Society Notes

This page contains the announcements and details for the THS year 2009 - 2010.

Approved Minutes for May 16, 2015 THS Meeting

posted Jul 13, 2015, 9:02 PM by Romas S   [ updated Jul 13, 2015, 9:03 PM ]

May 16, 2015 Annual Picnic and Election Meeting of the Tallahassee Historical Society

This year’s picnic was held on a day of good weather, in the yard of President Dave Lang, on his and Mary Alma’s 1829 farm northeast of Tallahassee. Rabbi Stanley Garfein led a prayer before we started eating. After much tasty food was consumed and many histories exchanged, Dave called the business part of the meeting to order. Dave thanked the Board for all their work this past year. He mentioned that we had several good programs this year, including Vice President Diane Whitney‘s performance at Knott House, Bill Leseman’s lesson on the history of Tallahassee’s WaterWorks, Mary May’s presentation on a lesser-known history of African Americans in Tallahassee; somebody added that Dave did a good presentation on the Leon County Courthouse as well. David reminded us of the record turnout for the Sims murders program (which overflowed the City Council Chambers), and he looks forward to more programs like that in coming years.

The minutes of the April meeting were approved. The treasurer’s report mentioned that after the previous balance of $4,174.16, $160 in dues was deposited, minus $30.41 for buying checks, leaving a balance of $4,303.75.

We heard about progress on getting the WaterWorks building for The Museum of Tallahassee History from Mary May and Dave Lang. They met with the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency’s Executive Director Roxanne Manning. Mary was directed to go see other Departments all over the City. The City has plans, but nobody has moved in yet. They advise that we think small for now, using one of several small buildings available near Cascades on Gaines. Plan budgets on a small scale. Dave is more optimistic. COCA had their eye on the building after we announced our interest in December. Dave thinks that COCA now wants the old Coca Cola plant on S Monroe instead. Alva asked if a committee will start a plan? Dave asked Jay Revell of Downtown Tallahassee, and Roger Crawford of Springtime Tallahassee, and asked that we all come up with more suggestions for folks to sit on a community committee. We need an archivist and architect and grant writer. We also need clout. And we can work over the summer even though our membership won't meet until October. First we answer: will we have a history museum? If so, then where? For Tallahassee’s 2024 bicentennial, we want to be there and near Cascades.

New business: Claude Kenneson read the candidates from the nominating committee. Dave Lang for President again, Diane Whitney for Vice-president again, Romas Sparkis for new Secretary and Alva Stone for Treasurer again. Claude will be Past-President again (or President for Life, as suggested by Dave) Lynn McLarty is a new candidate for At-Large Board Member as is Maurice Majszak. Rabbi Stanley Garfein moved we elect the slate and Mary Alma Lang seconded. The officers were elected by acclamation.

Alva announced she has forms for new members, and will take cash or checks for annual dues. Guests who were brought included Tish with Craig Willis. Wade Birch introduced ‘another bride named Rita’, who accompanied him. Dr Will Guzmán said he teaches and brought his bride. Shirley brought her groom. Mary May thanked Dave's bride for their hospitality and wonderful picnic. There being no further business, dessert ensued.

Minutes drafted by Romas Sparkis,
THS Secretary

Approved Minutes for April 9, 2015 THS Meeting

posted Jun 2, 2015, 10:25 PM by Romas S   [ updated Jun 2, 2015, 10:32 PM ]

Tallahassee Historical Society Minutes for April 9, 2015

President Dave Lang called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm. New members of the THS were asked to stand and introduce themselves and two did. Dave announced that we had six new members total from our March meeting and 132 e-mails received about it. We had five guests.

Betty Green from the Wakulla County Historical Society spoke briefly of their restoration efforts and invited all present to a fundraiser scheduled for April 25, 2015 at Wakulla High School. Their next meeting is April 14 in the library south of Crawfordville.

Alva gave the Treasurer’s Report: beginning balance was $4768.95, ending balance $4704.16.

The February and March minutes were voted on and accepted.


Mary May reminded us all that today is the 150th anniversary of the surrender of General Lee to General Grant at Appomattox Courthouse and the 73rd anniversary of the fall of Bataan to the Japanese army.

She then told us that we have the tentative support of some city officials for our planned Museum of Tallahassee History, and have been presented with other options for the site if the Waterworks building is not available. Board members will hear a presentation from Dave & Mary this month on the issue. Members are urged to show commitment to the project – Dave has a meeting scheduled with the Springtime Tallahassee organization. The Tallahassee Garden Club and Kiwanis were recommended as possible partners.

Minutes Submitted by Laura Jernigan,

THS Secretary

Approved Minutes for March 12, 2015 THS Meeting

posted May 16, 2015, 10:56 AM by Romas S   [ updated May 16, 2015, 11:32 AM ]

Tallahassee Historical Society

Meeting Minutes

March 12, 2015

The monthly meeting of the Tallahassee Historical Society was called to order at 7:04 pm on March 12 in the chambers of the Tallahassee City Commission by President Dave Lang. Due to the special occasion and many guests, the business part of the meeting was not held.

The Commission Chambers were full.  Dave encouraged all in attendance to join the THS and gave a run-down of our plans for the Museum of Tallahassee History. Dave then introduced our guest speaker Henry Cabbage, author of the book “Tales of Historic Tallahassee”. Mr. Cabbage gave a lecture on the murder of the Sims family of Tallahassee and showed some taped footage of a possible suspect in the case. Afterwards he answered questions from the audience and friends of the Sims family.

Present in addition to Society members were representatives from the Wakulla County Historical Society, former Leon County Sheriff Eddie Boone and law enforcement personnel including a former investigator and prosecutor, and Rocky Bevis.

Our next meeting will be held on Thursday, April 9 at 7:00 pm at the Governor Martin House. The Wakulla County Clerk of Court is the scheduled speaker.


Kelly Crocker was referred to the state Library Special Collections or the Archives Genealogy Section for a transcription of Parochial Records of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Lynn McLarty, doing research on Pilgrim Congregational Church, which was located where the Civic Center is now, was provided information from the Tallahassee Daily Democrat.

Diane Whitney asked for Democrat material documenting Liberty War Bonds sold in Tallahassee in 1917, during World War 1. The Bonds had a connection to Luella Knott who recited a couple of poems at a Liberty Bonds drive at Florida State College for Women that year. Diane was going to address the Caroline Brevard Chapter of the DAR and recite one of the poems. She wanted to learn as much as she could about the poem for the presentation.

Beth LaCivita sought information on Gramling’s, which was about to celebrate its Centennial. She also was interested in Tallahassee city markets. Supplied.

Barbara Cotton, retired FAMU dean, is putting together a history of Bethel AME Church for a celebration of their 150th anniversary. Mary May put her in touch with Claude, who found some of the material she will need.


The Latter Day Saints held a Family Discovery Day on March 7 at their church on Stadium Drive.

On March 7th and 8th, a reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge was held at the 1865 battle site near Woodville to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle.

Gramling, Inc. held its Centennial celebration on March 14. Included was a historical walking tour of downtown Tallahassee conducted by Beth LaCivita.

Minutes submitted by: Laura Jernigan, THS Secretary

Approved Minutes for February 12, 2015 THS Meeting

posted May 16, 2015, 9:58 AM by Romas S   [ updated May 16, 2015, 10:53 AM ]

Minutes of the February 12, 2015 Tallahassee Historical Society meeting. 

The meeting was called to order by President Dave Lang at 7:00. Three new members were introduced: Lonnie Mann, Abby Klein and Matt Lutz. Ten visitors were recognized and invited to join the THS. 

Gerald Ensley of the Tallahassee Democrat was in attendance and the Governor Martin House lobby was full.

Alva Stone gave the Treasurer’s Report. Our closing balance was $4759.00.

Minutes of the January meeting had been provided to all members via e-mail. They were voted on and accepted. 

Claude Kenneson announced some upcoming events including:

  February 13-22 replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships the Nina and Pinta will be docked at St. Marks and open to the public for tours from 9 am to 6 pm daily.

  March 1 at 2:00 pm a presentation of “Tales of Old Port Leon” will be given at the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge Education Building.

  March 7-8 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Natural Bridge in Woodville. Details of the reenactment and other activities are available on the website.

  February 21st at 1:00pm a dugout canoe made by FSU anthropology students will be launched at Maclay Gardens. Admission to the Gardens is free to those attending the launching.

  February 28th is the second annual Woodville Founders Festival. Details are available on the website.

Mary May announced a program on the Civil Rights movement to be held February 16th, 11:30 am at the downtown library. It will be sponsored by the Democratic Club of North Florida.

Laura Jernigan gave an update on Museum of Florida History events:

  February 13 at 5:30 pm a panel entitled “Paving the Way – Civil Rights Pioneers” 

  February 24 at noon a talk entitled “The African Diaspora in Florida”

  February 27th at 5:30 pm “Women in the Civil Rights Movement”

The Florida History Fair will be held on May 4th and the Museum welcomes anyone who wishes to judge or volunteer at the event. Please contact Trampas Alderman at 850-245-6400 to participate.

Dave Lang gave an update on the Museum of Tallahassee History project. The Waterworks building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Barbara Psimas proposed THS sell Christmas cards with drawing of historic Tallahassee locations as a fund-raiser.

Inquiries and Information Requests

Kelly Crocker of the Sons of Confederate Veterans sought the Civil War letters of Captain Rabun Scarborough who raised a unit in Gadsden County in 1861. He had checked area library catalogs but was unable to find it. He was told to come to the state library which does have a copy in the Florida Special Collection.

Knowing that the SCV puts up headstones for vets with no marker, Claude Kenneson informed him of an obituary for a Civil War soldier buried in Tallahassee’s Old City Cemetery, that of Sgt. Bull. Crocker believes he stands a good chance of qualifying for one. Also, a newspaper article mentioned the passing of another Confederate veteran L.P. Wilson in1922. Although his grave is located in Oakland Cemetery, nothing indicates he was a veteran. Crocker did some research but was unable to find documentation, because Wilson did not file for a pension in Florida. 

Beth LaCivita is doing research to coincide with the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of Gramling’s store (this  year). She also wanted information about the farmers’ markets in Tallahassee. Supplied. 

Authors in the THS were invited to participate in the World of South Music and Literary Festival to be held April 11 & 12, 2015 at Cascades Park. 

THS members were invited to a Cemetery Resource Protection Training workshop on January 29, 2015.

THS member Mary May gave the evenings’ interesting and informative presentation “The Forgotten Civil Rights Movement 1865-1890”.

Our next meeting will be held March 12 at 7:00. Henry Cabbage will speak on the 1966 murder of the Sims family of Tallahassee. Our meeting venue is TBD. {City Council Chambers}  

The meeting was adjourned.

Minutes provided by Laura Jernigan, THS Secretary

Approved Minutes from January 8, 2015 THS Meeting

posted Feb 25, 2015, 8:30 PM by Romas S   [ updated Feb 25, 2015, 8:41 PM ]

Minutes of Tallahassee Historical Society January 8, 2015 

The meeting was called to order by President Dave Lang at 7:00 p.m. Thirty-four people were in 

attendance, fourteen of them visitors including city Commissioner Nancy Miller and her husband. 

Alva Stone gave the Treasurer’s report – the Society’s balance as of January 7th is $4582.00.

Minutes from the December meeting were voted on and accepted by the membership.

Museum of Tallahassee History prospects and plans were discussed briefly.

Our speaker was William G. Leseman, former head of the Tallahassee Water Department. He spoke to us 

about the change from individuals obtaining water for personal use to water provision as a service 

offered by the City of Tallahassee.

Refreshments were enjoyed by all following the meeting. 


Gerald Ensley, writing an article on Beard Street for the Tallahassee Democrat sought information on 

Letitia Beard, for whom the street was named. Supplied.

Mike Herrin, horticulturalist at Goodwood, asked for information on William Hodges, former owner of 

Goodwood. Information supplied. 

James Rudd needed the death record or obituary of Overton  Dodd, who died on November 3, 1918. 

This was found in the Tallahassee Daily Democrat of November 4, 1918.

Shemele Jordon and her cousin Floyd from North Carolina spoke with Claude in April 2013. They are 

doing research on ancestors who were slaves of Noah L. Thompson. They want to return April of 2015. 

They were referred to the Black Archives Research Center at FAMU and the Black Archives in Miami.

We were invited to several events October 25. First was the memorial service and re-internment of CSA 

Pvt. Allen Scott in Rhodes Cemetery, Woodville, Fla. Another was the Lantern Festival celebrating the 

119th birthday of the Crooked River Lighthouse in Carrabelle Beach. Finally, International Archaeology 

Day was celebrated at San Marcos de Apalachee State Park.

PAST invited us to a presentation by Elizabeth A. Horvath with Archaeological Consultants, Inc. and 

James Dunbar, Consultant, entitled “Maps, Notes, LIDAR, Dip Vats and Old Indian Fields: Predictive 

Modeling in Southwest Florida” held on November 4th at the Martin House. 

On November 7th the Museum of Florida History opened the new exhibit “Civil Rights in the Sunshine 

State”. It will be on display through April 5th. A reception and featured talk by Dr. Robert Hayling was 

held on November 6th. Dr. Hayling was a leader of the civil rights movement in St. Augustine and worked 

with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

All newsletters and programs from the Panhandle Archaeological Society of Tallahassee (PAST), the 

Historic Capital Museum, the Riley House Museum, the Museum of Florida History, the Carrabelle 

Museum and the Knott House Museum will continue to be forwarded to THS members. All these 

newsletters will be included in the 2014-2015 Minutes and Correspondence which will be housed in the 

Archives at the end of the THS season. The only groups which henceforth will be highlighted will be ones 

that we have never heard from before and those which feature significant events.

Approved Minutes from December 22, 2014 THS Meeting

posted Feb 25, 2015, 8:22 PM by Romas S   [ updated Feb 25, 2015, 8:24 PM ]



Our December meeting/holiday party was held the evening of the 15th at the lovely home of  President Dave Lang and his wife, Mary Alma. There were 22 in attendance.

The meeting was called to order at 7:15 by President Lang. The Minutes of the November meeting were voted on and accepted.

Treasurer Alva Stone gave her report. She negotiated with our bank and had the $10.00 monthly service charge waived! The current balance in our account is $4, 422.53.

President Lang announced a tour planned for the following day of the old Tallahassee waterworks site by Cascades Park. Tallahassee Historical Society board members will look at the sites’ suitability for the planned Museum of Tallahassee History.

Our January program, to be held on the 8th, will be presented by Bill Leseman. He will discuss the history of Tallahassee water sources.

The meeting was adjourned and all present were treated to a wonderful potluck dinner and a photo display of the evening courtesy of Mona Lisa Abbott.





Laura Jernigan, Secretary

Approved Minutes from November 13, 2014 THS Meeting

posted Jan 1, 2015, 6:27 PM by Romas S   [ updated Jan 1, 2015, 6:46 PM ]

Tallahassee Historical Society

      Minutes of November 13, 2014 Meeting

The meeting was called to order at a few minutes past 7:00 by T.H.S. President David Lang. We met at the historic Knott House on Park Avenue in downtown Tallahassee. One guest was present, Diane Whitney’s sister Donna.

Mary Alma Lang graciously invited all members to a Christmas party on Wednesday,  December  10 at 6:30. Invitations to the membership will be sent by U.S. Mail.

Treasurer Alva Stone was absent so Past President Claude Kenneson delivered the Treasurer’s Report. Our balance as of 11/9/14 is $4,372.53.

The minutes of the October 14, 2014 meeting were voted on and accepted.

A quorum was present and the new by-laws distributed by e-mail and at the October meeting were accepted by unanimous vote of the membership.

Secretary Laura Jernigan announced the Museum of Florida History’s current exhibit “Civil Rights in the Sunshine State” and encouraged all to see it. Also, a retirement party is being held in honor of Claude Kenneson on November 22 from 6-8 p.m. at the St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, 2198 N. Meridian Road. It will be potluck, please bring a covered dish to share.

Dave spoke about a possible site for the proposed Tallahassee History Museum, the old Waterworks building next to Cascades Park. A meeting is scheduled next Wednesday with Dee Crumpler and other City of Tallahassee officials to discuss the proposal. Dave, Claude Kenneson and Mary May will be representing the T.H.S. at the meeting.

Miss Sarah Shaw of the Knott House gave a brief history of the building and introduced our Vice President Diane Whitney, who gave a delightful and informative program in character as Luella Knott.

Following  the presentation refreshments were served.

The Tallahassee Historical Society thanks the Knott House personnel for hosting us.

Respectfully submitted by Laura Jernigan, Secretary

Approved Minutes from THS October 9, 2014 Meeting

posted Dec 3, 2014, 8:30 PM by Romas S



The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. Welcoming remarks were made by Dave Lang and the following guests were recognized: Greg Walker, Emily Whalen and Maurice Majak (Tallahassee Fire Department Historian). In addition to the President, members of the new board of Directors, Vice President Diane Whitney and Treasurer Alva Stone were introduced and recognized. It was announced that our Secretary, Laura Jernigan, was recovering from a recent surgery and was necessarily absent. It was also announced that Past President Claude Kenneson was absent due to the sudden death of his sister at her home near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A sympathy card was circulated to be mailed to Claude from the Society members present.

Treasurer Alva Stone gave the Treasurer’s Report and submitted that the Society’s bank balance was $4,282.58. Alva was also commended for making new name tags for the membership.

President Dave Lang stated that the Board of Directors believes two programs need to be addressed in an effort to preserve Tallahassee’s history: a Tallahassee Museum and a collection of Oral Histories. These items were tabled for future discussion and possible implementation.

President Lang announced that the Board had met on September 18th to discuss, revise and amend the present by-laws for presentation to the membership. The current by-laws have not been changed since 1933. Copies of the proposed new by-laws as submitted by the Board have been sent to the membership by e-mail and additional copies were on hand for those who did not receive them. The changes are scheduled for a vote at our next regular meeting on November 13th.  Also discussed was the possible addition of three members to the current board as specified by the 1933 by-laws.  The Board agreed that this provision of the by-laws should be brought before the membership for implementation. The floor was opened for nominations to fill the three positions. Following nominations, seconds and discussion on each position Claude Kenneson, Mary May and Romas Sparkis were duly elected to the Board.

A summary of summer events was given:

Julie Bettinger is interested in resources dealing with the Capital City Bank. She has been commissioned to write a book for their 125th anniversary, coming up in six years. She wishes to check with Claude and his notebooks.

Trish Mann sought a genealogy written by one of her ancestors, Byron Sharman. A search in the Florida Library and Archives turned up nothing.

Susie Lamb e-mailed Claude on behalf of her grandson who was looking for information on Henry Weld Fuller, an attorney originally from Maine who practiced briefly in Florida. An advertisement found in the Tallahassee Floridian and Advocate dated December 4, 1830, confirmed his presence at Magnolia, Florida. Magnolia then existed in Leon County but all that remains of it now is a cemetery  in Wakulla County.

Rebecca Dela Rosa requested to join the THS Google group. It was suggested that she first attend our October meeting and join the THS before she joins the Google group.

Myra Kinnie, who is writing a book dealing with the riot in Ocoee Florida in 1920 was referred to Claude for information that might be located at the state library. She was given a list of several news articles on the topic found in the state library’s files.

The Panhandle Archeological Society of Tallahassee invited us to hear Curtis Brown and Joe Davis of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission speak on June 3. Curtis Brown profiled Operation Timucuas – a two year undercover operation focused on a large scale illegal collection and sales of artifacts extracted from and causing damage to archaeological sites.  Joe Davis spoke about identifying and protecting the sites within the Aucilla Wildlife Management areas’ 50,471 acres.

Kelly Crocker, commander of Finley’s Brigade Camp 1614, Sons of Confederate Veterans, invited us on June 14 to the installation of a memorial marker for Civil War veteran John L. Farrior, buried in Tallahassee’s Oakland Cemetery.

The Museum of Florida History, Historic Capitol Museum, Knott House Museum, Riley House Museum and Carrabelle Museum all kept us abreast of their activities during the summer with newsletters. These were forwarded to members via e-mail.

Sara McFerrin invited us to her book signing of “Raney Days, the David G. Raney Family and their Antebellum Home” on August 2 at the Raney House in Apalachicola.

The Sierra Big Bend Group invited us on September 11 to hear writer, photographer and naturalist Doug Alderson speak on his Wild Florida Adventures.

Vice President Diane Whitney introduced the speaker for the evening, President Dave Lang. The topic of his presentation was “Strange Facts and Funny Stories About Your Courthouse – And The People Therein”. His interesting and informative presentation was enjoyed by all.

Following the program it was announced that the next meeting would be held at the Knott House on Park Avenue. The date is November 13th and our Vice-President Diane Whitney will present a musical program entitled “Luella Knott: Her Life Through Music”. Members were encouraged to bring friends to this musical performance.

The meeting was adjourned and refreshments were served to all in attendance.

Approved Minutes from May 24, 2014 Annual Luncheon Meeting

posted Jul 26, 2014, 7:53 PM by Romas S   [ updated Aug 4, 2014, 7:04 PM ]

Minutes for May 24, 2014 THS Annual Luncheon

The meeting was called to order by outgoing President Claude Kenneson at 11:00. Present were:

Larry & Martha Pytel     Carol & Pete Cowdrey

Mary May                        Wade Birch

Claude Kenneson            Myra Blanchard

Laura Jernigan                 Stanley Garfein

Ernie Sanders                  Diane Whitney

Alva T. Stone                   Jon Whitney

Virginia Newman            Mary Alma Lang

David Lang

Minutes for the April 10, 2014 meeting had been sent to the membership via e-mail. A motion to adopt them as read was made by Virginia Newman and seconded by David Lang. The minutes were adopted.

Ernie Sanders read the Treasurer’s Report. On April 10, 2014 the balance was $4372.15. Expenses of $90.01 and income of $40.00 resulted in $4322.14 as of today’s date. Ernie reported that our bank has begun charging a fee of $10.00 monthly and discussion ensued. Many members are in favor of talking to the bank about our non-profit status to see if the fee can be waived.


Kelly Crocker, commander of Finley’s Brigade Camp 1614, Sons of Confederate Veterans, invited us to the annual Decoration Day memorial at Soldier’s Cemetery in Quincy April 19. He also invited us to the Confederate Memorial Day service held at Old City Cemetery in Tallahassee on Sunday, April 27 at 3 pm.

The Carrabelle History Museum invited us to the 2014 Carrabelle Riverfront Festival held on April 25 & 26.

The Museum of Florida History invited us to several events including: a History at High Noon program April 22 given by historian Thomas Neil Knowles “Long Key Fishing Camp: Henry Flagler’s Most Unique Resort”; Heather Sneed of the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission led a hands-on activity about catch and release; May 15 author Doug Kelly gave a lecture on “Florida’s Fishing Legends and Pioneers”.

On May 8 the Florida Historic Capitol Museum featured the 2014 Tallahassee-Leon County Historic Preservation Awards.

The Knott House held the annual Emancipation Day celebration on May 20.


Maurice Majszak, author of “William Early Levy, Sr., Dean of the Fire Service”, is working on his second book that will deal with short biographies of Tallahassee’s other fire chiefs. He was provided  with information on T.J. Rawls, William Pitt Slusser, W.A. Demilly and L.M. Lively.

E. Lynn McLarty, who is doing research for a book on Trinity United Methodist Church, sought information on the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Tallahassee which bought property belonging to Trinity near what is now the Civic Center, almost directly behind the R.A. Gray Building. Claude was able to identify Nathan B. Young, one of the founders, as also a president of what is now FAMU. McLarty was also interested in finding out something about the Universal Investment Company, which bought the property from the Pilgrim Congregational Church. Immanuel Baptist bought the same property from Universal Investment Company. There were a couple of articles from newspapers about the Universal Investment Company online that Claude found for him.

Arianna Long asked to put a link on our website to After consulting with our webmaster Romas Sparkis it was decided that the link belongs on educational websites and not ours which is devoted almost exclusively to Tallahassee and Leon County history.

Bob Trapp, Secretary/Treasurer of the Natural Bridge Historical Society, requested from Claude a letter of support for a Historic Preservation Grant for restoration of the eagle sculpture on the Natural Bridge monument. It was personally delivered to Robert Bendus, Director of the Bureau of Historic Preservation in the R.A. Gray Building. The plan is to display the original eagle in a building in the park and to mount a replica on the monument. Claude emphasized that this could be a historic moment if it were completed by the time of the re-enactment in March 2015 or even sometime that year. 2015 will mark the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Natural Bridge.

At the request of  Florida History Fair coordinator K.C. Smith, Society members Robert Davis, Pete Cowdrey, Claude Kenneson, Alva Stone, Diane Whitney and Terri Messler participated in the 2014 Florida History Fair (held on May 5th and 6th) by serving on Special Prize judging teams. Myra Blanchard assisted with participant registration and other duties.

Mike Ferrara from Indian Head Acres located on his property what appears to be a cypress bridge, which is now under about 18 inches of soil. He was referred to the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee. Their president, Barbara Hines, is due to visit there Wednesday. She determined that the structure was a result of terracing done by the early residents of the area.

Jim Calhoun, a contractor and member of the Wakulla Historical Society, has a client on Centerville Road who is building a home with the look of the early 1800s. They are looking for a Cracker house that needs restoration and can be moved cheaply. He was referred to the Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation.

Maria Matilszki, catering manager at Four Points by Sheraton in downtown Tallahassee, mentioned that many groups meet there monthly for meetings, socials, etc., and that they also cater for the groups. She wondered if the THS might be interested. She was told we already have meeting place at the Governor Martin house, free of charge.

Robert Hines from Jacksonville, Florida has some old aerial photos of Tallahassee taken in October 1957 he wants to donate to THS. This information was passed on to the Florida Photographic Collection. THS does not have its own repository and we turn such artifacts to either the Florida Archives, the Florida State Library or the Florida Photographic Collection.


The resolution opposing demolition of the Firestone Building and Bloxham Annex was distributed to the membership for discussion and revision. After minor revisions were made and adopted the membership voted to adopt it (motion made by Diane Whitney, seconded by Laura Jernigan) and distribute it. Rabbi Garfein suggested the membership attend a City Commission meeting en masse to protest  the proposed demolition of the building.

Elections for the club officers for the 2014/2015 year were held. All proposed officers were elected unopposed:  President, Dave Lang; Vice President, Diane Whitney; Secretary, Laura Jernigan; Treasurer, Alva Stone. All newly elected officers were given copies of the Society by-laws written in 1933. Many members feel the by-laws could be reviewed and possibly revised/updated. President-Elect Lang stated he intends to contact his officers through the summer and work on this project.

Members were reminded of former THS President Marti Pytel’s talk at the Museum of Florida History on Tuesday, May 27 at the History at High Noon program. Free parking is available, and it was recommended that members tour the current temporary exhibit at the Museum “The Lure of Florida Fishing”.

Minutes for this meeting will be sent to the membership by e-mail.  If no corrections/additions are submitted by June 5, Claude will consider them approved and turn the season’s minutes and correspondence in to the Florida Archives to be stored with the others.

The meeting was adjourned and all members enjoyed lunch together.

Submitted by Laura Jernigan, Secretary


Leon County Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley responded to our petition as follows:

Dear Mr. Kenneson,

I’m in receipt of your resolution regarding the Firestone & Bloxham buildings. However the news story was incomplete. There are no plans to demolish those buildings & any redevelopment will have oversight of the Community Redevelopment Agency, of which I’m a voting member & which is very supportive of historic preservation. I want you to have the enclosed update on the situation from CRA director Roxanne Manning so you’ll have a fuller picture of what’s really going on – or not going on with regard to demolition of those historic buildings.

Best regards,

Mary Ann Lindley

The enclosure reads:

From: Roxanne Manning

To: Arielle Franklin, etc.

CC: Vince Long, etc

Date: 5/14/14   11:55 AM

Subject: Information regarding the historic buildings adjacent to Cascades Park

Attachments: Preservation facts.doc; image003.png

Commissioners and aides,

Attached please find accurate information regarding the potential preservation of historic art deco buildings at Cascades Park. Unfortunately, the article in Sunday’s Democrat was inaccurate. Neither  the Democrat or the staff of the Tallahassee Trust contacted CRA staff to discuss the issues before publishing the article. I have already contacted both entities.

There are no plans to demolish the buildings. When a redevelopment plan is created, all responsible options for preservation will be considered. Please note, however, that in order to meet the fiduciary requirements of the CRA, the property will need to be sold and redeveloped. We have some exciting opportunities for that redevelopment which will be discussed at future CRA meetings, following actual acquisition of the property.

We also have a response letter for your use which we will send you shortly.

Thank you.

Roxanne M. Manning AICP

Executive Director

Facts Related to the Art Deco Buildings on Gaines Street

  1. No decisions have been made regarding the use of the art deco buildings on Gaines St. In fact, the property exchange with Florida State University involving the O’Connell, Firestone, Bloxham Annex properties has not yet been completed. The estimated timeframe for completing the exchange is August or September of 2014.

  2. After the transaction is completed, the Firestone and Bloxham Annex properties will be owned by the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). The CRA will not, however, be the sole developer of the Firestone, Bloxham Annex properties. In order to meet the goals and fiduciary responsibilities of the CRA, the properties will have to be sold and redeveloped.

  3. CRA staff has already started to look at opportunities for preservation of the art deco buildings.

  4. Fortunately, as seller of the property, by using conditions of sale and other methods, the CRA will be able to have a strong influence on the redevelopment of the property. This will include thorough consideration of the design of proposed projects, as well as preservation and reuse of the art deco buildings if possible. As part of the deliberative process, CRA staff will be reaching out to local professionals and citizens to gather input regarding use and design of the redevelopment.

  5. The CRA’s goal is to have a project of which we can all be proud.

  6. As is always the case in historic preservation, the CRA will need to balance the desires of the community with redevelopment needs and preservation opportunities to make the best possible decision.

  7. The largest of the three subject buildings contains the old jail. Due to its size, location and “escape proof” masonry construction, it will be very costly to reuse or preserve this building. Attempts to do so may preclude redevelopment of the site. The two smaller buildings present the best opportunity for preservation and reuse.

  8. The City and CRA are aware of the value of historic buildings. The preservation of the Waterworks complex, the Electric building at Cascades and the redesign of Gaines Street to preserve historic railroad warehouses are good examples of the City and CRA’s work in this area.

Approved Minutes from April 10, 2014 Meeting

posted Jul 26, 2014, 7:18 PM by Romas S   [ updated Jul 26, 2014, 7:32 PM ]

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm by President Claude Kenneson. He welcomed our visitors and members. A total of thirty-five people attended the meeting. The Treasurer's Report was given by Ernie Sanders. We now have a balance of $4372.15 in the bank.

The March 13, 2014 meeting minutes were sent by e-mail to the membership. Bob Davis made a motion to adopt them as they stand and the motion was seconded by Ernie Sanders. The minutes were approved.

Requests and Inquiries

Kelly Crocker, commander of the Sons of the Confederacy Camp Cresset Finley's Brigade from Havana Florida, is doing research on Confederate veteran John L. Farrior. The Sons are preparing for a memorial service and the placing of a government marker on the site of his grave at Oakland Cemetery in Tallahassee. A patron thought that the State Library had Tallahassee City Directories prior to 1904 and that John might be listed there. No such directories were located with the other city directories.. There are Florida Gazetteers (1883-1884 and 1885--1886) plus Elliott's Florida Encyclopedia of 1889, which contain entries of Tallahassee businesses and professionals but Farrior is not listed. Kelly has been in touch with the Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation which has a copy of the 1887 Bensel's Tallahassee Directory. In the meantime, Claude also, quite by accident, stumbled upon Bensel's work in the State Library in a section devoted to Leon County - unfortunately, Farrior was not listed.

THS member Diane Whitney is working on a monologue with music associated with Louella Knott for Bea Cotellis of the Knott House Museum. It pertains to a dissertation by Cynthia Robertson Waddell on William Valentine Knott that contains two footnotes listing a couple of boxes, one on Luella and one on the Knott family. She asked Claude to check to see if the State Archives had them. They do and he has seen Diane at the State Library researching and taking notes.

Mark Perrin from Tallahassee sought information on the Marion Race Track, which existed in Tallahassee from 1832 to 1843. He was referred to an excellent article "Horse Racing in Middle Florida 1830-1843" by Dorothy Dodd which appeared in a publication by the THS called " Apalachee 1948-1950". Bertram H. Groene in "Antebellum Tallahassee" also relates the story of the Marion Course.

Mary May, who has previously spoken to us, arranged for Jim Apthorp to meet with Matt Lutz, Director of Records for the City of Tallahassee, herself and Claude at the State Library on April 8. He is doing research on his ancestors the Apthorps. Claude shared with him information from a notebook on Union soldiers buried in the Old City Cemetery that he had complied for the State Library. John Perkins Apthorp is listed. Another notebook on the dairy industry in Leon County contains several mentions of the Apthorps, who were involved in dairy farming.

Architect Deborah Desilets sent Claude an update from Larry Coltharp on the Calvin C. Phillips mausoleum in Oakland Cemetery. Phillips was a professional architect to whom the state of Pennsylvania and the government of France had awarded medals recognizing the exemplary quality of his work. He designed his tomb and the Clock House of Tallahassee (since torn down). Phillips also built his own casket of Cherry wood which he had placed in the mausoleum. On November 19, 1919 he was found dead in the mausoleum on a cot he had placed there to rest upon when tired. Greg Smith, who is in charge of Tallahassee cemeteries, is holding discussions with the city on its possible restoration.

A THS member sent Claude an article from the website posted from Osprey, Florida in Sarasota County entitled "Historic graves stones located on Osprey property". A photo of one stone shown was a military civil war marker bearing the name of 1st Lt. John D. Young. These stones were found on land being cleared for development but there were no grave sites or bones near them. Claude researched "Biographical Rosters of Florida's Confederate and Union Soldiers 1861-1865" and found John listed with the same information as on the marker but with an additional note stating he was buried in Alachua County. The website Find a grave listed Lt. Young as being buried in Kanapaha Cemetery in Gainesville with a tombstone but no military marker. The mystery is how the stones ended up on Osprey. Claude posted a comment on the website and has contacted the head of the Florida Division of the Sons of the Confederacy to look into the matter and have the headstone returned to where it belongs. At our meeting Kelly Crocker informed us that a Son of the Confederacy in Sarasota is now in possession of the marker and has contacted Kanapaha Cemetery regarding the return of the marker.

Florida History Fair Coordinator K.C. Smith has put out a plea for judges at the Florida History Fair contest on Monday, May 5 at Tallahassee Community College.


Betty Ashler from the Birdsong Nature Center invited us to a presentation on March 29 "History: The Dickey Plantation Era". Ginny Hardcastle informed Claude after the meeting that the talk was postponed and will be rescheduled.

The Panhandle Archaeological Society invited us to hear on April 1 archaeologist Jeffrey Shanks of the National Park Service speak on "Prehistoric Peoples on the Redneck Riviera: Rediscovering the Woodland Cultures of Coastal Northwest Florida". Archaeological surveys, excavations, archival research, systematic probings and a cadaver dog were used by the Southeast Archaeological Center to determine the exact locations of middens and mounds located on Tyndall Air Force Base over the last eight years. Several THS members attended this most interesting talk.

Marina Brown invited us to the Book Launch of "Airport Sketches, A Week of Lives at Tallahassee Regional Airport" at the Tallahassee Regional Airport today (April 10).

Past THS president Marti Pytel sent an invitation to a presentation and slide show about her book "Baker's Haulover - A Maritime Treasure of History and Pioneers" at the Museum of Florida History on May 27 at noon. This is in conjunction with the current exhibit "The Lure of Florida Fishing".

On April 17, at the Museum of Florida History, renowned marine artist Randall Scott presented "Portraits of the Sea - Art of the Dive".

Our speaker Gene Jones of Sarasota gave a lecture entitled "The Myth; Not Much Happened in Florida during the Civil War". He answered questions and had a book signing of his novel "Suwannee Divide".

The meeting was closed, followed by refreshments.

Laura Jernigan, Secretary

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