Lures and Legends: Learn about Tallahassee’s History while Playing Pokemon Go

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So I know that we have a bunch of Pokemon Go fans out there, so we have decided to have some fun with it to help promote heritage tourism and hopefully make our followers aware of some places they may not have

Follow us on Facebook to see where we will be dropping the next lure!

Follow us on Facebook to see where we will be dropping the next lure!

visited before. According to a study published in 2010 by the State of Florida, Department of State, heritage tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. Here in Tallahassee we have a wealth of heritage sites. So get out your phone, open up your Pokemon Go app and get ready to explore some of them! Many sites in the area have poke stops and gyms! Mission San Luis, for example, has 17 stops and two gyms! If you haven’t been to Mission San Luis yet, then what are you waiting for?! It is an amazing living history museum and now you have one more reason to visit.

Saturday, July 23 2016, from 9am-1pm we will be dropping lures near The Edison in Cascades Park. Stop by our table to learn about all the various historic sites in Tallahassee that have stops and gyms. While there you can explore Cascades Park, which has a very rich history, and perhaps stop in at The Edison for a delicious brunch!  You can follow us on our facebook page to learn of other places we will be dropping lures in the coming weeks. There is a good chance that you will learn of places you didn’t know existed!

pokemon

The DeSoto Winter Encampment Site is the location of a Pokemon Go gym.

With that being said, we need to caution you. All historic sites are non-renewable resources. While searching for stops and gyms is harmless, we urge you to be aware of your surroundings and to be respectful of the sites you are visiting. The Old City Cemetery in downtown Tallahassee has six stops and we encourage you to go check out this amazing historic cemetery, but keep in mind that it is a place of rest for some of our most notable residents from history and is deserving of respect. Likewise, some places are only open at certain hours or require a minimal entrance fee. Please be respectful of that. In the case of entrance fees, those fees are used to help support that site. As for hours of operation,  they are in place not only for the safety and security of the site, but also for your safety as well. So go out and enjoy, but please be respectful of our communities wonderful (and non-renewable) historic resources!

As a side note, our office at the DeSoto Winter Encampment is the site of a gym. If you stop by, come on into our office and say hi! If you are visiting during office hours, M-F 8-5 there is more information about the site inside the Governor Martin House/Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research.

 

The Tallahassee Old City Cemetery

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Yellow fever victims are buried in these graves.

This past Saturday, as many of you know, we hosted a tour of the Old City Cemetery in Tallahassee. It was a great success, due in large part to our great tour guide, Erik Robinson!

We had about 35 people attend and I have received a ton of good reviews! I like to think of historic cemeteries as outdoor museums. There is so much history to be learned at these sites, and this cemetery is no exception. This cemetery is the oldest public cemetery in Tallahassee, established in 1829 during Florida’s Territorial Period. It was later acquired by the city in 1840 and in 1841 it twas laid out in a system of squares and lots when a yellow fever epidemic swept through the city. During the time of it’s establishment it was actually located outside of the city, although now it is located downtown. The cemetery was bordered on its far side y a 200  foot wide clearing that surrounded the town to protect it from Indian attacks. The cemetery was segregated, the whites buried in the eastern sections and the African Americans buried in the western sections. Originally various religious denominations had their own plots, but there are few indications today of the Presbyterian and Catholic areas. The majority of the Jewish burials have since been moved to other cemeteries.

This is the final resting place for many men and women who contributed to the development of Tallahassee and the State of Florida. For a long time it was Tallahassee’s only

Constructed in 1890s, this platform is still used for memorial services.

public burial ground it represents a cross section of Tallahassee residents during the 19th century. As you walk through the cemetery you will recognize many names from Tallahassee and Florida’s rich history – James D. Wescott (Wescott Building at Florida State University), John G. Riley (his house is now a museum and the headquarters for the Tallahassee chapter of the NAACP), Thomas Vann Gibbs (founder of Florida State Normal Industrial School, now Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University)…well, you get the picture! I could go on and on. The graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers that fought in the Battles of Natural Bridge and Olustee are also buried in this cemetery. A platform was constructed next to the Confederate graves by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) in the 1890s. Today that same platform is still used to for commemorations and memorial services by the UDC.

Memorial Service at the Old City Cemetery in the early 1900s.

Early Tallahassee was small and frontier-like. People had to make do with what they had and what was locally available. Many of the earliest graves were marked with wood head and footboards, which have since degraded and disappeared. The last plot was sold in 1902 and the cemetery is full, although many graves have no marker above ground anymore. During the Territorial Period there are newspaper accounts of hogs and cattle roaming through the cemetery and running over the graves. There are also articles complaining about the unkept appearance of the cemetery. Today there is a fence around the cemetery and it underwent a major restoration in 1991, with financial support from the Florida Department of State. This project was sponsored and administered by the Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board. Unfortunately, due to limited funding not all of the gravemarkers in the cemetery were restored. They were able to restore the majority of those that had been badly damaged by vandalism and weathering. Unfortunately since the time of the restoration many of the monuments have been victims of vandalism once again! The cemetery is open to the public for visitation during daylight hours.

The marker for the oldest marked grave in the cemetery now lays face down in the dirt because of vandalism.

Another cemetery, located immediately north of this one, the St. Johns Episcopal Cemetery is also open to the public. We encourage you to visit these historic sites, however, please be aware that they are non-renewable historic resources that provide much valuable historical information about their community. They also provide valuable green space for both people and wildlife. Please be respectful and be sure not to damage any of the monuments. Although they are constructed of stone and metal and other very durable material, they are very old and very fragile.

If you are not able to make a trip to this cemetery, we have posted a photo tour on our Facebook page !

Join Us for a Tour of the Tallahassee Old City Cemetery on December 8th

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Many people drive b y the Old City Cemetery every day on their way to or from work, but have never taken the time to explore it. Historic cemeteries are wonderful outdoor museums that provide a unique look at a communities history. The Old City Cemetery is located between Call Street and Park Avenue in downtown Tallahassee. It is the oldest public cemetery in the city. It was created in 1829  and acquired by the city in 1840. The ground was laid out in its system of squares and lots in 1841 when a violent yellow fever epidemic swept through the city and regulations were required to assure order and sanitation to protect the public. This cemetery is the final resting place for many of the men and women who contributed to both local and state history. We will be offering a FREE  tour of the cemetery on December 8th at 2pm.  We hope that you will consider joining us in taking time to explore and learn about this local historic landmark.