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Tallahassee Florida

History

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During the 19th century the institutions that would eventually be combined into what is now known as Florida State University were established in Tallahassee, firmly cementing it as a university town. These including the Tallahassee Female Academy and the Florida Institute (founded 1854). In 1851 the Florida legislature decreed two seminaries to be built on either side of the Suwanee River, East Florida Seminary and West Florida Seminary. In 1855 West Florida Seminary was transferred to the Florida Institute building. In 1858 the seminary absorbed the Tallahassee Female Academy and became coeducational.

Following the Civil War, much of Florida's industry moved to the south and east, a trend that continues today. The end of slavery hindered the cotton and tobacco trade, and the state's major industries shifted to citrus, lumber, naval stores, cattle ranching and tourism. The post-Civil War period was also when many former plantations in the Tallahassee area were purchased by wealthy northerners for use as winter hunting preserves. This included the hunting preserve of Henry L. Beadel, who bequeathed his land for the study of the effects of fire on wildlife habitat. Today, the preserve is known as the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, nationally recognized for its research into fire ecology and the use of prescribed burning.

Florida State Capitol; Showing modern Capitol Tower under construction Until World War II, Tallahassee remained a small southern town, with virtually the entire population living within 1 mile of the Capitol. The main economic drivers were the universities and state government, where politicians met to discuss spending money on grand public improvement projects to accommodate growth in places such as Miami and Tampa Bay, hundreds of miles away from the capital. By the 1960s, there was a movement to transfer the capital to Orlando, closer geographically to the growing population centers of the state. That motion was defeated, however, and the 1970s saw a long-term commitment by the state to the capital city with construction of the new capitol complex and preservation of the old Florida State Capitol building.

In 1977, a 23-story high-rise Capitol building designed by architect Edward Durell Stone was completed, which is now the third-tallest state capitol building in the U.S. In 1978 the old capitol was scheduled for demolition, but the State Of Florida decided to keep the Old Capitol as a museum and point of interest. The new and old capitols still stand to this day in Tallahassee.