1656 to Talimali, an important Apalachee town. For three generations, Mission San Luis was the religious and military administrative center for the Apalachee region. In addition to 1500 Apalachees, the Mission was home to the Deputy Governor, soldiers, friars and Spanish settlers. On July 31,1704, two days before Colonel James Moore and a column of Carolina militiamen and Creek warriors reached Talimali, the mission, town and fort were evacuated and burned to keep the enemy from using them. Colonel Moore destroyed many mission villages and enslaved thousands, forever ending Apalachee’s Fransiscan missions. Apalachee descendants now live in Louisiana and remain Roman Catholic. The State of Florida purchased the Mission San Luis site in 1983 to protect it for future generations.
Sponsors: THE COLONIAL DAMES
VILLAGE OF MICCOSUKEE
Location:Veterans Memorial Pkwy between Cromartie Rd. and Murray Ln.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: In 1778 the British mapped this once thriving community, originally called Mikasuki, with sixty houses, a square, 28 families and 70 gunmen. The village was first settled by Native Americans of Creek descent who were often in armed conflict with white settlers. In 1818 Andrew Jackson and his men invaded, defeating the forces of village leader Kinhagee. Most of the Native Americans fled, but the area’s fertile soil drew settlers and the area was soon resettled. A U.S. Post Office was built in 1831, as were churches, schools, and general stores. The town became a prime location for some of the area’s largest cotton plantations. After the Civil War, agriculture remained the mainstay, and by 1887 a railroad served the community. In the 1890s, wealthy northern industrialists began purchasing large tracts of land to use as winter quail hunting estates, taking thousands of acres of land out of agricultural production. Yet the community continued to thrive until the boll weevil insect infestation of 1916 and the Great Depression (1929-1935) destroyed Leon County’s agricultural base. The rail line ceased operations by the mid-1940s, leaving the Miccosukee community of today rich in turn-of-the-century charm.
Sponsors: LEON COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OLD FORT BRADEN SCHOOL
Location:1500 Blountstown Hwy.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Fort Braden was established in 1839 as a military outpost during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). At the end of the war the fort was abandoned, but the small farming community that had developed nearby continued. A school in the Fort Braden area was first mentioned in an 1847 Tallahassee Floridian article reporting tax collections at the Fort Braden schoolhouse. Early education in rural Leon County was provided at small, one-room schools. The education these schools offered was inferior to that of urban areas. Yet over the next 80 years, many of these schools were built in Fort Braden and around the county. Consolidation of the schools was proposed at the turn of the 20th century, but did not start until the 1920s when motorized school buses and improved roadways made it possible to transport students to a centralized location. In 1926, the four-classroom Fort Braden School was constructed, featuring an inset entrance and double doors with molded accents. The school served as an education facility and community center for the next 66 years until 1993 when the new Fort Braden School replaced it. Today, the Old Fort Braden School continues to serve the citizens of Fort Braden as a community center.
Sponsors: LEON COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
JACKSONVILLE, PENSACOLA AND MOBILE RAILROAD
Location:918 Railroad Ave.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: The Jacksonville, Pensacola and Mobile Railroad Company Freight Depot, built in 1858, is one of the oldest railroad buildings in Florida and the oldest still used as a passenger rail station. The one-story depot was built when Tallahassee was the center of Florida’s cotton trade. By 1885 the two-story addition was added. Middle Florida (now North Florida), with its rich agriculture lands, grew rapidly in the 19th century. By 1890, Leon County was the top producer of livestock, sweet potatoes, corn and cotton in the state. With cotton in great demand, Tallahassee was the region’s commercial hub, shipping 16,686 bales of ginned cotton in 1860. Wagons brought the cotton from local plantations to be processed. It then went by rail to the coast for shipping. A new rail line between Pensacola and Jacksonville provided access to ports and made transporting both freight and passengers easier. In 1905 a passenger station was built across from the original one. It was used continuously until 1971 when, for the first time in 113 years, passenger service ended. Tallahassee was a freight only stop until 1992 when passenger services resumed, with the old freight depot used as the passenger station.
CHAIRES HISTORIC DISTRICT
Location:Intersection of N/S Co. Rd. 154 Y E/W Co. Rd. 54
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: The community of Chaires was established in the 1820s during Florida’s Territorial Period (1821-1845). The community is named after Green Hill Chaires, who, along with his two brothers, Benjamin and Thomas Peter, came from Georgia and established vast plantations in Eastern Leon County. Chaires’ plantation eventually grew to 20,000 acres with a home on Lake Lafayette. It was later destroyed and his wife, two of his children and several of his slaves were massacred in 1839 during the Second Seminole Indian War (1835-1842). He then built a house called Evergreen and his brother, Thomas Peter, built a house called Woodlawn. In 1851, Green Chaires built the state’s first plank road, which connected upland plantations to the Gulf Coast shipping communities of Newport and St. Marks. The establishment of Railroad Station #1 in 1857 and the Chaires Post Office in 1858 contributed to the sense of community. By the turn of the century, Chaires was the commercial hub for the area, with a cotton gin and packinghouse, public schools, stores and churches. Today, Chaires retains much of its turn-of-the-century character. In December 2000, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sponsors: THE LEON COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERSS AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
GOVERNOR W.D. BLOXHAM HOUSE
Location:410 North Calhoun Street
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Side 1: This Federal-style building was constructed in 1844 by Richard A. Shine, a prominent builder and mason who constructed the south wing of Florida’s Capitol in 1845. In 1881, Mary C. Bloxham, Governor Bloxham’s wife, acquired the property. Governor Bloxham, the owner of a plantation west of Tallahassee, used the house as a town residence during his two terms as governor, 1881-1885 and 1897-1901. The house was used by Governor Edward A. Perry, 1885-1889. In 1911, when Governor Bloxham died, Gertrude M. Bloxham, his second wife, became its owner and in 1913 sold it. A number of ownerships and uses followed, including as a rooming house and hotel. In 1977, the Florida Heritage Foundation purchased the property and developed plans for restoration of the house, but was unable to raise sufficient funds. In 1979, one of its members, Frances Cushing Ervin, purchased the property and restored the house to its original architectural style and elegance. Side 2: Governor Bloxham’s career of public service was extensive and included representing Leon County in the Florida House of Representatives, serving as Florida’s Secretary of State and Comptroller and as United States Surveyor-General for Florida. He was a popular war veteran, having organized an infantry company in Leon County in 1862 and served as its commander throughout the Civil War. Governor Bloxham, Florida’s first native-born governor, is remembered for founding the Florida Normal and Agricultural College for Colored Students, now Florida A & M University, and for restoring to fiscal solvency Florida’s Internal Improvement Trust Fund by selling four million acres in the Everglades. He was governor during the Spanish-American War when Florida served as a principle staging area and its ports were major embarkation points for United States military activities in Cuba.
Sponsors: THE TALLAHASSEE TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION
WILHELMINA JAKES AND CARRIE PATTERSON: INITIATORS OF THE TALLAHASSEE BUS BOYCOTT
Location:On the campus of Florida A&M University
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: On May 26, 1956, two Florida A&M University (FAMU) students, Wilhelmina Jakes and Carrie Patterson boarded a crowded Tallahassee city bus and sat in the only seats available, in the front next to a white female passenger. The bus driver ordered them to the back of the bus, but they refused. Outraged, the driver pulled the bus over and called the police. The two students were arrested and charged with “placing themselves in a position to incite a riot.” The next night a cross was burned on their lawn. In response, FAMU students, led by SGA President Brodes Hartley, held a mass meeting and voted to stop riding city buses. This sparked the ten-month-long Tallahassee Bus Boycott, the second major successful economic protest of the Civil Rights Movement. Other citizens embraced the boycott. Local religious leaders and community members founded the Inter-Civic Council (ICC) and elected Rev. C.K. Steele, pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, as president. The ICC expanded the boycott, which ended in March 1957. Months of defiant walking, carpooling and legal battles and the fortitude of Jakes, Patterson and other FAMU Freedom Fighters, helped sustain America’s promise of equal rights and justice for all citizens.
Sponsors: FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITYAND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OLD BRADFORDVILLE SCHOOL HOUSE
Location:3439 Bradfordville Rd.
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: The Bradfordville School is a one-room school house built c. 1884-1893, where many generations of children, in elementary to eighth grade classes, received their primary education. It is an example of one-room schools once scattered throughout the area that gave rural children educational opportunities that would otherwise not have been available. The school is a wood frame vernacular structure with a whitewash exterior. The majority of the windows are six over six double hung sash wood. Now gone are two outbuildings used as restroom--one for girls and one for boys. The school was originally located at the intersection of Thomasville and Bradfordville Roads on property owned by the Lester family. In 1906 it was purchased by the Leon County Board of Public Instruction for the sum of $1.00. Declining attendance forced its closure in 1930. In 1940 ownership was transferred to the Leon County Commission. The building has been moved twice in an attempt to preserve it. The first move was in 1997 when a road expansion was planned for Thomasville Road. The second was in 2005 when the land was sold and it was moved to its present site. The building is currently used as a community center under the management of Leon County.
Sponsors: THE LEON COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
HICKORY HILL CEMETERY OF WELAUNEE PLANTATION
Location:Miccosukee Greenway
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Hickory Hill Cemetery is the main burial ground for African-American families that lived and worked on Welaunee Plantation. Welaunee was established by Udo Fleischmann, a banker and sportsman and member of the Fleischmann baking goods manuafacturing family from New York, and his wife Jeanne Kerr Fleischmann, who donated land for the cemetery. The Fleischmanns began leasing and purchasing former antebellum cotton plantation land in Leon County during the first two decades of the 20th Century. Tenant farming was common in Leon County for more than half a century, but had collapsed by 1950 when many tenant farmers began to leave as land was sold or used for quail hunting. Hickory Hill Cemetery reflects the ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, and settlement patterns of the black community of Welaunee Plantation, and includes grave markers dating from 1919 to 1947. For instance, Mason jars may sometimes be found at the graves of members of the Masonic order. Other folk practices include graves marked with pieces of iron, a wagon axle, or a simple glass container. Hand-fashioned markers can be found on the western side of the cemetery.
Sponsors: Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, New Zion Primitive Baptist Church, Testerina Primitive Baptist Church, The Trust for Public Land and the Florida Department of State
LEON HIGH SCHOOL
Location:550 East Tennessee Street
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: The first Leon Academy opened in 1827, three years after Tallahassee's founding, and operated until the mid-1840s. In 1869, the Leon County Board of Public Instruction established separate schools for whites and blacks. In 1871, the county opened the Leon Academy as a public school for whites and, in 1885, constructed a two-story brick building on Tennessee Street between Duval and Bronough streets. The Board of Public Instruction passed a resolution in 1903 establishing a 12-grade high school known as Leon Graded and High School. A new school was dedicated on Park Avenue in 1911. On March 27, 1927, the Board of Public Instruction purchased 31.7 acres of McDougal Pasture for $22,000. Efforts by Mode L. Stone, Tallahassee's supervising principal of public schools, and a 1935 bond referendum and a loan from the Emergency Administration of Public Works led to the construction of the present school in 1936. Architect M. Leo Elliott designed the Mediterranean Revival/Italian Renaissance style building with its distinctive barrel tile roof with wide eaves and decorative rafter tails. The school had 50 classrooms, a cafeteria, kitchen, library and an auditorium. The new Leon High School was dedicated on May 28, 1937.
Sponsors: Sponsored by the Leon High School Foundation and the Florida Department of State
THE "LURAVILLE LOCAMOTIVE"
Location:3125 Conner Blvd
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: Its specific identity lost to time and the Suwannee River, the Luraville Locomotive is one of the nation's oldest "iron horse" steam locomotives. Most likely built between 1850 and 1855, the oft-modified 10-ton wood-burning American 4-0-0 steam locomotive played a role in Florida's early logging history. At one time the engine may have sported a cowcatcher and perhaps was used to pull passenger cars. It became a tram engine c. 1890 and was used to haul logs for the Bache Brothers Lumber Company to its sawmill near Luraville, Suwannee County. The locomotive's working career ended sometime around 1900 when the engine sank to the bottom of the Suwannee River while being loaded onto a barge at or near the Live Oak and Gulf Railroad's Suwannee River terminus at Peck. In 1979, a team headed by Luraville resident James Lancaster hoisted the remains of the locomotive and two sets of iron wheels from the river bottom. The locomotive was subsequently purchased and presented to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for safekeeping and preservation. The partially restored engine now rests in front of a load of bald cypress logs, a fitting monument to an important era in Florida's history.
Sponsors: Sponsored by the Florida Society of American Foresters The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Florida Division of Forestry The generosity of Pat and Peggy Goyke and The Florida Department of State
WEST CAMPUS OF THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY - TALLAHASSEE BRANCH OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Location:Intersection of Mabry St and Ridgeway St
County: Leon
City: Tallahassee
Description: After World War II, many veterans returning to Florida sought a college education through the GI Bill. The all-male University of Florida (UF) experienced record enrollment as thousands of veterans applied to the university. Unable to accommodate all of the students, UF asked the veterans if some would be willing to attend the Florida State College for Women (FSCW) in Tallahassee. In September 1946, the Florida Legislature authorized the opening of the Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida (TBUF). This was the first time male students attended FSCW since the school became a women’s institution in 1905. To house the more than 500 male students, FSCW purchased land and buildings west of the main campus. This area had been the location of Dale Mabry Field, the city’s first airport and a World War II Army Air Corp training field. Former barracks and officers’ headquarters were converted into student housing, classrooms, and other administrative buildings for the expanded campus. One year later, FSCW became the coeducational Florida State University (FSU), which continued to use the “West Campus” to accommodate the university’s students.
Sponsors: The Florida State University Emeritus Alumni Society and the Florida Department of State