OK, folks, time to continue southward to downtown Pensacola.
You’ll be heading down Palafox the rest of the way, with a few diversions. Like the jog east to get you to the former Louisville and Nashville Passenger Station. Park across the street at the convention center, if the lot’s not full. The station has been converted into the entrance to the Pensacola Grand Hotel, who keeps it in great shape. They have a series of photos down one hallway, showing the history of the area. I always like seeing old historic places being respected and maintained like this. If only more could be.
Within walking distance (relatively) is St. Michael’s Cemetery, though you could park closer. It’s huge (8 acres), dating back to the 18th century. I couldn’t get in when I was there, because they don’t open until 9 AM. I would like to stroll around sometime. Old cemeteries fascinate me. It’s like a million slices of history, all in one place.
Food recommendation. While you’re here or in Destin, visit McGuire’s Irish Pub. How can you go wrong with a place with a motto, “Feasting, Imbibery and Debauchery”? It’s on the pricey side, I’ll admit, but excellent food. And where else can you sit under a quarter of a million dollars? Next time I’m in town, though, I think I’ll try having lunch there instead of dinner.
Get back on Palafox. When you get to Garden Street, you’ll be at the start of the downtown historic district. You can park along here and walk at least some of the way south, since parking spots are a bit more available here.
There are two historic sites on the corner right off the bat. On the northwest corner is a US courthouse, built on the site of the old San Carlos Hotel, which was on the NRHP. On the southwest corner is the Blount Building. (see Google map)
- Louisville and Nashville Passenger Station and Express Building (NRHP) (239 N. Alcaniz Street)
- St. Michael’s Cemetery (6 North Alcaniz Street)
- Mariana Pingrow Bonifay monument (Center of Garden Street, 1 block west of St. Michael’s Cemetery)
- St. Michael’s Catholic Church (40 N. Palafox Street)
- US Courthouse (on site of old NRHP San Carlos Hotel) (Garden Street and Palafox Street, northwest corner, across from Blount Building) (1 N. Palafox Street )
There’s a touch of New Orleans in the architecture here and there. Everywhere you look, there’s something historic. Like the Plaza Ferdinand VII, the last of the NHLs in the area. It’s where Florida was officially turned over by Spain to the United States, with Andrew Jackson being our representative. He was also the first governor of the new territory. Museums galore, and you could probably spend most of the day exploring them. Whatever your fancy, you’ll probably find it here.
Another Florida’s 100 building is the Architectural Office of Quina Grundhoefer Architects. It dates back to the 1800s. It’s undergone renovations over the decades, and has held up well. The last is the T. T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum, which used to be the city hall.(see Google map)
- Pensacola Historic District (NRHP)
- Thiesen Building (NRHP) (40 S. Palafox Place)
- Civil War Soldiers Museum (possibly closed) (108 S. Palafox Place)
- Architectural Office of Quina Grundhoefer Architects (FL 100) (400 West Romana Street)
- Saenger Theatre (NRHP, AGFHA) (118 S. Palafox Place)
- Escambia County Courthouse (190 Governmental Center)
- St. Joseph’s Church Buildings (NRHP) (140 W. Government Street)
- L & N Marine Terminal Building (NRHP, AGFHA) (249 Main Street)
- US Customs House and Post Office (NRHP) (223 S Palafox Place)
- Citizens National Bank (AGFHA) (north of old Customs House)
- Plaza Ferdinand VII (NHL) (Palafox Place between Government and Zaragossa Streets)
- American National Bank Building (NRHP) (226 S. Palafox Place)
- T. T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum (FL 100) (330 S. Jefferson Street)
- Pensacola Historical Museum (115 East Zarragossa St)
- Pensacola Museum of Art (407 S. Jefferson Street)
Head east, and you’ll reach the Historic Pensacola Village and the Seville Historic District. More museums and old buildings. There’s a visitor center in the reconstructed Tivoli High House where you can find out all you want about the area. (see Google map)
- Historic Pensacola’s Museum of Commerce (201 E Zarragossa Street)
- Historic Pensacola’s Museum of Industry (201 E Zarragossa Street)
- Dorothy Walton House (AGFHA) (221 E. Zarragossa St.)
- Lavalle House (NRHP) (203 E. Church Street)
- Seville Historic District (NRHP) (around Seville Square)
- Old Christ Church (NRHP) (405 South Adams Street)
- Clara Barkley Dorr House (NRHP, AGFHA) (311 S. Adams Street)
- Desiderio Quina House (AGFHA) (204 S. Alcaniz Street)
- St. Michael’s Creole Benevolent Association Hall (NRHP) (416 E. Government Street)
- Barkley House (AGFHA) (410 S. Florida Blanca Street)
They do like their festivals in Pensacola. Many of them are in the downtown area, so if you want to see the historic stuff unobstructed, take these into account. Conversely, if you like festivals, here’s a partial list:
- February – ‘Do It At The Line’ Super Chili Bowl Cookoff (in Orange Beach, the Alabama side of Perdido Key)
- March – Pensacola International Film & Television Festival
- March – Beulah Sausage Festival
- April – Fiesta of Five Flags
- April – Annual Pensacola Crawfish Fiestival
- May – BBQ & Blues Festival in Pensacola
- September – Emerald Coast Brew Fest & Beach Party
- September – Pensacola Seafood Festival
- October – Oyster & Beer Festival
- November – Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival
Next post, eastward ho! See you on the road!