Brief History of the Bayou
In the 1600’s galleons sailed into Pensacola Bay and went into Bayou Chico for fresh water. The Spanish named the bayou “beautiful Bayou” (Bayou Chico) because of the fresh water springs and crystal clear waters
In the mid 1800’s lumber and the U.S. Navy moved in. During the 1890's lumber was king and Weis Patterson Lumber was the biggest player on the Bayou. In 1906 the Bayou was rocked by a hurricane and many of the homes and businesses on the Bayou were damaged or destroyed. In 1917 the ship yard was built and ship building began for WWI. The War ended in November of 1918 and ship production all but stopped. In 1927, the Junior Chamber of Commerce developed a study of Bayou Chico to determine its best commercial use. As a result the Reichold Chemical Company moved to Bayou Chico in the early 1930’s. During WW II the ship yard once again was brought to life to build liberty ships for the War effort. Ship building, pretty much, stopped at the end of WW II. This didn't pick back up until 1977 when the new facilities, on five acres of land on the north bank of the bayou, was used for new boat construction as well as boat and barge repairs, according to Frank Patti, general manager of Patti Marine Industries. The first vessel built at the Bayou Chico yard was a sternwheel riverboat more than 200 feet long and used for excursion cruises out of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Starting in the early 1900's ships were built here in the bayou.
Having years of ups & downs, boats are still made here
Mid 1940's of Bayou Chico
This is an overview of Pensacola during the Civil War. Notice the left side of the map, the road that led to Camp Clinch (the cantonment) and was on Bayou Chico. You can also see the spring just to the south of the road. THEN laundry was done there and is how Spring Street came to be... for the NOW.
1926, overview of the rail line & draw bridge
The first Bayou Chico bridge. It was built in 1899 and fully completed in 1900.
He boated to Woodbine Springs and it's recorded in a statement he made "We went on the Scamby River to get to the Spring." The Ballad of Davy Crockett that was written in 1954 and used as the opening song for ABC's Disneyland television show.
"Davy Crockett" is where David became Davy. Although He and Andrew Jackson had different political views, they were still friends.
So, where is this Woodbine Springs? Okay, I'll tell you. It is in Santa Rosa County, just across the Escambia River. Take Highway 90 east bound from Escambia County and you will cross the county line. The first road you come to is . . . Woodbine Road (Hwy 197A). Turn left and go about 2 miles to Dunning Drive and turn left. This is Woodbine Springs Plantation. This where history had its place. And yes, the natural spring is STILL ACTIVE !
The battle referred to as "the Second War of Independance" had forced the British out of Pensacola and left the Spanish in control, angered by the British, who had fled in such a hurry once Jackson's force had attacked, for their destruction of the fortifications and the removal of part of the Spanish garrison. Jackson suspected the squadron that had left Pensacola harbor would return to strike at Mobile, Alabama. So, Jackson went over to Mobile. Upon reaching the town he received requests to hurry to the
defense of New Orleans. This leads to the insight of the old Johnny Horton song, written by Jimmy Driftwood, "The Battle of New Orleans". The song describes the Battle of New Orleans from the perspective of an American soldier. The song tells the tale of the battle with a light tone and provides a rather comical version of what actually happened at the battle. The song just doesn't mention that they came from Pensacola, nor Mobile. But. . . , now ya know they did!
ANYWAY... NOW I'LL COVER WHAT I SAID I WOULD COVER, EARLIER.
The history of Cantonment. The actual pronuciation is can-ton-ment, but is and has been for a long time been pronounced can-tone-ment.
Can·ton·ment: A military garrison / camp or police quarters, "to divide into cantons". Meaning "action of quartering troops" is from 1757.
Cantonment Clinch was an Army fort in Pensacola, Florida from 1822 to the 1830's. The Army Meteorological Register summarizes observations that the Post Surgeon began in 1822. Army troops escaping yellow fever at other forts, and in the city of Pensacola, built this cantonment at the head of BAYOU CHICO about 1821. The first cantonment was three miles west of downtown Pensacola. They named the cantonment after the well respected Colonel Duncan Lamont Clinch in their regiment. The cantonment contained ten log barracks and ten quarters for officers around a large parade ground. Its soldiers probably saw action in local wars against the Indian tribes of this frontier area. They also constructed roads to other military facilities in west Florida and adjacent portions of Alabama. The post closed in the mid-1830's when the troops evacuated to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. General Andrew Jackson first took and then camped, his troops in what is now the Cantonment Community in mid-Escambia County and where the paper mill is. This is also how the town received its name. So, back up a bit on this page and that is Cantonment NOW. Here is the THEN & NOW of Bayou Chico and Cantonment.
Major General Andrew Jackson
Sir General Edward Nicolls
You've seen THEN, take a look at NOW.
Now that you have seen a bit of the surrounding area, we'll go back to the heart of downtown.
Seeing that Pensacola International Airport is on Airport Boulevard and just east of 9th Avenue, let's just take 9th avenue south and head back downtown.
You will come to the intersection of 9th Avenue and Cervantez Street. At this intersection you will see...
7 Story Mid-Rise completion 2014
Construction in process 2013
The former Control Tower was (and still is) located just to the northeast side of the terminal. The new Control Tower is located to the southeast of the original tower and, obviously, has grown. Just to the right of the tower is the Pensacola Fire Department’s Airport Crash/Rescue, the Air Field Maintenance and the Federal Air Controllers.
On July 6, 1996, Delta Air Lines Flight 1288, an MD-88, experienced an uncontained engine failure during takeoff on Runway 17. Fragments from the number one (left) Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219 turbo fan engine penetrated the fuselage, killing two and seriously injuring another two of the 148 people onboard. If you look and notice the last two pictures, you can see were debris from the catastrophic engine failure tore into the fuselage.
On December 27, 1987, at 11:39 pm Eastern Airlines a DC-9 made a hard landing and split its fuselage open just aft (behind) of its wing root. The fuselage of the plane cracked open like a watermelon after a landing in which the plane's tail section dragged 7,000 feet. No injuries occurred during the incident. If you are curious as to why Eastern Airlines covered their name on the side of the aircraft, this is (or was) very typical in a case like this. Oh, and this is (was) a common happening with just about all airline companies. I guess it’s an attempt to save grace for an embarrassing incident. The Boeing 727 named, "Donna," came to rest in about 12 feet of water in Escambia Bay. Although the aircraft was damaged extensively by impact, the wings did not separate from the fuselage. The underside of the fuselage was buckled, compressed, and was crushed.
On May 8, 1978 National Airlines Flight 193 (a Boeing 727) landed in Escambia Bay east of Gull Point and Scenic Highway while approaching the east-west runway, due primarily but not entirely of pilot error. My father being a firefighter at the time was alerted and responded to the call. The incident was recorded as happening due to limited visibility. This has been validated by emergency personnel on scene as, for the most part, false. This is also due to no reports of bad weather and no reports of fog at the location of the incident. A barge was being pushed by a tug boat at a close distance. The tugboat Captain witnessed the incident and turned around to make closer contact with the injured. Several passengers were rescued and placed on the deck of the barge, but the Captain did not want to get too close being in fear of an ignition to the jet fuel that could be smelled/scene in the water. The fuselage opened just aft (behind) its wing root. There were reports of three fatalities and patients were transported to Sacred Heart Hospital located at 9th Avenue and Bayou Boulevard. There were so many at one time, the hospital set the triage location in their parking lot. The plane landed in twelve feet of water and lost an engine. It is believed the 727’s engine is still “lost at sea”, buried deeply in the river’s silt floor.
Pensacola Airport's Hagler Field in 1940 and 2012
This is 12th Avenue in 1935. This led to the new Pensacola Municipal Airport.
The next is from 2012 and you can see the THEN & NOW of 12th Avenue.
John Wayne arriving on National Airways (Airlines) for the filming of "Wings of Eagles"
at NAS Pensacola.
Liberace arriving in Pensacola back in the 1960’s. He'd come to Pensacola to buy antiques from several dealers in the area and also played at the Pensacola Municipal Auditorium.
PENSACOLA BAY BREWERY
MONSANTO CHEMICAL PLANT
(first CHEMSTRAND, name change to MONSANTO, then SOLUTIA, now ASCEND PERFORMANCE MATERIALS & EXXON MOBIL CHEMICALS)
Monsanto Chemstrand Chemical Plant was built and started in 1953. This was the FIRST place in America where nylon was produced! It was located 12 miles north of Pensacola, on the Escambia River in the community of Ensley. It was a major petrochemical production site and was operated by several companies. The principle product is nylon 6.6, as fiber used for carpets and clothing, and in polymer chip form for automotive and electronic industries. Also produced here is adiptic acid, which is used in foods, such as Jell-O, and maleic anhydride. The first photo below is an aerial view and a main entrance view of the Monsanto Chemstrand Corporation's nylon filament yarn plant. The plant was situated on a 2,000-acre tract. The first photo shows the plant office building and textile spinning area (center foreground) and chemical intermediates area (upper right). The Ford Foundation was studying ways to improve the physical fitness of young people. At the same time, the Chemstrand Company, a subsidiary of Monsanto Industries were developing new synthetic fibers for use as tough carpeting. Chemstrand was encouraged to try to make the perfect urban sports surface for schools by the Ford Foundation. From 1962 to 1966, Chemstrand worked on creating new sports surfaces. The surfaces were tested for foot traction and cushioning, weather drainage, flammability and wear resistance.
It became the first wholly integrated nylon plant in the United States and had a total of 30 different structures. It had an initial rated capacity of 50-million pounds per year and reached its maximum output in 1955. First shipments were made December 23, 1955 and after successful testing, mills ordered the new Chemstrand nylon in commercial volume. When in full operation, approximately 3,000 persons where employed. Solutia Chemical Company formed in 1997 and is a spin-off of Monsanto. Solutia Integrated Nylon Company took over the nylon aspects of the manufacturing plant. The original Chemstrand portion that started the whole venture was the partnership between Monsanto and American Viscose Corporation. In 1963, Monsanto had sole ownership until the 1997 spin-off and became the Solutia Company. After several years of an economic down fall (financial issues) Solutia sold its nylon division to a New York private equity firm SK Capital Partners in 2009 and is now the Ascend Performance Materials. With the deep industry roots for this plant, and a commitment to the Nylon 6,6 market, the plant site has endured over time and still is going strong... worldwide. Also on site is Exxon-Mobil Chemical's Pensacola Specialty Elastomers Plant, which makes thermoplastic rubber, and the Huntsman's Pensacola Site, involved in nylon chemistry. Yep, since this site started in 1953, being the first place in America producing nylon, the site has maintained what it started as. Just about the only thing that has changed over half a century is the company/corperational name. There two roads leading to the site. The first was Old Chemstrand Road, running east & west, and then (just after the first) New Chemstrand Road , running north and south. Both roads were started from the plants main gate location and the names coming from what Monsanto produced.
There's OVER 1 MILLION dollar bills pinned around McGuire's !!!
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig
(ban - uck - tee nah fail - ya paud - rig)
Blessings of the Festival of Saint Patrick
To wish this for someone add Dia Duit (jee-ah ghwich)
God be with you
after saying Pádraig (paud - rig). Slainte (Slawn - cha) Cheers
Let's move on, shall we. For a moment, let's take a look beyond downtown.
This a bit of history is from Escambia County and downtown Pensacola regarding the following...
ERIN GO BRAGH, (Pronounced Aerin Guh Braw and actual spelling is "Éirinn go Brágh") it means
"Céad Mile Fáilte" (How to pronounce it: Kayd Meelah Fallchaa, and means... "a hundred thousand welcomes") McGuire's Irish Pub & Brewery opened in 1977. They are truly “famous for steaks,” and were named Steak House of the Year by the National Beef Council in 1998. They're open 7 days a week from 11 am until the wee hours. I haven't come across anything on their menu that was blah!
McGuire’s also offers fine Ale’s, Porters and Stouts brewed on premise in their traditional oak and copper brewery. Nature and the old-time know-how of a brew master get the job done. They brew with the finest malted barley, imported hops, and McGuire’s very own house yeast. Also, they currently brew five regular beers and a rotating seasonal "refreshment". Their regular line up includes McGuire’s Light Ale, McGuire’s Irish Red Ale, Wild Irish Raspberry Wheat, McGuire’s Porter and McGuire’s Irish Stout. Their seasonal selections include Scotch Ale, Honey Wheat, Belgian Ale, India Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, Extra Special Bitter Altbier and Christmas Ale; just to name a few. AND, they also make a very popular root beer served draft, right out of the keg. IT IS WAY GOOD!!! So, come on in ya Lads and Lassies for a bit of Irish Luck!
Well since I just showed some of the history regarding beer in Pensacola, let's dig a little deeper.
Pensacola Beer Brewing - Spearman Brewing Company
The Spearman Brewing Company was a brewery located at 1600 Barrancas Avenue (between I Street and J Street). It opened in 1935, shortly after the end of prohibition, and was a member of the Florida Brewers' Association, which was founded April 6, 1934. The Spearman Brewing Company is the first brewery in Pensacola. It was popular among local military personnel during World War II. This was mainly due to its location being fairly close to the NAS Pensacola. Owner Guy Spearman, who also owned the Crystal Ice Company, allegedly became attracted to the industry after touring a brewery in Mexico. The Spearman slogan was "The Pure Water Does It." Mr. Spearman had quite a few different beers that were brewed there. They were: Spearman Draft Beer
Spearman Draft Ale
Spearman English-Type Ale
Spearman's Straight Eight Beer (launched after bans of "strong" beers were lifted and named for its 8% alcohol content)
Bon Premium Beer
The brewery closed in 1964.
The first photo on the left is a rare stereo-graph photo from about the 1880's of the Escambia Bay Railroad Bridge, which has been in the same location throughout its history. It now is to the north of Interstate 10 Bridge over Escambia Bay and along with major damage from Hurricane Ivan (2004) it was replaced by a concrete trusses, rather than timber.
This is the Escambia Bay Bridge, I-10 about 1966 when it had just been completed. (Notice no traffic). The west side of the bridge was destroyed in 2004 by Hurricane Ivan and Dennis and a new bridge was constructed. Hurricane Ivan caused a huge volume of water, called the storm surge, to be thrust up the Escambia Bay. The wave was recorded to be 90’ high with a 40’ wave face. This is the reason for this bay bridge (I-10) breaking apart. Not only did Pensacola's I-10 Bridge get desimated, but also the 3-Mile Bridge, the fishing piers (the original bay bridge), the train tussle and points across the Highway 90 causeway between Escambia/Santa Rosa Counties. One life was lost on the I-10 Bridge. This person drove an 18 wheeled tractor trailer on the eastbound lane of the bridge as the wave had just made pass. No other fatalities on the bridge were found or noted. Thanks to the Good Lord above!
I-10 Escambia Bay Bridge, 2011
I-10 Escambia Bay Bridge, 1966
In the Pensacola Beach page, there is the history of the hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions that have done extensive damage to more than the beach. That being inland too. But, with the damage incurred by Hurricane Ivan, the Interstate 10 Bridge got a much needed "face lift". The bridge crosses Escambia Bay (River) and was desimated by a storm surge wave of 40'. That made the wave's total height 90'!!!
In 2011, Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola was named a recipient of the HealthGrades® Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™.
That award was based on an independent national study that ranked the hospital among the top 5 percent in the nation for superior patient outcomes.
SACRED HEART HOSPITAL, THEN & NOW
(we'll get back to the heart of downtown shortly)
The building below is still standing at 12th Avenue and Gonzalez Street in East Hill, east of downtown Pensacola, and is used now by various businesses. This was originally called The Pensacola Hospital and was built in 1915. The Daughters of Charity (Sisters) ran it. It is the oldest Catholic Hospital in Florida. Pensacola had the first surgical, radiological, bacterial, and therapeutic facilities in Florida. Following the Daughters of Charity motto of "service to all", the third level of the east wing was dedicated entirely to the Creole and Colored population so that they could also receive hospital care. A.O. Von Herbulis, a native of Austria who immigrated to the United States, designed the hospital. Using the vocabulary of English Gothic architecture, with elements such as the Tudor arches on the ends, the stone work around the front entrance, and the em-battlement at the parapet, Von Herbulis created a lasting monument to health care.
It was used until the new Sacred Heart Hospital was opened on 9th Avenue and Bayou in 1965. When this was built, it was located on the edge of the city, mostly farmland, and the Catholic nuns who ran it had a herd of cows out back to provide milk for the patients, as well as chickens that the nuns would take care of to provide for the patients AND staff. As you can see, the hospital a grown over about 100 years of its "operations" (ha ha). In 2014, Sacred Heart Hospital opened there newest upgrade with the completion of the 8 story building. It is pretty easy to see the growth that Sacred Heart has kept, and has done so for the greater good of its patients AND families!
This is a view to the Escambia River from the east side of the Andrew Jackson Hotel.
1844, Silas Jernigan
1814, The burial spot of the Officer
Photographed in 2015
1938, Fishing Pier & Blue Room at the
Andrew Jackson Hotel.
Below and just to it's left is
the Andrew Jackson Hotel.
Floridatown is where Andrew Jackson crossed with his army enroute to New Orleans to battle with the British in 1814. During the construction of pontoons, Jackson established a camp at Floridatown right where Floridatown Park is NOW. One of his officers died there and was buried under the live oak tree pictured below. It used to be enclosed with an iron fence. As years passed by, Floridatown became known more as the terminal for the hand poled ferries across Escambia Bay, Silas Jernigan (hence Jernigan Road in Escambia County, between Johnson Ave. and East Nine Mile Road/Alternate 90) being in charge for many years, until the early twentieth century when A. P. Hardee built the Andrew Jackson Hotel there. Floridatown next passed into the possession of J. G. Pace who remodeled the hotel with all modern conveniences and building at the same time a spacious dance pavilion whereby Floridatown became known as one of the leading summer resorts in Northwest Florida. J.G. Pace is where the community of Pace got its name. William Henry Whitmire was in Jackson's army and helped build the log rafts to cross the Escambia River in 1814. Mr. Whitmire did not return to South Carolina, his original home, but settled here and married a Jernigan, raising a family. Hence, Whitmire Road and Whitmire Cemetary (which is on the west end of the road).
Here's more THEN & NOW of Pace and Floridatown.
Click this facebook page Floridatown History and get a more in-depth bit of history.
Pensacola is where very large lumbering industries carried on. Part of Pensacola’s export trade was brought in schooners and on barges, towed by tugs, especially designed for this trade, across and through Santa Rosa Sound and up Pensacola Bay to the shipping at Pensacola. In addition to lumber, considerable cattle, rosin, wool, wood, turpentine, sheep and cotton was exported. Mail, being imported and exported, was also with the shipping industry. The commerce passing through Santa Rosa Sound was estimated at $800,000 per annum, which was considered quite good. The schooners were loaded with 30 to 40 tons of goods. During the winter months and during moderately rough weather some ship's wouldn't cross at all. This was done to avoid delay's from running aground or even sinking. Some (not all) of the vessels loaded goods and left port during these occurences and would run aground on sand bars for a few hours, to around ten hours. This happened due to heavy storms that are still common for the Pensacola area.
In the late 1880′s, Pensacola was the United States leader in hardwood exports. At the height of the lumber boom, 600 vessels a year from dozens of countries cleared the port. Schooners, brigs, barks and ships from Australia, Denmark, Russia, Germany, Spain, England, France, Italy, Ireland and Norway waited in the harbor to unload their cargo of ballast rock (dead weight prior to loading cargo). In the middle photo below, ballast rock carts can be seen preparing to offload the “insurance policy” of these early vessels. A necessary tool for the incoming ships to remain upright on their voyage here, the rocks would prove invaluable in Pensacola topography, creating the majority of the sea walls that protect the Bayfront and other waterfront areas. The vessels would reload with pitch pine lumber and timber, so their balance remained intact as they delivered the mainstay, high-demand product of northwest Florida throughout the world. At the peak of the lumber industry
success here, Pensacola processed 340 million feet of pitch pine and lumber. These ballast rocks comprise the majority of the protective barriers along our
inland waterways today. The ballast made the ship's balance remain intact so they could load and deliver the mainstay, high-demand product of northwest Florida throughout the world. These being coal and lumber.
This bit of historical information gives you an understanding of the amount of lumber that exported from Pensacola.
There were over 100 lumber mills in Pensacola and Escambia County.
Perdido Lumber Mill in the mid 1800's (in West Pensacola), 60,000 linear feet was sent out... A DAY!!!
Wright's Lumber Mill in the mid 1800's, 30,000 linear feet was cut, sawn or hewn... A DAY !!!
THAT'S A LOT, EVEN IN TODAY'S STANDARD !
Here's a bit more.
THE PAPER MILL (still in use today in the Cantonment community)
The first photo below is of the paper mill in Cantonment when it was new. This photo was done when the mill was originally built in the late 1940's and titled (named) the Florida Pulp and Paper Company. It was and is north of Pensacola toward the center point of Escambia County. Lumber and mill work in Pensacola and Escambia County have had a very long history. Lumber was what helped make Pensacola's thriving port do so well for about 70 years. When I say "do so well", I mean Pensacola's port was the biggest and busiest of America. The amount of lumber being exported from Pensacola made lumber the second most exported item(s) on the list of goods being SHIPPED BOTH NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY. The first being coal. There were over 120 lumber mills in and around the area. One of the mills there was 60,000 and another at 30,000 linear feet being milled, cut, plained and hewn in a day! The types of lumber around this area was astonishing. The main type was long leaf pine. Here are some of the others, but NOT ALL; live oak, laurel oak, red (or scrub) oak, cypress, elm, sycamore, pecan, walnut, hickory, mahogany and even southern heart pine. There are more to enter, but you can get a pretty good idea as to the depth that was available. The picture on the right shows it still in service in 2012. This is due to the deep history of this area concerning lumber. The mills name changed from the Florida Pulp and Paper Company to Saint Regis Paper Mill. It later became Champion International and by 2006 it became International Paper.
PENSACOLA and ESCAMBIA COUNTY PAPER MILL (in the Cantonment community)
Read this Historic Waymarker that is by the Vetern's Memorial Park.
The new building was built in 2007.
Original building was built in 1968.
New bulding, old location. 404 Cervantes Street
The original store at 9th and Cervantes opened in 1968. The store was demolished in late November 2006. The original building was torn down and replaced by the building that is there now. The original building was torn down because the buildings upkeep and repair was more than the building was worth. The Krispy Kreme location has been a Pensacola staple since it was originaly built. The 60s-era design of the original store was appreciated by many and featured in artwork by the City Art Market. Some Pensacolians are disappointed that the company opted for a design identical to many other Krispy Kreme locations across the country rather than replacing the original store with a similar design, which many felt was unique and a local landmark. The original sign was perhaps more of a landmark than the actual store, but it was too old and to damaged to repair... just like the old building.
This is the new tower that was built in 1995.
1964, the Control Tower after an expansion and an air show.
Next was from 2011, after the new tower was built.
1952, A photo of a group from an unknown
school that flew in on Eastern Airlines.
1950's, the Air Traffic Control Tower when it was brand new!
1980, President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy having arrived at the airport on the President's Air Force 1, a DC - 9.
Eastern Airlines in the 1950's, passengers heading to
the Main Gate.
The airport's Main Gate in 1951
Before we head back to town, let's venture over to the northwest side of the City Limits and get a look at the Pensacola Interstate Fair.
The PENSACOLA INTERSTATE FAIR
In 1935, John E. Frenkel Sr. was the City Clerk for the City of Pensacola and the City permitting agent. At the request of Mr. Whittie Weis of Royal American Shows, he began the Pensacola Interstate Fair. The Royal American, a railroad carnival that moved from location to location by rail, was the largest carnival in the United States.
Originally, the Kiwanis Club was scheduled to put on the first fair but canceled at the last moment. Mr. Weis, knowing that Mr. Frenkel had some experience in promotion and an exceptionally good relationship with many good citizens of Pensacola and Escambia County, asked him to assemble a group of citizens who would be interested. He also started the first radio station in Pensacola, WCOA (Wonderful City Of Advantages). Because of his expertise in promoting this venture, he was well-equipped with the knowledge to take on the fair.
The first Fair (1935) was held at Cervantes Street and Pace Boulevard. From there it moved to the corner of Garden Street and Pace Boulevard. In 1940, the Fair purchased its first permanent location on Pottery Plant Road, later known as Fairfield Drive.
Then in 1942, the Fair was reorganized as a non-profit organization. Its charter was locally incorporated by the board of county commissioners and verified by County Judge Fabasinski. The Fair was not incorporated through the State of Florida.
We'll venture back out to the county, but for now let's start heading back downtown and see the growth of the...
Pensacola’s first true Municipal Airport was established at this site in 1933 when Lee Conner Hagler and Harry Blanchard purchased 504 acres of wooded land northeast of the city from Francis W. Taylor, an early aviation visionary, and used funds from the Civil Work Administration/Works Progress Administration (since regulations prohibited spending public money on private property) to pay relief workers to prepare the property. This began the construction of the airport’s first terminal, two cleared spaces for two grass airstrips and a surplus Navy hangar was built.
April 7, 1934 the first commercial flight landed at the Pensacola Municipal Airport. This was a 14-passenger tri-motored Stinson from Atlantic and Gulf Coast Airlines.
1935, the City of Pensacola purchased the airfield for $50,000. Harry Blanchard was appointed as the air field manager where he served until 1962. The only time that he was not the air field manager during this time frame was when he served overseas during World War II. While he was serving his Country, Van Blanchard (his wife), served as acting airport manager while he was away.
November 1, 1938, The City of Pensacola developed Hagler Field into a permanent Municipal Airport. This is when National Airlines began regular commercial service to Pensacola. National Airlines inaugurated Pensacola’s first scheduled airmail service that flew the ten-passenger twin-engine Lockheed Electras.
1942 - 1945 (during World War II), The Navy took over command of the airport, although civilian air service continued. The Navy constructed two new airfields and lengthened the existing two. A terminal and control tower were built in the 1950's.
1965, the commercial jet age swept into the Pensacola Municipal Airport with the touchdown of an Eastern Air Lines Boeing 727.
2008, the Pensacola Regional Airport is renamed as the Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport.
2011, Pensacola's Mayor Ashton Hayward announced that the Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport will now be the Pensacola International Airport.
Pensacola International Airport, historically known as Hagler Field, is an international public airport located 3 miles northeast of Downtown Pensacola.
Pensacola Regional Airport covers 1,211 acres and has two runways:
Runway 17/35: 7,004 x 150 ft., Runway 8/26: 7,000 x 150 ft. and both are of Asphalt.
The airport terminal currently has 12 gates.
The airport is owned by the City of Pensacola, and is located wholly within the city limits, east of 12th Avenue/Tippin Avenue and north of Summit Boulevard. According to the Airport's web site, Pensacola Regional Airport is the "fastest growing airport between New Orleans and Jacksonville". The airport served 1.5 million passengers in 2004.
The following are the airlines that have or are active at the Pensacola International Airport:
National Airlines/Airways, Eastern Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, US Airways (US Air), AirTrans Airways, United Express Airways,
American Eagle Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Silver Airways and UPS (United Parcel Service).
No airport is ever finished. To this day, Pensacola International Airport continues to be reshaped as it adapts to new markets, new aircraft, and new technologies.
So, here ya go... the THEN & NOW of the Pensacola Airport
This is Cary, he's the Master Bartender. Both Mark and Cary are not only GREAT at what they do, they are really good company!
Don't overlook the employees there, they are super! Mind you, this is said while being sober or "way happy". Pensacola Bay Brewery is AWESOME!!!
Above and to the right is Mark, he is the Brew Master. Not only a true master at his craft, he is a funny and down to earth guy! A stop by the Pensacola Bay Brewery is nothing short of AWESOME! It's in the Pensacola Historical Village on the southwest corner of Zaragoza Street and Adams Street, right across from the oldest church in Florida on it's original foundation. That being the old Christ Church (church services are no longer held there).
We just checked out what's to the left side, so now let's go to the right side.
1918, Naval personnel marching to World War 1. They are marching north on Palafox and the photograph was taken from the east side of the street.
Carrying on what was touched on in the 1559 - 1821 page, regarding Andrew Jackson, John Henry "DOC" Holliday and a bit more.
1935, dead centered on its ORIGINAL location
THEN - 1783, Main Street & Spring Street
Now, here's a little bit more history of Mr. Panton and his house as you see it today. This is a lot more than the The Bliss Magazine could write and publish. There aren't too many locals that have a clue as to what this house is or was. Most think it is just something built to cover over water pipes for the Blanchard Judicial Building. Well, here you go with more THEN and NOW. William Panton was the master tradesman of the ENTIRE Atlantic Seaboard AND the ENTIRE Gulf Coast. The house seen above to the left was built in 1783. He was both liked and respected as he continued to prosper. He established trade with countries across the globe; America (obviously), Spain, Great Britain, France, Africa, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Germany, Russia, Sweden and, yes, the American Indians too. He died at sea in 1801. BUT, he had a will and the property was deeded to his family. As Pensacola grew, the family sold the land to the City for a nominal cost. As noted in the article from The Bliss Magazine, his house had fallen into an untenable condition as it was not rebuilt after its fire. With respect and honor towards William Panton and his family the City rebuilt the home and placed it in the exact center of its former location. Here is what most people don't know. Albeit it is his house, it is obviously not in its original size. It was built 1/16 to scale. So, no it is not a house that was built for Santa's Elves to have a summer vacation spot. It's just a miniture of the house and is marked with a bronze historic marker (not a National Historic Waymarker).
Let's head back to the heart of Downtown.
This is where the address's begin, that being in the City AND the County.
Palafox Street and Garden Street
But, to do so we must head east bound on Garden Street.
Dismantled in the early 1990's and
the new highrise bridge took its place.
Alger-Sullivan "Old 100", 2013
Alger-Sullivan "Old 100", 1923
Log Slide used on the Bay, 1898
The Wildwood being loaded by L&N, 1916
The Steamer Peerless, 1883
Lumber gathering in the north end, 1912
Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company began in 1899 in the north end of Escambia County. In the mid-to-late 1800s, and even all the way into the mid 1900s, the pine forests of South Alabama were prime sources of lumber for the booming economy of the United States and much of the rest of the world. Lumber producing mills seemed to spring up all over. Two of the larger mills in South Alabama were the W.T. Smith mill, in Chapman, Alabama, now defunct, and the T.R. Miller mill in Brewton, Alabama, still in operation. The lumber mill was the beginning point of Century, Florida. It was the Alger-Sullivan Lumber Mill that gave it it's beginning, as the community was founded because of the many mill workers that had their homes there. Martin Sullivan had over 200,000 acres that covered four counties!
No photograph of him has been found, but he when he passed away he was laid to rest at St. Michael's Cemetery downtown. Seeing as the mill and its community began at the turn of the century (1800's to the 1900's), this is how and why the town named Century. The Alger-Sullivan Lumber Company was dissolved in 1957. The oldest locomotive the mill used that is still around is the "Old 100". This is a Baldwin 2-6-2 locomotive and is on display at the Boxcar Museum in Century.
1915, The Steamer Charles S. Cessna is in port loading mail and supplies.
1889 Lumber Wharf on the Bay
The following is of the major incidents that have occurred concerning some of the jets on or using the Pensacola Airport.
Maureen O'Hara, on the "Wings of Eagles" movie set. She was named Miss Naval Aviation while filming at NAS Pensacola.
The new main gate in 2006.
The photo below is right next door, to the left, of the photo above.
Although it is right up to Main Street, the front entrance is on Commendencia Street.
Pardon the cloudy haze. When I took the pic it
was a rainy overcast day. In the same location as
the photo to left you can see the NOW. This is the
Holiday Inn Express. Although it is new, in 2009
the city mandated ordinance that ALL newly
constructed buildings will be built to the appearance
of the late 19th to the early 20th century. It's safe to
say it works. I obviously took a closer photo on a
nice and sunny day so you could see it better and A LOT more close up.
Thomas Albert Jennings built the building and started the Jennings Naval Stores Company in 1910. He was also well versed to political
affair and was chair of the Pensacola Board of Public Works in 1909. In 1910, he was elected to represent Escambia County in the Florida
House of Representatives and was Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in 1911. He was also a director of the Gulf, Florida,
and Alabama Railway. I guess with all of this he could afford to build the building and start his business. To the NOW side, the building has
more than one business occupant and has for many decades. The interior may have changed, but the exterior remains the same.
1905, Dave Dannheiser, his wife and two sons
Pensacola is actually a High Risk area for tornadoes and water spouts. A water spout is a tornado on the water and doesn't make land fall. According to records that began taking place in 1950, the largest tornado in the Pensacola area was an F3 in 2001. Albeit an F3 there were 0 injuries and 0 deaths. Tornado risk is calculated from the destruction path that occurred within 30 miles of the location. The 2001 F3 tornado is the strongest recorded tornado, but NOT the deadliest. The worst one was an F3 that came through in 1962 causing 100 injuries and 17 deaths. The FIRST F3 happened in 1956, but (thankfully) only 1 person was injured and there were NO deaths. An F3 tornado is the largest tornado that has ever hit Pensacola. But, there have been quite a few F1's and F2's. It's easy to see that Pensacola gets at least one tornado ALMOST every year. NOT EVERY YEAR, JUST ALMOST. We will skip a year every now and then. A vast amount of our tornado history can be found at...
1879, Doc Holliday
NOW - Floridatown Park 2015
THEN - Floridatown - Ferry Pass in the mid to late 1800's
Doc Holliday arrived in Pensacola in 1873. Well, he was dropped off from the Pensacola Georgia Railroad in Santa Rosa County's Floridatown. Per the railroad porter, he told him he must take a ferry to get to Pensacola, because from July to November the trains could not make entry into downtown and all ships were quaratined for 1 month at the Navy Yard. This was due to Yellow Fever. Porter told him that a ferry ride was the only way to get into town and it cost 2 bits. Speaking to the Porter he stated, "It looks like paradise, like heaven almost."
When he made his way into Pensacola, he stayed at the Tivoli High House. This was a two story inn and Pensacola's FIRST DANCE HALL being built in 1805. While there, he ventured over to South Palafox Street going into the Grand Prize Saloon-Grocery-Ship Supply. Mind you, this was in the hay day of Pensacola's port. The biggest and busiest port in America and there were LOTS of sailors to give them business. This saloon was full of sailors drinking, gambling and looking to hook up with a "streetwalker" (modern day prostitute).
While playing poker, a sailor across from him had a streetwalker on his lap. He noticed she was VERY young. After watching her disturbed expressions
Doc pulled his pistol on the drunk gambling sailor telling him this was by no means proper. He then realized he was the only gentleman in the saloon. He was jumped from behind being punched and kicked. Hearing the fight, the owner of the saloon came in and broke it up. Telling Doc to leave because he was not going to have anyone come in and ruin his business. If he didn't leave he was going to call Port Authority. Upon leaving he was given his pistol back by order of the owner and he returned to Tivoli High House. When the ship headed for Galveston, Texas docked at Commendencia Port he boarded. The ship was the tall ship Golden Dream.
1931, this is the Baldwin "Praire" 2-4-2 T Coal/Water Engine. T.R. Miller Mill's Locomotive Engine, located at Pensacola Historical Village.
The T. R. Miller Mill Company, Inc. is one of the oldest, privately held, forest product companies in business today. Built in 1848, the original mill was one of the first permanent sawmills in the South. The mill transported logs and then floated the sawn timbers down the Escambia River to Pensacola, Florida for export to the rest of the country and around the world. In 1927, the treated pole and piling division was added, and is now one of the 10 largest producers of poles in the U. S. This sawmill has operated continuously since 1872, and today is one of the 150 largest sawmills in the U. S. since 1903. The mill was and is in Escambia County, Alabama. This is in the town of Brewton. As you can see that's Escambia County Alabama. Yep, when Florida became a new State of the United States all that area was part of Florida's FIRST COUNTY...ESCAMBIA. This portion of Pensacola's history can be gone over on the 1559 - 1821 Page.
I just made mention of where the paper mill is... Cantonment. Cantonment actually had it's start at Bayou Chico in downtown off of West Navy Blvd. I shared this bit of historic information with you on the 1559-1821 page. This gets into a closer look at a few areas regarding the Florida Territory before the United States purchased the Florida Territory in 1821. Here ya go.
After the Red Stick Creek Indians were defeated at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, there was a migration of refugees to Spanish West Florida. The presence of the Creek refugees had motivated Captain George Woodbine (whom I have not found a photo of) to travel to Pensacola in July 1814. Woodbine's liaisons with the refugees and the Spanish governor Mateo Gonzáles Manrique (also, whom I have not found a photo of) of Pensacola would subsequently lead to the British having a military presence at Pensacola from August 23,1814, initially occupying Fort San Miguel (Fort George) and the town/port/bay itself. The potency of the British force, and its perceived ability to see off any American forces were leveraged by Edward Nicolls in his negotiations with the Spanish. Woodbine and Nicolls were the two senior officers of the Royal Colonial Marines in Florida. Let's preceed, shall we. Read this historical waymarker that is on the location where this bit of history occured and who was invovled.
The Fair progressed for over 20 years at the Fairfield Drive location until that property was sold for a local development. In 1968, the Fair purchased the piece of property on Highway 90 that is just north of Fairfield Drive at 6655 Mobile Highway. The fairgound was built from the ground up and the first Fair was held at this location in 1969. The Fair now owns over 170 acres of land at that site.
John E. Frenkel Jr. joined the Fair in July of 1963 as Assistant General Manager, Secretary, and Treasurer. He helped develop the Fair as the years passed and became the General Manager, Secretary, and Treasurer in 1975. During those years he also served as City Councilman from 1967 through 1977 and County Commissioner from 1978through 1982.
The Fair began with John E. Frenkel Sr., his wife Lillian, and 30 fair members. Over the years, the Pensacola Interstate Fair has become one of the finest and largest fairs in the United States with a staff of eight and more than 400 volunteers. Many volunteers are local clubs and individuals who serve to showcase a wonderful array of exhibits in six permanent, climate-controlled, exhibit buildings. It brings to Pensacola a stimulating, satisfying, stirring and sparkling celebration of education, entertainment and information. The Pensacola Interstate Fair receives praise locally and throughout the country. They are eminently proud to be a part of the economy and growth of Pensacola year after year…and proud to say, “The Fair is Good For Pensacola.” The Fair is, and has been, firmly established as a part of Pensacola’s community life and business.
Russell A. Alger
1850s – 1862 Hyer-Knowles Planing Mill
The Hyer-Knowles Planing mill was one of many lumber mills and factories constructed in Pensacola and vicinity prior to the Civil War. The bricks used in this chimney, for example, were produced by a local brick kiln operated by James Gonzales, part of a huge local brick industry required for the construction of coastal
forts such as Fort Pickens (over 21 million bricks were used for this fort alone). The large chimney is symbolic of the fact that this was a steam-powered mill, a
technology that supplanted earlier water-powered industries that thrived earlier at places such as Arcadia Mill (between Pace and Milton in Santa Rosa County).
In March of 1862 Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg (history of General Bragg is in Military in Pensacola 1) abandoned Pensacola. On order of Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin to 'Destroy all machinery, private and public, which could be useful to the enemy: especially disable the sawmills in and around the bay.' General Bragg in turn ordered the destruction of the mills in Pensacola so they could not be used by the United States forces that would soon occupy this town. The machinery of the Hyer-Knowles mill is reported to have been removed and placed on barges in Pensacola Bay, and the mill buildings burned. The barges carrying the machinery sank during a storm before they could be moved up river. On March 10th a thunderstorm and large waves sank the barges. That same night the Hyer-Knowles Mill was burned and all that is left is the chimney.' The mill was rebuilt in 1881 but unknown how long it was used after that.
It is the on Scenic Highway and Langley. “The Chimney Restaurant” on Scenic Highway and Langley Avenue was well visited in the mid 19th century, but was gone by the late 1960's, early 1970's. At the time it was a popular place for fast food, beer, etc.
Here are just a few of the BIG NAMED persons from back THEN, that came to Pensacola through the airport.
This photo was taken from the newly constructed Seville Tower, Florida's FIRST highrise. Right about the center of the photo
you can see what used to be there. This was Gonzalo Ship and
Shipping Goods Warehouse. Ships coming to Pensacola from
around our Country and around the world often needed new
(replacement) or extra supplies and hardware for loading the
cargo aboard their ship. I'm not sure when they closed or even
when the building was torn down, but I do know the lot was
completely baron until 2019.
Know the difference! A TORNADO WATCH is when a tornado is very likely to occur in the area. Always make sure your family knows where the safe
room is and has all the needed supplies in case of an emergency. A TORNADO WARNING is when a tornado has been spotted or a weather radar is
showing signs of one in the area. This means your life and your property could be in great danger and it is important to seek immediate shelter.
THEN, late 1800's
2020 at 401 South Palafox Place
The building was built in 1884, but no found photos of the
building or of Dannheisser Saloon. The saloon opened in
1885 and lasted about 25 to 30 years. This is now Don Alan's
Apperal Store. The gas lights on the balcony are original to the
building when it was first built... and are still operational.
2016, this is the NOAA weather radar of the F3 Tornado Warning that caused all of the damage and injuries to the Pensacola area.
2019, The same view point looking up Palafox Place towards the Theissen Building. But, this is from the west side looking east.
MORE HISTORY OF PENSACOLA'S BAD WEATHER!!!
It's not just hurricanes that everyone should be aware of! This is our history of...
2015 in the north end of Escambia County
The upper left of the photo above, you can see what the building was. If you guessed Coca-Cola, you are correct! THAT'S RIGHT! Tell 'em what
they've won Bob. Haha, Yes I'm kidding. It was the Coca-Cola wholesale distribution and storage warehouse. Now, in the photo on the right, it
houses a couple, to a few, different companies. Just like the Jennings Naval Stores pic and this one...times change, the building hasn't.
Now, stepping back to the THEN and NOW, let's see more of the changes in time.