Uncategorized Archaeology, Archaeotourism, Civil War, DeSoto Encampment, Florida, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Heritage Tourism, Hike, Kayak, Lack Jackson Mound State Park, Mission San Luis, Old Fort Park, Olustee Battlefield State Park, Outdoors, Tallahassee, Travel
he North Central Region of Florida is a beautiful and unique area. The area has been a tourist destination for a long time now, and many people come here to view wildlife, visit the beaches and springs, and enjoy the outdoors.
Mission San Luis in Tallahassee
Well, the very things that attract people to this area today were responsible for attracting people to this area throughout history and prehistory. It is amazing how many archaeological and heritage sites around here are open to the public. The great thing about it is that there is a site available to suit almost any interest! You can visit prehistoric mounds built by early Native American cultures, or check out a Civil War or Seminole War era fort, and of course, don’t forget that we have a recreated Spanish Mission-period sites with living history programs (all of which is based on archaeological and historical information, and reconstructed on the actual archaeological site)! There is much more here as well, and more is becoming available as time goes on.
Lake Jackson Mound and picnic area.
The great thing about archaeotourism and eco-tourism is that they easily go hand-in-hand. One example of the many that I could choose from is Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park. At Lake Jackson you can climb an ancient Indian mound that looks out over beautiful Lake Jackson, and then you can go for a hike along one of their nature trails. The wildlife and history are abundant at this park, like so many others in the North Central Region. Is the Civil War more you cup of tea? Well then, take a day trip to Olustee Battlefield State Park or San Marco de Apalache, or how about Natural Bridge? Again, you can learn about history and experience Florida’s beautiful natural landscape.
The great thing about archaeotourism in the North Central Region, and throughout Florida as well, you never have to travel far to find something new to learn about or to create lasting memories. These archaeological and heritage sites are everywhere! For example, just around the corner from the FPAN North Central Office, and in the middle of a suburban neighborhood, there is a Civil War fort. For that matter, my office is sitting on top of the DeSoto Encampment Site and the office building is part of the Governor Martin Property, which is
Hiking trail at Olustee Battlefield State Park
listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
You might just find yourself amazed at the history and prehistory that surrounds you! So the next time you have a few moments check out our website, www.flpublicarchaeology.org, and use the tools on the website to find some true and unique Florida history near you. Each region has a
Old Fort Park, Tallahassee
listing of sites located in that region, and you can also check out “Destination: Civil War” to find Civil War related sites in your area. Love the outdoors? Well, then load up the kayaks or the mountain bikes, strap on the hiking boots and visit a heritage site near you!
Uncategorized African Americans, Battle of Natural Bridge, Battle Reenactment, Capital, Civil War, Confederates, Destination: Civil War, Florida, Florida History, Florida Public Archaeology Netowork, Florida State Parks, Google Earth, Google Maps, John G. Riley House Museum, John Gilmore Riley, Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park, Natural Bridge Historical Society, Second Regiment United States Colored Troops, Tallahassee, Tourism, Travel, Union, United States Colored Troops, Woodville
The 34th reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge
During the final weeks of the Civil War, the Battle of Natural Bridge prevented Tallahassee from being taken by Union Troops. Tallahassee was the only capital city east of the Mississippi River to not fall into Union hands during the Civil War. Many people, from many different backgrounds fought on both sides at this battle. However, not many people realize that African American Soldiers fought and led the charge in the battle. Under Union General John Newton, troops from the Second and Ninety-ninth U.S. Colored Infantry Regiments fought in the Battle of Natural Bridge. In this battle the Union lost twenty-one men and the Confederates lost three men, with many more men on both sides being injured or captured. The site of this historic battle is now owned by the state and is open to the public as a Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park. Every year, in March, a reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge takes place at this park.
2nd Regiment USCT
This last reenactment on March 6 was special for several reasons. First, March 6th is the actual date the battle took place in 1865. It is also significant for one other, very historic reason. As mentioned, African American troops fought and led the charge in this battle. These men were members of the Second and the Ninety-ninth Regiments United States Colored Troops (USCT). This year the John Gi. Riley and House Museum of African American History and Culture, along with the Natural Bridge Historical Society, formed the Second Infantry Regiment USCT to participate in the reenactment. This was an effort to assure the authenticity and accuracy of the battle as it actually occurred on March 6th, 1865.
The John G. Riley House Museum’s mission is to preserve the cultural and educational history of African Americans in the Tallahassee area and in Florida. The Riley house was named in honor of John Gilmore Riley. Riley was a prominent member in the African American community in Tallahassee. In 1857 he was born into slavery, but he died a millionare in 1954. The Jonh G. Riley House Museum is open to the public, and for more information about the museum you can visit their website at www.rileymuseum.org.
The reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge is held each year in March to commemorate this significant event in Florida’s history. To learn more about this battle you can visit the Natural Bridge Historical Society’s website at www.nbhscso.com or the Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park’s website at http://www.floridastateparks.org/naturalbridge/. Also, don’t forget that the Florida Public Archaeology Network has launched our Civil War internet resource, “Destination: Civil War”. Here you can learn about Natural Bridge and other Civil War heritage sites in Florida. From “Destination: Civil War” you can also see the locations of sites throughout Florida via Google Maps or Google Earth. So check it out, you may just find a site near you or a great destination for your next road trip!