Above, take note of all of the lumber. Lumber was second on the list for the most exported goods and went all over the world. Two of the 120 plus lumber mills produced 60,000 and 30,000 feet A DAY!
20 East Gregory Street (right across the street from First Presbyterian Church)
Vinyl Music Hall is a music venue and bar planned to open on the first floor of the Masonic. It will be the first tenant to occupy the historic 1897 building in many years.
2009, Vinyl Music Hall opened
The first floor of the Masonic Temple was home to Avery Hardware when the building was built and they stayed there until 1921. They moved and became the Pensacola Hardware Company, which still exist today. Among Florida’s oldest, continuous businesses, Pensacola Hardware ranks as the granddaddy of them all! When founded in 1851, Millard Filmore was the U.S. President and Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” was first published. Since then, the store has changed hands and locations in downtown Pensacola several times. But through wars, depressions and hurricanes the store has never closed its doors. At the venerable age of 162, Pensacola Hardware can lay legitimate claim to the title of “Florida’s oldest private retail business.” Located at 20 E. Gregory Street. Albert Avery married May Clara Grant in February 1878. Avery served as a city alderman for several years. He was also president of the Mutual Building & Loan and director of the American National Bank. He passed away in 1920. Avery Street is named for the Avery family.
The Masonic Temple
The building was built and (obviously branded) by Freemasons, hence the Masonic Temple being built 1897. It is at the southeast corner of Palafox Place and Garden Street.
1929, the ISIS Theater
Although Harvest is a church, they do not intend to turn the REX into an exclusive sanctuary just for themselves. They want the REX to be a venue for their congregation and for the community. Harvest is founded on the desire to be a place where “non-churched” and “de-churched” people can encounter the life-giving message of Jesus in a non-threatening, non-pushy environment. They are living up to their desires.
Events they envisioned and are being successful in hosting at the REX include:
Current and classic movies
Live band performances (and no, not just Christian rock or country gospel)
Special banquets and events
Harvest church services
This is the original film projector that was used when the REX Theater was new, in 1938. It is still located in the theater, just NOT in it's original location. I don't think a disc would work in that anyway.
Imagine a place where you can watch a movie, see a live band, or enjoy a play written and performed by local actors. Imagine that same place as a venue for live, concert-style worship and relevant biblical teaching. From the moment you walk in, it looks, feels, and smells like a classic theater: the high ceilings and flip-bottom seats; the long, velvety curtains; the inviting aroma from the concession area. Harvest Outreach's vision for the REX includes celebrating Pensacola’s history by preserving the building’s 1930’s art-deco façade, integrating into the downtown community by offering a variety of wholesome activities and events, and stimulating downtown growth by helping to re-awaken that section of Palafox Street.
2015, the beautifuly restored REX Theater on Gallery Night.
2015, the refurbished REX Theater.
The REX Theater in its abandoned years.
1963, the movies back THEN where only $.39! NOW, they are $10.00 to $12.00!
2015, this the north side of the building. As you can see, it is showing a little bit of history.
1982, this is when it became the
REX Cinema and Draft House.
1925, it's plain to see the growth of the city.
1906, Rhodes-Collins Furniture Store
The building was built in the beginning of the 1900's and had it's start as the Rhodes-Collins Furniture Store. In 1938 Rhodes-Collins moved to their new building at Palafox and Chase Streets (on the southeast corner) and their old building was converted to the REX Motion Picture Theatre. The REX survived for almost 40 years until 1977 when it was closed down and was donated to the city of Pensacola. In 1982, investors bought the REX from the city and restored it to REX Cinema and Drafthouse Theater. This new venture lasted only until 1986, and the REX has remained closed for almost 30 years. The REX was in need of extensive repair and renovation when Harvest Outreach Church acquired the REX at the end of 2012 with plans of restoring the historic landmark to its former glory. Now completely restored, the long-vacant REX Theatre serves as a venue for Harvest Church, for small-scale live theater, for movies, concerts and other special events. AND YES, HARVEST CHURCH HAS THEIR CHURCH SERVICE ON SUNDAY MORNINGS!
1923, Promoting a movie on a Pensacola Trolly
(City taxi back in the day).
The Isis Theater, located on the northeast corner Palafox and Garden Streets, was a Saenger Amusement Company venture and 'sister theater' to the nearby Saenger and
three doors down from the Rex Theatre. It was built in 1913 opening in 1914. The Isis was part of the Saenger Amusements circuit. In 1945, according to the Film Daily Yearbook, the theater was still operating and could seat 500. For many years the theater shared the building space with a confectioner's shop. After the Saenger opened in 1925 the Isis was often sent the overflow, as each movie reel finished at the sold-out Saenger, porters would hurry them to the Isis. The theatre closed in 1950. Later the bricks from the seating area and the wood that made the stage were salvaged during a later renovation and are included in the floor of Seville Quarter's "Phineas Phogg's" dance hall (both centered pictures above). So just like the olden days, people can go sit on the bricks and watch "the show". Or, get on the dance floor to be a part of "the show". History of Seville Quarter can be seen by clicking here THEN & NOW 3 .
Since I just mentioned the Rex Theatre, let's delve into it's past. Well, actually the THEN and NOW of the building it's self.
Now, in 2015
It's the office for the reporters of the Pensacola News Journal
The ISIS Theater, 1927
The ISIS Theater, 1939
Daniel F. Sullivan, a native of Ireland, moved to Pensacola with his brother Martin after the Civil War. They were very successful in the lumber business, purchasing several mills and wharfs on Pensacola Bay and large areas of timber in other parts of Escambia County. The town of Century was founded around the lumber industry the brothers brought to the area. Sullivan also built the Pensacola Opera House. The brothers began the First National Bank in 1880 and had it run from the opera house for several years.
When he died his brother, business associates and friends erected the monument as his tomb stone in honor and respect for him. It is the largest memorial in the cemetery. It was previously capped by a cross (as seen in photo to the left), but the cross became detached from the monument during a hurricane, and was never reattached.
Let's head back to the heart of downtown, east on Garden Street to Palafox Street.
Here is Pensacola's history regarding snow/ice:
December 5, 1886: At Pensacola, following a heavy rain and wind storm, light snow fell from 4:25 pm to 8:20 pm, accumulating to 1.5 inches.
January 5, 1887: 1 inch of snow fell at Pensacola, and sleet fell elsewhere in the state.
January 14, 1892: 0.4 inches of snow was reported at Pensacola. The first snowfall of the season occurred at Fort Barrancas. Monthly snowfall totaled 0.5 inches at Pensacola.
February 14, 1892: Pensacola reported 3 inches of snow.
December 26/27, 1892: On both days, precipitation fell as sleet and snow downtown.
December 21, 1893: Pensacola experienced an unusually heavy snowstorm in the early winter of 1893, and these east Hill residents looked heartily prepared.
The mural is from
an actual photograph.
PPD founded on July 18, 1821
1947, from Garden Street
1954 Fiesta, the U.S. Post Office / U.S. Courthouse to the rear.
This marker stone for the original Station 5 can be seen in the photograph (barely), below and to the center of the window. The station number is still above the "living quarters". The living quarters was right next to the truck stall. The building is now a business, but still in use on the northwest corner of 9th Avenue & Belmont Street. Station 5 moved from here to the northeast corner of 9th Avenue & La Rua (and posted as LaRua) Street and were there for several decades. The fire engine purchased was MUCH larger and would not fit, so the station closed and combined Engine 5 to Station (pictured above) in the new Station 1 on Cervantes Street.
1957, Frisco Locomotive #1355 being placed in its current location, which was the last stopping station that it made.
2014, the location is in the median of Garden Street & Coyle Street.
1928, A view from Coyle Street
The Frisco Passenger Station (pictured below) was built in 1928. This Spanish Mission style structure was located at the corner of Garden Street and Coyle Street. The Frisco locomotive (yes, it is Large) #1355 was placed right in front of the Terminus location (in the rail line is now the wide median) in commemoration of the former passenger depot. More so, Locomotive #1355 was the last locomotive used at the Depot and so named "Pride of Pensacola". You CANNOT miss seeing the locomotive, like I just mentioned... IT IS BIG! The Depot had to be demolished in 1967, this due to a major fire in 1966 and costing too much to refurbish a non-used structure. The passenger car that ran here, so named "Pensacola", was one of the first of two in this part of the country to have been built by welding instead of riveting. They were called sleeper-buffet-coach cars, containing six sleeping compartment sections, buffet in center capable of feeding twelve people, and coach end which will seat thirty people. The two cars were named "Memphis" and "Pensacola", and were constructed especially for the run, Memphis to Pensacola Fla., making its stop at the Frisco Terminus on the gulf. Frisco operated several excursion trains to Pensacola in 1928. This sleeping car operation between Pensacola and Memphis was discontinued in 1952. Declining traffic caused the Frisco to discontinue Pensacola passenger service and made their last run on February 1st of 1955.
1935, the Pensacola (Pullman Sleeper Car) and one of the first two in use by Frisco Railways).
Since we have covered the first two L & N stations, let's go to the third depot. This was the L & N Marine Depot. The building was constructed in 1902 at the Commendencia Street Wharf, its design inspired by Rafford Hall. It served as a major terminus for the L & N (Louisville & Nashville) Railroad's lumber and coal export trade. The depot kept records for all goods coming to and (mostly) leaving port. It is well seen as to the height of the pier as the trusses go up to the height of the second floor. Obviously, the deck of a ship is quite higher than ground level. It was in operation between the time of its construction and World War 2 and became the Port Authority office in 1959. In 1972, the building was disassembled by Theophalis May and moved to its current location on Main Street. On August 14th of the same year, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its significance to the transportation industry and to maritime history.
It was occupied by Quenby Mitchell's Secondhand Rose, a consignment boutique for many years until damage from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 forced the business to close. After extensive renovations in 2006, it reopened as the coordinating center of the Florida Public Archaeology Network. It is a museum that covers loads of Pensacola History and the best part is that IT IS FREE TO GO TO! It was right on the bay water on site of what is now the Port of Pensacola.
The L & N Depot Station opened in 1882. This depot burned down in 1905. The new station was built and opened in 1912, located at Alcaniz, Wright and East Gregory Streets. The Pensacola Bay Center is just to the south, across Gregory Street. The train station was restored after being abandoned for a long period of time and is now the lobby for the 15 story Pensacola Grand Hotel which, by the way, is the tallest high rise in Pensacola... and always will be. This is due to the City of Pensacola passing ordinance not to allow any buildings to be built taller than the 11 story Seville Tower. The station had its last passenger board and leave in 1971. In the last few years before it was abandoned there was an antique locomotive on display. It was "The Old General Lee". I have reseached the location of "The Old General Lee", but have found nothing to tell of. The Depot was restored to its original condition when the Crown Plaza was built and it is in very beautiful (mostly original) condition!
Take a look in the photos below, or get a better and more vivid look by going to the Crown Plaza. Just walking through you'll take in the awe! There is A LOT more to see!
Since I just mentioned L & N, here is more history regarding that railroad company. L & N had its name for the first rail line used when it started. You guested it... from Louisville, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee. The L & N Railroad had a few depots in downtown. The first depot station was located at Tarragona Street and Wright Street (on the northeast corner), but prior to it being an L & N depot it was the Pensacola Atlantic Railroad (P & A). The P & A was absorbed by L & N and, therefore, became the
L & N Union Depot Station. There is a way-marker that tells of a gentleman who was commanding a regiment that came to Pensacola going to the Spanish American War in 1898. This was Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, he led the battalion named the "Rough Riders". Take a look and learn about its history... in a relaxed manner.
While we are covering rail roads, take a look at at the rail lines that ran during the bustling downtown era.
The next two photos are located at Wright Street and 10th Avenue. The tracks are still there AND STILL USED, just not to the same level as long ago. The main use was the L & N (Louisville & Nashville) Railroad although, there is only one set of tracks now that run north/south and turn east/west at Alcaniz Street and Wright Street. People drive across the tracks continually going north and south on 9th Avenue. The center of the second photo shows the tracks veering north now leading to a dead end to the warehouse seen. The first picture was taken in 1926 and was the Pensacola Railroad Roundhouse.
The next photos shown below are recent photos (taken in 2014) of old brick roads and trolley tracks from North Hill. These are north of Cervantes Street. Now that we have reached the 21st century, one can have a glimpse of how the streets looked and were used. The brick roadways and the tracks, with a few areas (barely, if at all) concealed and/or covered along the former right of ways. These areas photoed are on West Gadsden Street, West Desoto Street and East Jackson Street. The longest brick road still ,and is still brick, in use today is La Rua Street. One can see streets like this throughout North and East Hill. You can still see BRICKED ROADS AND TROLLEY TRACKS that are still there and intact or were paved over with the asphalt being dislodged. This shows the brick is still there and holding up better than the asphalt. Maybe, we should have stayed with bricks for road coverage. Below the old track/road pics you can see the "more modern" trolley service that runs in a few places around Pensacola.
The first is of trolley #9 from 1902 (the lady in the picture is unknown), followed by a newer trolley running the same route from the late 1920's. The trolley made its course along Bayshore Drive and the 3rd photo shows the upper right side of the trolley with the travel line marker (these types of signs are used today by bus transport services). This not to be confused with Bay Front Parkway that runs from the Pensacola Bay Bridge (3 Mile Bridge) to Main Street. The trolley service track ran from Naval Air Station Pensacola to downtown, going along Bayshore Drive near Pensacola Country Club and Bayou Chico. The trolley service began being horse drawn street cars in 1884 with only 4 miles of tracks and only ran through the city. Back then a park was developed at North E Street and West Mallory Street (where the Baptist Hospital is now) and called Kufrian's Park. I have looked and have been unable find ANY photos that had been taken of or at Kufrian's Park. The trolley track ended at the Park, which was at the end of the trolley line for that area. Over 100 years ago, people/families would take excursions there to picnic and play outdoor games. The third photo is of the trolley power station. The trolleys became powered by electricity in 1889 and the service completely stopped in 1932. This was when the bus service began.
Above is the street car barn that was pictured in 1908. The second is Palafox Street in 1909. The third photo is a glimpse back in time and shows Palafox Street in 1910. Below, (in the first photo) the conductors of trolley #35 in early 1902. The next (in the same time) is trollie #13 with its conductors. And no, the window above #13 isn't broken, it just needs a cleaning. The third photo is a Pensacola Trolley Company's trolley at the Seanger Theater in 1926.
Pensacola Palafox Street in 1891 and early 1900's. These photos show Palafox Street's (now Palafox Place and voted in 2013 as being in the TOP 10 Most Lovely Streets in America, and it is STILL growing to becoming more lovely) downtown area south of Garden Street. These look north from the business district. Notice the lack of cars? After February 3rd of 1892, and ordinance was passed by the Provisional Municipality of Pensacola. The ordinance made the street laid with brick and streetcar lines (or City Trolley Service) were placed through the downtown business district, North Hill and East Hill residential districts by the Pensacola Terminal Company. The trollie service was discontinued in 1932, being replaced by motor bus that was operated by the Pensacola Coach Corporation. At the trolleys peak, a total of 35 trollie cars carried over 4 million passengers per year in 1920!
THE TROLLEY BOOM
Pay close attention to the details within the pictures below. The time frame and visual history of the photos is pretty evident regarding the growth of downtown.
Gov. Rick Scott (center) & Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward (to the far right)
I think the MOST SHOCKING thing about this extremely devastating storm is that it was a storm, NOT a hurricane!
It not only set local records, but national records too!
Well, let's move on with our history. Since we are moving on... let's take the trolley.
Pictured above, two fire boats aiding in the extinguishment of the Muskogee Wharf fire in 1955.
Stephen Russell Mallory 1848-1907
February 12-14, 1899: 2 to 3" of snow/sleet/ice and 27°F.
January 22/23, 1935: Snow falls until the next morning, with Pensacola recording 1 inch.
March 6, 1954: 4 in of snow accumulates at Milton Experimental Station, Santa Rosa County, within a 24-hour period; the highest such total to date for Florida according to official modern records.
February 9, 1973: Snow falls over the northern portion of the state, including a total of 2.0 inches in Pensacola, with unofficial reports of up to 8 inches.
December 18, 1996: A plume of cold air causes snow to form in the northwestern portion of Escambia County.
February 12, 2010: Portions of northwestern Florida experience snowfall totals of around 1 in.
February 14, 2010: 0.5 inches of snow fell across the northern halves of Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.
December 8, 2010: Snow mixed with rain is reported in western parts of the panhandle, north of Pensacola.
January 9, 2011: Sleet is reported in the Pensacola area, as well as other places in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. There was no accumulation.
January 24-25, 2014: Sleet and light snow are reported in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
January 28-29, 2014: A major winter storm event resulted in a mixture of freezing rain (with ice accumulation), sleet, and snow across most of the Panhandle between the afternoon of the 28th and morning of the 29th. Due to dangerous ice accumulation, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) and Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) closed several bridges in the Panhandle and advised against non-essential travel. Many state and local government offices were closed around mid-day on the 28th. In Santa Rosa county, officials cautioned that ice-laden tree limbs were hanging low enough to hit vehicles. Between 1-9:30 PM on the 28th, 21633 Gulf Power customers lost power at some point. At 2 PM on January 28, Pensacola was 31°F with freezing rain. On the 28th of January it was 86°F in Fort Myers. Pensacola received 1.8 in of snow on January 28. On January 29, the Florida Highway Patrol closed nearly 200 miles of Interstate 10 from the Florida-Alabama state line to Gadsden County, directing resources (and traffic) to U.S. 90. Pensacola International Airport closed at 9:17 PM January 28th and was not scheduled to reopen until late on the 29th. These deep colds/sleet/snow for Pensacola seem to occur about every 20 years and occasionally will follow one year to the next. Actually, the Farmers Almanac has proven to be correct just about every time! WOW!
RAIN / THUNDERSTORMS
If hurricanes are not enough, there's rain! In 2013 Pensacola ranked 3rd in the Nation for the most rain. In 2014 we had another record setting event. A storm covered, pretty much, the entire area of Escambia County and 25 more counties across the Florida Panhandle. The worst damage happened to Pensacola, Escambia County, Pace, Santa Rosa County. This did worse damage than some hurricanes that have hit this area. But in this weather event, the beach came out with little to no damage. I guess one would know that it is a pretty bad situation when the State governor comes to assess the damages and the event is televised on national news! The governor called a State of Emergency for Pensacola,Escambia County, Santa Rosa County and is pursuing federal disaster relief. Take a look a JUST A FEW PICTURES of the devastating damage caused by the storm that dropped 33.33" of rain in a matter of hours. Wind gust were also recorded at above 60 mph! If all of that wasn't enough, this storm produced lightning that even took out the weather radar for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (also known as NOAA).
THIS WAS VERY BAD AND NO ONE HAD ANY IDEA OR SAW THIS COMING (I MEAN NO ONE),
NOR WAS IT KNOWN HOW EXTREME THIS WAS GOING TO BE!!!
There have been many different serious storms that have caused problems for Pensacola, that being downtown and the beach. These conditions have occurred here for quite a long time. The photo above to the left is from Pensacola the Louisville and Nashville (L&N) Railroad water tank on Tarragona Street. This "deep freeze" happened here on February 12-14, 1899. The center and photo to the right is the latest snow and ice storm to hit Pensacola. This happened January 29, 2014. The photo to the right is of the Pensacola Bay Bridge (or 3-Mile Bridge). The photo to the right is by FDOT. Via a reported from the local morning news with WEAR Channel 3, a Close look was given to viewers regarding the depth of the ice that was under the sheet of snow. The ice was an easy 1 inch deep on the road. Granted we didn't see the amount of snow and ice that was pictured in 1899, but this was pretty bad.
Weather From Then and Now
All of these photos above are from the 2013 Fiesta of Five Flags Parade.
1957 Fiesta, photographed in the same location as the 1953 parade.
1961 Fiesta, the Isis Theatre is behind the float.
1955 Fiesta, going south on Palafox St. pictured in front of the San Carlos.
1953 Fiesta, the Isis Theatre & Rex Theater
behind the crowd
1952... a photograph in the same spot
Don Manuel and his family's "place of rest" at
Saint Michael's Cemetery. Also, John Brosnaham and his family.
Don Manuel's home, located in Gonzalez, burned down in 1961. Andrew and his wife Rachel stayed here with Don Manuel.
Fiesta of Five Flags 1950, on Palafox St. going to Garden St.
1911, USS Florida in Pensacola Bay
City Map 1764, Garden Street 1908 and now a fountain at 101 Palafox Place at the U.S. Post Office 2012
Under the British city plan drawn up around 1764 by Elias Durnford, each individual building lot in the city was issued a companion piece of ground along what was
then the northern border of the town. The thoroughfare which developed along this row of garden lots was fittingly called Garden Street. The first picture is the 1764 Durnford City Map, the second is Garden Street at the intersection of Palafox Street, looking west. The San Carlos Hotel is included in the photo. The photo above, in the middle, shows the horse-watering fountain, given by Dr. Blocker, which was later moved, about 1 block south, in front of the downtown post office.
Since we are at the Palafox & Garden intersection, let's get a more broad view of time.
These are from the Fiesta of Five Flags that started in 1950.
The photographs proceed in the order of the parade's years and are descriptive to what was photographed.
Then to Now at Palafox Street and Garden Street. While we are at the intersection of Palafox and Garden, here is more of our history.
San Carlos Hotel Lobby,
"The Grand Lady of Palafox Street"
1910, San Carlos newly built and opened on downtown's Mardi Gras Parade Day
1955, still doing quite well
1986, completely vacant since 1983
1911, USS Florida Silver Service Ceremony on December 11th
Below, is Germania Fire Hall that was built in 1873. In 1888 they merged with the Pensacola Fire Department, becoming Pensacola Fire Station #2. Henry Pfeiffer owned the entire block. The buildings were removed and the Germania Hall structure you see below was constructed. The mural was painted from an 1886 photograph in 2008. John and Rudolph Pfeiffer are on the steam pumper, the sons of Henry Pfeiffer. The bay doors could not be painted with the 3-D effect, so the doors were painted going to the inside. The Germania Fire Company was absorbed into the Pensacola City Fire Department and was Station #2. The building is now the Quayside Art Galley. Quay is actually pronounced Key or Kay. It is a "European" pronunciation thing. The translation meaning is a structure on the shore of a harbor water side. So it is "technically" Key (or Kay) side Art Gallery. But, in American english we pronounce it like we pronounce the "qu" in quarter. Anyway, loads of locals have their very nice art selling there.
As I mentioned in Part 1, here is further history of the northwest corner of Palafox and Garden Streets. First, the San Carlos Hotel.
This same site became the San Carlos Hotel. The imposing, seven-story structure opened on this site in 1910 as the city's largest and most elegant hotel. Designed by the well-known New York architect W. L. Stoddard, it was built by the local firm of C. H. Turner Construction Co. at a cost of $500,000. The structure’s simple masonry design was embellished with Renaissance Revival exterior details. It was extensively "modernized" and expanded from 157 to 403 rooms in the 1920's, and continued to dominate both the Palafox streetscape and the ENTIRE gulf coast for the next 50 years. Increasing competition and gradual deterioration led to its closing in 1982. It was completely demolished in 1993 and is now the location of the Federal courthouse, the United States Courthouse of Pensacola and is pictured further below.
2013 Pensacola Fire Department's new fire boat goes on line for service. The third photo (above) is at the same location as seen in the first picture, the far left photo, from 1955.
1994 the Pensacola Police Headquartes moved to their new building at 711 North Hayne Street
1955 at 40 South Alcaniz Street, Saint Micheal's Cemetery is on the north side of this building... still.
2001 at 400 East Cervantes St.
Mid 1800's, Former Pensacola Police Department Headquarters
1892, Former Pensacola City Jail & Police Headquarters
Another interesting happening at the former City jail was in July 28, 1908. Oddly enough, there was about 1000 of the citizens of Pensacola who took the law into their own hands. Leander Shaw was lynched on that day from a light pole in the center of Plaza Ferdinand on the middle squares south west corner. The magnolia tree that is still there was there during this happening, but was only about 4 feet tall. He was being held in the City jail for the alleged robbery, rape and murder of Lillie Davis. He never stood trial for the indictment, but was positively identified by Lillie Davis moments before she died. For further insight of this and MANY MORE GHOSTLY / ERIE OCCURRENCES, go to theGHOST - MURDERS - MAYHEM PAGE at the top of the page. There is some pretty scary and gruesome history regarding Pensacola. Emerald Coast Tours does these tours year round, not just during Halloween Season. Give them a call or check it out online. Their website is on the Home Page.
The Pensacola Fire Department pictured above at left was taken in 1903 at the building located on Garden St. just to the east of Palafox and the building still stands today (photo below it). Notice the P.F.D. patch has “Established 1810” on the bottom. In that year the Spanish city imported two fire engines, fifty leather buckets, hoses, and nozzles from a firm in England. Despite the new equipment, firefighting was a haphazard proposition until the first volunteer firefighting company was formed in 1821, at last providing regular staffing for the city’s firefighting equipment. For the remainder of the century, the story of firefighting in Pensacola was mainly one of volunteer companies organizing, combining, and disbanding. On January 1, 1898, the city established a full-time paid fire department consisting of eighteen officers and firefighters.
Now let’s peruse a bit of Pensacola Fire’s past. Below is the fire engine, so named the “Mallory” after Stephen Russell Mallory.
When it came to its end on the “line of duty”, it was purchased by T. T. Wentworth Jr. and preserved as a historical object and loaned to the Dorthy Walton Museum. The following pictures are horse drawn firefighting carriages with their dates when pictured below them.
109 E. Garden St. and Tarragona Street
above is from 1903, below is 2011
Since we just checked out the police department let's look at a department that was well before the police department. This is the Pensacola Fire Department. The P.F.D. began in 1810, 11 years before Pensacola (actually the whole State of Florida) became part of the United States in 1821. This is a founded fact.
In that year the city imported two fire engines, fifty leather buckets, hoses, and nozzles from a firm in England. Despite the new equipment, firefighting was a haphazard proposition until the first volunteer firefighting company was formed in 1821, at last providing regular staffing for the city’s firefighting equipment.
For the remainder of the century, the story of firefighting in Pensacola was mainly one of volunteer companies organizing, combining, and disbanding. On January 1, 1898, the city established a full-time paid fire department consisting of eighteen officers and firefighters. Going through the following photos and information you will get a closer look at Pensacola's Fire Department from Then and Now.
Dorthy Walton, wife of George Walton, Senior - (signer of the Declaration of Independence and the youngest to do so at the age of 26). Their son, George Walton, Junior was the Territory Secretary and the second governor (although it was temporary) for the Florida Territory. He was appointed by Governor General Andrew Jackson, upon his returning to his military career. No photos of him have been found. The second full governor was William Pope Duval. (As in Duval County... Jacksonville)
Take a good look at the picture right above here ( ) and the one just above it. Look over them and find the word Pensacola and Panzacola. Okay, I'll give you a hint. In the top picture it is on the lower right and the lower picture it is in the center. The top picture even makes out the British Fort of Pensacola that was located just where T.T. Wentworth Museum is now. And, the curved line to the bottom of the fort was the Pensacola Bay water line. The water line is now where Main Street is. Obviously, it took many years to build up the land that now is used (a lot) to the south of the old water line. In the lower picture you can see words written in Spanish. This gives easy proof to the overall understanding of the streets grid lines and the street names throughout downtown that were organized, set and named by the British,the Spanish and Americans. The picture to the right (the Bird's Eye view ca 1885) shows you a dashed line plat. As seen in the picture, this was the original property line of the Saint Michael Cemetery. The solid line depicts its property line to this very day. With the city's growth and other cemetery's being plotted out, the original size went to the solid lined area. In the center of the picture you will read Cadet Creek. This was named for the washing and laundry that sea cadets had to do as a standard for all cadets wanting to be a part of sea life. Right where the house is to the lower left of the plat became the location for the Pensacola Police Department Headquarters. They moved from that location in the late 1980's to the new building under I-110 at Cervantes Street.
Well, seeing as I just mentioned the Pensacola Police Department, let's take a closer look. The Pensacola Police Department (or PPD) is the primary law enforcement agency for the City of Pensacola. It was established by Major General (and first Florida Governor) Andrew Jackson, who appointed the first city constable (police officer) of Florida on July 18, 1821 — one day after he accepted the Florida territories for the United States in Plaza Ferdinand. Pensacola became the original (first) Capital of Florida.
In 1781, Spanish General Bernardo de Galvez mounted an assault on British held Pensacola and capturing it from the British. His personally planned attack consisting of the Spanish, French, Americans, Africans (non-slaves), Some American Indians, Italians and Irish. This victory not only aided the American fight for independence, but it also resulted in the return of Pensacola (and all of Florida) to Spanish control. After the war, Bernardo de Galvez was personally honored by General George Washington and is revered as a national and international hero for his role in the American Revolution. Historic maps suggest fallen soldiers from the Battle of Pensacola likely lie unmarked beneath the urban street scape... even to this very day (and yes I mean this very day that you are reading this).
This map (to the right) is of Spanish depiction from the early to mid-1700's. It can easily be seen as to where Saint Michael's Cemetery was plotted, outside of the city area. During this time period, this was typical (or normal) and still are throughout America are plotted this same way today. What is today downtown Pensacola was, in the mid-1700's, a small frontier outpost. Established by Spain in the 1750's, Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola quickly enlarged and the city street scape was defined by the British (1763 - 1781). When the Spanish regained control of Pensacola in 1781, they utilized the infrastructure already in place. One area of designated use was the general site of the community burial ground. With the area around Saint Michael's beginning to be used in the early to mid-1700's, many (if not almost all) grave markers did not survive from that period. With no naturally occurring stone source locally available, wood was most likely a common marker material on the Gulf Coast frontier during the early colonial period. In Pensacola's hot and humid climate, this material would not have survived over time.
These are but a few of the (over) 3000 persons laid to rest at Saint Micheal's Cemetery. Most of the city's, county's and overall areas throughout the Florida Panhandle (from the Suwanee River west) received the title/name from residents of Pensacola & Escambia County Florida.
I found no picture to share of Don Manuel Gonzalez. He was born in 1767 in San Vincente, de la Barquera, Santander Province, Spain. Born into landed gentry, Gonzalez ran away from home to serve on his uncle's ship. On December 17, 1784, he joined the army and was sent to the New World, landing in New Orleans. He was made Indian Agent in 1792 and was given the rank of Colonel and later Brigadier General in the Spanish Army. Don Manuel came to possess large tracts of land in Pensacola through honors granted by the Spanish Crown. This a broad area that is Gonzalez, Florida and is in the center portion of Escambia County. After leaving the army, he was granted passage through the Choctaw and Creek nations and established residence in Pensacola, where he became a cattle rancher. He donated the land for Plaza Ferdinand VII to the city and opened a market there in 1816. When Florida was transferred to the United States in 1821, Gonzalez, a friend of General Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel awaited the transfer of the Spanish Territory of Flora (Florida) to the United States at his home. Andrew and Rachel stayed with Manuel 5 to 6 times, before being given a house of residence by John Brosnaham on southeast corner of Palafox and Intendencia Streets. Manuel was appointed Justice of the Peace and made a Colonel in the American Army. Also, there are no photographs of John Brosnaham that have been found. John Brosnaham was appoimted Alderman by Gov. Andrew Jackson. The first Florida Legislature was held (and the first statutes enacted) at Don Manuel's home, Gonzalia (nicknamed the "Fifteen-Mile House"). He was made Quartermaster General for the Florida Militia on September 14, 1822. Gonzalez died in his home on March 8, 1838. His burial was marked by the closing of many businesses and was described by the Pensacola Gazette as well-attended, including the uniformed officers of the French Corvette La Brillante.
Stephen Russell Mallory. He had a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable men concerning naval affairs; therefore, he was appointed chair of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs. As a Captain in the United States Navy, he worked tirelessly to reform the Navy. After the 1860 Election of Abraham Lincoln, Mallory urged conciliation (as did many other eventual prominent Southern politicians, including Jefferson Davis). However, like many others, his loyalties lay with the South. Living in Pensacola, Florida and Florida being the third State to secede the Union, he followed. Because of his friendship with President Davis, the need of a Floridian cabinet member, and his extremely useful and vast knowledge of naval affairs, he was appointed Confederate States Secretary of the Navy. When he past away, he was laid to rest in St. Michael's Cemetery. The flag flown there is the 3rd of the three Confederate State flags.
The following photos were taken on the grounds of the Saint Michael's Cemetery. Some of the images give a historical view and layout, not only of the cemetery, but of the original area. You will find some of the tombstones are so old they no longer read anything. There are more than several tombs that are completely unmarked. Visiting the site is not only a visit to Pensacola's past, but also one can get a better understanding as to the naming of several locations throughout the panhandle and other portions of the State of Florida.
Saint Michael's Cemetery