Friday, October 25, 2013

America's First Settlement: Pensacola

I had a class in Pensacola yesterday.  I always manage to squeeze in something fun, even if I am supposed to be working. ;)  Pensacola claims to be America's first settlement.  I know there are lots of cities that claim that title, but I think P'cola has the most legit bid.  It was settled in 1559, 50 years before Jamestown.  There's some really cool historical stuff in Pensacola.  Obviously, it's a big Naval hub.  The city was protected by 4 forts in it's history:  Barrancas, Pickens, McRee, and Redoubt (or Advanced Redoubt).  Pensacola is often called the city of five flags because it was ruled by five different countries throughout it's history.  Those countries include Spain (three times), France, Great Britain, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America (twice).  The settlement was called a few different names over it's history, the last of which was Panzacola by order of Spanish King Ferdinand VI in 1757.  Pretty much my favorite place in Pensacola is the Plaza Ferdinand VII at Palafox and Government Streets.  There is a bust of Andrew Jackson at the place where he was inaugurated as the first territorial governor of the Florida Territory after the territory was ceded to the US by Spain.  How cool is that?  It's become a bit of a tradition for me to take my picture with Andrew (who I call my homeboy or Andrew.  My friends just take Andrew to mean Andrew Jackson any time he's mentioned in the same breath as Pensacola.)  It's hard to take selfies, but here's the one I got today. Soooo bad.

Andrew insisted I get his good side.
There are always squirrels running around and under your feet in the Plaza.  I like to think this squirrel was saying, "Please take my picture.  Please take my picture!!"
There is a fountain at one end of the plaza, Andrew at the other end, and a big obelisk in the center.
City Hall (I think?  Gah.  I should know that!!) at the corner of Government & Palafox as viewed from Plaza de Ferdinand VII.
OHAI!  Is there a party?  Why. . . 

YES!!  Yes, there is a party on Palafox!

Not a chalk party. Or a music party.  Or even a drinking party.  (Though there was lots and lots of all those things.)

It's a party to celebrate Palafox's greatness.  Seriously.  The American Planning Association recently designated Palafox Street as one of the 10 best streets of 2013.  So what else is a town to do if not throw a party to celebrate the greatness of one of it's streets?  Yeah.  I got nothing.

I wish I had more cool pictures to show you of that, but I was pretty tired after the class and I only stuck around the Greatness Party for about 45 minutes.  Here are some photos I took at the Pensacola Crowne Plaza Hotel, which is actually built around the L&N Passenger Depot & Express Office (train station).  The lobby of the hotel is the old train station.  I took some photos of photos of old P'Cola and I'll try to elaborate on the photos as best I can.
American Planning Association (APA) announced the designation of Palafox Street as one of 10 Great Streets for 201

Read More at:
the American Planning Association (APA) announced the designation of Palafox Street as one of 10 Great Streets for 2013

Read More at:
the American Planning Association (APA) announced the designation of Palafox Street as one of 10 Great Streets for 2013

Read More at:

Pensacola Lighthouse

Pensacola City Hall facing Plaza Ferdinand VII (see, I was right with the above!!), circa 1910.  The clock tower in the photo I took yesterday was moved to city hall sometime in the last 50 years or so.

This is Palafox north to Wright Street..  Plaza Ferdinand VII is in the bottom right corner.  Circa 1927.

This is the Blount Building and Hotel San Carlos at Garden and Palafox Streets, circa 1912.  I love the "drive in!"

Fountain and library in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza.  The fountain was just looking pretty and not actually fountaining.

National Geographics.  I so wanted to stick one or three in my purse.  I would love to read how we viewed the world 25 and 30 years ago.

Who doesn't need all the editions of the Florida Digest?

Or the Florida Statutes?

I love this chair and I want one.  You will be mine, oh yes, you will be mine.  This looks like the Edwardian style, though I'm no furniture expert.  Thanks so much Art Humanities!

The windows are what connect the original train station with the new hotel.  The train station is two stories.  The hotel is fifteen.  

(wish I'd cropped this one) This gorgeous stained glass clock sits in the lobby.  It has three clocks, which I guess is useful to show the times in different locations (New York, Pensacola, and Chicago perhaps?) It would be cool to find out if this clock was original to the train station.  It says "antique clock attached to the train station" and I would like to know more than that!!  I'll have to do some digging.

And on that note, I gotta wrap this up.  Time's zipping by!  Happy Friday and have a fabulous weekend!


  1. Go to and you can get up close history. Or next time you are downtown check out Emerald Coast Tours and ride around the Pensacola Historical District (actually all over) on a Segway!

    1. I walk past the Emerald Coast Tours store front whenever I'm walking around downtown. I should do that one day!