I would like to welcome you to the website of the Tallahassee Historical Society, founded in 1933, and, with the exception of the statewide Florida Historical Society, the oldest organization of its kind in the state.

We are proud of our efforts in investigating, presenting, and advocating for the importance of historical knowledge and its interpretation in Florida’s capital city area.  Tallahassee and Leon County have a storied past involving unique individuals and diverse groups of people, all of whom have contributed to the rich culture of our area.

Please consider joining the Tallahassee Historical Society as a member so that you can take part, and be part.  As the novelist William Faulkner said, “The past is never dead; it’s not even past.”

Bob Holladay

President, Tallahassee Historical Society

History of Our Society

The Tallahassee Historical Society was organized on January 11, 1933, by W. T. Cash (State Librarian), Edward B. Eppes and Robert S. Cotterill. It was originally named the Capital Historical Society. The Society promoted preservation of historic buildings, educated the public about Tallahassee’s history, published a historical journal, “Apalachee,” and co-sponsored and provided judges for the Leon County History Fair. It collected all history pertaining to Florida including fossils, geological specimens, books, photographs and anything in any manner illustrative of Florida and of Tallahassee. Its activities included monthly meetings from September through May, field trips to historic sites and an annual picnic in May. Its membership was open to all.

The Membership Committee and the Board of Directors (three members) chose new members. The officers were the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and three members of the Society made up the Program Committee.

There were no regular dues but $1.00 a year was assessed each member to meet financial needs of the Society. Other organizations also supported the group. Patrons and sustaining members paid $100.

The first meeting on January 25, 1933, was a reading of a paper on Historic Buildings. Mr. Cash was the first Chairman. The meeting was in the State Library. In February, the topic was the Wacissa Volcano. In October they met in the Railroad Commissioners Office of the Supreme Court Building. Mr. Guyte McCord was president. The program was about Leon County in the Civil War. Daisy Parker was the Secretary. In those early years the organization was asked by the Tourist Bureau to help prepare a tourist guidebook.

In February of 1934, the talk was on the manufacture of cotton during the War.

On October 14, 1936, the Society met in the dining room of the Floridan Hotel. It had a roll call of 21 members with 13 visitors. In December, the topic was Old Houses of Tallahassee.

In March of 1955, the program was on Spanish Missions in Florida and was presented by Van G. Peterson. The meeting place was at the Florida State Library, in the west wing of the Supreme Court Building (through the courtesy of Dorothy Dodd, Librarian).

Other topics over the years have included:

  • The Tallahassee Railroad and the town of St. Marks;
  • Tallahassee in the 1880s;
  • Neamathla, 1st Chief of the Seminoles;
  • The Battle of Natural Bridge;
  • The Apalachicola Arsenal;
  • History of Photography with Special Reference to Tallahassee;
  • Indian Springs:
  • The Early Story of a Pioneer Church in Leon County;
  • Planters of the South;
  • Salt Making on the Appalachee Bay;
  • Steamboats; and Spanish Missions in Florida.

Our archives are in the State Archives, Department of State, in the R. A. Gray Bldg.

First permanent Capitol. Begun January 1826. Demolished, ca. 1839. Lithograph copied from Vues et souvenirs de l’Amerique du Nord

Capitol ca. 1890

Bird’s-eye view to the northwest from the Capitol dome ca. 1906

Florida State Female College (FSCW)

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