See Rock City

See Rock City

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tallahassee, FL

Downtown Tallahassee From FAMU

Tallahassee (pronounced /ˌtæləˈhæsi/) is the capital of the State of Florida, USA, and the county seat of Leon County. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida in 1824. In 2007, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 168,979, while the 2007 Tallahassee metropolitan area is estimated at 352,319.

Tallahassee is the home of Florida State University, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee Community College and branches of Barry University, and Flagler College. The Florida State University - Florida A&M University College of Engineering is a joint project of the two institutions from which its name is derived. Two technical schools are located in Tallahassee: Lively Technical Center and Keiser College - Tallahassee.

City Flag

Tallahassee is a regional center for trade and agriculture, and is served by Tallahassee Regional Airport. With one of the fastest growing manufacturing and high tech economies in Florida, its major private employers include a General Dynamics Land Systems manufacturing facility (military and combat applications), Elbit Systems of America, Tallahassee Operations (a military communications manufacturing firm owned by Elbit Systems, Ltd., in Israel) and the manufacturing headquarters for Danfoss Turbocor (a manufacturer of oil-free high efficiency compressors). It is also home for the Figg Engineering Group, a bridge engineering firm, the Municipal Code Corporation, which specializes in the publication of municipal and county legal references, and a number of national law firms, lobbying organizations, trade associations and professional associations, including The Florida Bar and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Nickname(s): Tally, Tallytown, The T-Bag
Motto: A City For All Seasons


The name "Tallahassee" is a Muskogean Indian word often translated as "old fields". This likely stems from the Creek (later called Seminole) Indians who migrated from Georgia and Alabama to this region in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Upon arrival, they found large areas of cleared land previously occupied by the Apalachee tribe. Earlier, the Mississippian Indians built mounds near Lake Jackson around A.D. 1200, which survive today in the Lake Jackson Archaeological State Park.

Call Mansion

The expedition of Panfilo de Narvaez encountered the Apalachees, although it did not reach the site of Tallahassee. Hernando de Soto and his expedition occupied the Apalachee town of Anhaica in the winter of 1538-1539. Based on archaeological excavations, this site is now known to be located about one-half mile east of the present Florida State Capitol. The DeSoto encampment is believed to be the first place Christmas was celebrated in the continental United States.

Street View

Goodwood Plantation

During the 1600s, several Spanish missions were established in the territory of the Apalachee to procure food and labor for the colony at St. Augustine. The largest of these, Mission San Luis de Apalachee, has been partially reconstructed by the state of Florida.

Florida State Capitol; old building in front with new high-rise behind.

From 1821 through 1845, the rough-hewn frontier capital gradually grew into a town during Florida's territorial period. The Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, returned for a grand tour of the United States in 1824. The US Congress voted to give him $200,000 (the same amount he had given the colonies in 1778), US citizenship, and a plot of land that currently makes up a portion of Tallahassee. In 1845, a Greek revival masonry structure was erected as the Capitol building in time for statehood. Now known as the "old Capitol," it stands in front of the Capitol high rise building, which was constructed in the 1970s.

During the American Civil War, Tallahassee was the only Confederate state capital east of the Mississippi not captured by Union forces. A small engagement, the Battle of Natural Bridge, was fought south of the city on March 6, 1865.

Following the Civil War, much of Florida's industry moved to the south and east, a trend that continues today. The end of slavery hindered the cotton and tobacco trade, and the state's major industries shifted to citrus, lumber, naval stores, cattle ranching and tourism. The post-Civil War period was also when many former plantations in the Tallahassee area were purchased by wealthy northerners for use as winter hunting preserves. In 1899 the city reached -2 °F (-19 °C) (the only sub-zero Fahrenheit reading in Florida to date) during the Great Blizzard of 1899.

Until World War II, Tallahassee remained a small southern town, with virtually the entire population living within a mile of the Capitol. The main economic drivers were the universities and state government, where politicians met to discuss spending money on grand public improvement projects to accommodate growth in places such as Miami and Tampa Bay, hundreds of miles away from the capital. By the 1960s, there was a movement to transfer the capital to Orlando, closer geographically to the growing population centers of the state. That motion was defeated, however, and the 1970s saw a long-term commitment by the state to the capital city with construction of the new capitol complex and preservation of the old Florida State Capitol building.

Bank of Florida, Calhoun & Appalachia Parkway

In recent years, Tallahassee has seen an increase in growth, mainly in government and research services associated with the state, Florida State University, and Florida A&M University.

Geography and climate

Tallahassee is noted for its hilly terrain, and the state capitol is located on one of the highest hills in the city. The elevation varies from near sea level to just over 200 feet. The flora and fauna are more typical of those found in the mid-south and low country regions of South Carolina and North Carolina. Although some palm trees grow in the city, they are the more cold-hardy varieties like the state tree, the Sabal Palmetto. Pines, magnolias and a variety of oaks are the dominant trees. Of the latter, the Southern Live Oak is perhaps the most emblematic of the city.

Tallahassee City Hall

Tallahassee has a hot and humid subtropical climate, with long summers and mild, short winters. Summers in Tallahassee are hotter than in the Florida peninsula, and it is one of the few cities in the state to occasionally record temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 °C). The summer weather is characterized by brief intense showers and thunderstorms that form along the afternoon sea breeze from the Gulf of Mexico. The average summertime high temperature is 92 °F(32 °C). Conversely, the city is much cooler in the winter.

The Columns, Park & Adams Streets

In December and January, the average high temperature is 64 °F(18 °C) and the average low is 42°F (6°C). On occasion, temperatures fall into the 20s and 10s (below -1°C) at night, and temperatures in the single digits (below -12°C) have been recorded. Over the last 100 years, the city has also recorded several snowfalls; the heaviest was 2.8 inches on February 13, 1958. A white Christmas occurred in 1989, and the Great Blizzard of 1993 also brought significant snow and very high winds. Historically, the city usually records at least observed flurries every three to four years, but on average, measurable amounts of snow (1"/25 mm or more) occur only every 16 years. The natural snow line (regular yearly snowfalls) ends 200 miles (320 km) to the north at Macon, Georgia. In addition, the city averages 34 nights where the temperature falls below freezing. The coldest temperature in Florida history was recorded in the city around the Great Blizzard of 1899, when it dropped to -2°F or -19°C on February 13th.

Thomas Randall House, 434 North Calhoun Street

Although several hurricanes have brushed Tallahassee with their outer rain and wind bands, in recent years only Hurricane Kate, in 1985, has struck Tallahassee directly. The Big Bend area of North Florida sees several tornadoes each year during the season, but none have hit Tallahassee in living memory. In extreme heavy rains, some low-lying parts of Tallahassee may flood, notably the Franklin Boulevard area adjacent to the downtown and the Killearn Lakes subdivision (which is not within the city limits proper) on the north side.

Robert Butler House, 3502 Old Bainbridge Road,


As of 2000, 91.99% of residents spoke English as their first language, while 4.11% spoke Spanish, and 0.63% spoke French as their mother tongue. In total, 8.00% of the total population spoke languages other than English.

City accolades

1988: Money Magazine's Southeast's three top medium size cities in which to live.

1992: Awarded Tree City USA by National Arbor Day Foundation

1999: Awarded All-America City Award by the National Civic League

2003: Awarded Tree Line USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.

2006: Awarded "Best In America" Parks and Recreation by the National Recreation and Park Association.

2007: Recognized by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine as one of the "Top Ten College Towns for Grownups" (ranking second, behind Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

2007: Ranked second on Epodunk's list of college towns.

Government and politics

City Hall

Tallahassee has traditionally been a Democratic city, and is one of the few cities in the South for left-wing activism, along with Asheville and Austin. The city has voted Democratic throughout its history with a high voter-turnout. As of April 2007 there were 85,343 Democrats and 42,230 Republicans in Leon County. Other affiliations accounted for 22,284 voters.


Voters of Leon County have gone to the polls four times to vote on consolidation of Tallahassee and Leon County governments into one jurisdiction combining police and other city services with already shared (consolidated) Tallahassee Fire Department and Leon County Emergency Medical Services. Tallahassee's city limits would increase from 98.2 square miles (254 km2) to 702 square miles (1,820 km2). Roughly 36 percent of Leon County's 250,000 residents live outside the Tallahassee city limits.

James Kirksey House, 325 North Calhoun Street

The proponents of consolidation have stated that the new jurisdiction would attract business by its very size. Merging governments would cut government waste, duplication of services, etc. Professor Richard Feiock of the Department of Public Administration of Korea University and the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy of Florida State University states that no discernible relationship exists between consolidation and the local economy.

Federal representation

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Tallahassee. The Tallahassee Main Post Office is located at 2800 South Adams Street. Other post offices in the city limits include Centerville Station, Leon Station, Park Avenue Station, and Westside Station.

Urban planning and expansion

Florida State Capitol, Downtown Tallahassee

The first plan for the Capitol Center was the 1947 Taylor Plan, which consolidated several of the government buildings in one downtown area. In 1974, the Capitol Center Planning Commission for the City of Tallahassee, Fla. responded to the growth of its urban center with a conceptual plan for the expansion of its Capitol Center. Hisham Ashkouri, working for The Architects' Collaborative, led the urban planning and design effort. Estimating growth and related development for approximately the next 25 years, the program projected the need for 213,677 m² (2.3 million feet²) of new government facilities in the city core, with 3,500 dwelling units, 0.4 km² (100 acres) of new public open space, retail and private office space, and other ancillary spaces. Community participation was an integral part of the design review, welcoming Tallahassee residents to provide input as well as citizens’ groups and government agencies, resulting in the creation of six separate Design Alternatives. The best elements of these various designs were combined to develop the final conceptual design, which was then incorporated into the existing Capitol area and adjacent areas.


Universities and colleges

Barry University School of Adult and Continuing Education - Tallahassee Campus
Flagler College - Tallahassee Campus
Florida A&M University
Florida State University
Keiser University - Tallahassee
Lewis M. Lively Area Vocational-Technical School
Tallahassee Community College

Places of interest

Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
Challenger Learning Center
Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park
Florida State Capitol
Florida Supreme Court
Lake Ella
Lake Jackson
Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
Lake Munson
Lake Talquin
Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science (MOAS)
Mission San Luis de Apalachee
Museum of Fine Arts at Florida State University
Myers Park
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
North Florida Fairgrounds
Railroad Square
Tallahassee Antique Car Museum
Tallahassee Museum
Tom Brown Park
Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium
Located nearby are:

Florida Caverns State Park in Marianna,Florida
Monticello Opera House in Monticello, Florida
Natural Bridge Battlefield State Historic Site near Woodville
Wakulla Springs State Park near Crawfordville
Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee - Administration Building is on the National Register of Historic Places

Festivals and events

First Friday festivals at Railroad Square
Downtown Getdown (Seasonal)
Greek Food Festival
Red Hills Horse Trials
Seven Days of Opening Nights
Springtime Tallahassee
Southern Shakespeare Festival
Tallahassee Film Festival
Tallahassee Wine and Food Festival
Winter Festival


The Florida A&M University Rattlers compete in the NCAA Division 1, and the Championship Subdivision in football.
The Florida State University Seminoles compete in the NCAA Division 1, and the Bowl Subdivision in football.
The Tallahassee Community College Eagles compete in the Panhandle Conference in Men's and Women's basketball, baseball and softball.
Local public high schools and middle schools compete in athletics, and share Gene Cox Stadium for football.
The Tallahassee Tiger Sharks were an ECHL team from 1994-2001.
The Tallahassee Scorpions were an EISL team that played from 1997-98.
The Tallahassee Tigers were an American Basketball Association.
The Tallahassee Titans were an Indoor Football team that played their only season in the American Indoor Football Association.



Tallahassee Regional Airport (KTLH)
Tallahassee Commercial Airport (K68J)

Mass transit

StarMetro (formerly TalTran) provides bus service throughout the city.


CSX operates two rail lines in the city. Amtrak's Sunset Limited historically served the city, but has been suspended since Hurricane Katrina.

Defunct railroads

The Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad, now a state trail.
The Carrabelle, Tallahassee and Georgia Railroad.

Notable residents (past and present)

Michelle McCool - World Wrestling Entertainment Diva (Formally Diva Champion)
Cannonball Adderley — Grammy Award-winning jazz musician (for "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at 'The Club'")
Art Agnos — former Mayor of San Francisco, California
Wally Amos — founder of the "Famous Amos" chocolate chip cookie brand; actor
Reubin Askew — politician, former Governor of Florida
Red Barber — sportscaster, Radio Hall of Fame member
Matt Battaglia — actor and former NFL player
Brett Blizzard — collegiate and professional basketball player
Konrad E. Bloch — Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, who helped learn about the functioning of cholesterol
Robert "Bobby" C. Bowden — college football coach, winner of two BCS National Championships
James M. Buchanan — winner of Nobel Prize in economics
Jim Butterworth — documentary filmmaker, winner of DuPont-Columbia Award for "Seoul Train"
Ted Bundy — serial killer
Robert Olen Butler — Pulitzer Prize-winning author for A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (fiction)
Ricky Carmichael — Motocross/Supercross Champion
Lawton Chiles — politician and FSU research fellow; former US Senator and Governor of Florida.
George Clinton — musician, founder of Funk bands Parliament and Funkadelic
Leroy Collins — politician and Governor of Florida (Leroy Collins was the only Tallahassee native to serve as Florida's Governor.)
Rita Coolidge — Grammy Award-winning singer for From the Bottle to the Bottom and Lover Please.
Bradley Cooper — member of 1984 and 1988 Bahamas Summer Olympics team
Gene Cox — State of Florida Sports Hall of Fame member (Leon High School football coach)
Jim Cramer — host of CNBC's Mad Money
Kim Crosby — NASCAR driver, with a best race finish of 20th, in 2004
John Darnielle — lead singer of The Mountain Goats
Dwight F. Davis — founder of the international tennis Davis Cup
Paul Dirac — Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose theories predicted antimatter
Walter Dix - U.S. track team member and medalist at 2008 Beijing Olympics
Cathy Jenéen Doe — actress
Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte — attorney, civil-rights activist, former Dean of the Florida State University Law School, former President of Florida State University, President of the American Bar Association and the American Judicature Society
Ernst von Dohnányi — composer and pianist
Kyan Douglas — the "grooming expert" from "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"
Faye Dunaway — Academy Award and Golden Globe Award winning actress
Sylvia Earle — former chief scientist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Carrie Englert (Zimmerman) — member of 1976 U.S. Summer Olympics team [21]
Eugene Figg — engineer for such bridges as Sunshine Skyway Bridge, Linn Cove Viaduct, and Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge
Carlisle Floyd — opera composer - Susannah (1955) and others
Neil Frank — former Director of the National Hurricane Center
Ron J. Friedman — writer of Disney's Academy Award nominated film Brother Bear
Michael Gaines — Swift TE for the Detroit Lions
DaVanche (Ron) Galimore — member of 1980 U.S. Summer Olympics team [21]
Willie Galimore — member of College Football Hall of Fame, and NFL football player
Althea Gibson — winner of several Wimbledon and US Open tennis championships
Parris N. Glendening — former Governor of Maryland
Carolyn S. Griner — former Director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Ken Harnden — hurdler and sprinter who represented Zimbabwe in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games
Tahesia Harrigan — professional sprinter (BVI)
Janice Harsanyi — vocalist and professor
Bob Hayes — gold-medal winner on 1964 U.S. Summer Olympics team; NFL football player
Robert B. Hilton — Tallahassee newspaper owner and Confederate congressman during the American Civil War
Cheryl Hines — actress, 2006 Emmy-nominee
Polly Holliday — actress, Golden Globe winner (for television series Alice).
Taylor Jacobs — professional football player - wide receiver with Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, and Denver Broncos
Marty Jannetty - A Retired professional wrestler , best known for his work with WWE
Reggie Jefferson — former MLB player
Brad Johnson - NFL quarterback
Brandy Johnson — member of 1988 U.S. Summer Olympics team
Will Kirby — Big Brother 2 (2001) winner
Desmond Koh — amateur swimmer who represented Singapore in the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Olympic Games
Sir Harold Kroto — Nobel Prize-winning chemist who helped discover fullerenes
Christine Lahti — film actress and director, winner of Academy Award for Leiberman in Love, and well as two Golden Globes and an Emmy for her role in Chicago Hope
Marshall Ledbetter — Protester who took over the Florida Capitol Building
Scott Maddox — Former Mayor
Doug Marlette — Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist
Max Mayfield — former Director of the National Hurricane Center
Jerrie Mock — aviator and first woman to fly around the world solo
Jim Morrison — lead singer and lyricist of The Doors
Catherine Willis Gray Murat — great-grandniece of George Washington
Prince Achille Murat — nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte
Kenneth Minihan — former director of the National Security Agency
Robert S. Mulliken — physicist and chemist who won both the Priestley Medal and the Nobel Prize
Brian Olson — member of 1996, 2000 and 2004 U.S. Summer Olympics teams [22]
Burgess Owens — professional football player, member of Oakland Raider team that won Super Bowl XV
Bill Peterson - college and NFL head football coach
X. William Proenza — former Director of the National Hurricane Center
Elise Ray — gymnast, represented United States in 2000 Olympic Games
Gabrielle Reece — professional volleyball player, model
Ashlee Register — Duel Season 1 contestant, winner with $1,795,000. Ranked 5th in American game show winnings records.
Burt Reynolds — Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor
Marcus Roberts — jazz pianist, composer and music professor at Florida State University
C. Paul Robinson — former director of Sandia National Laboratories
Anika Noni Rose — Tony Award-winning actress, as Emmie Thibodeaux in Caroline, or Change
Deion Sanders — FSU football star, former National Football League cornerback, Major League Baseball outfielder, and is currently an NFL Network commentator
Robert Schrieffer — Nobel Laureate, BCS Theory of Superconductivity
Winston Scott — NASA astronaut
Jeff Shaara — author (Gods and Generals and many others)
Michael Shaara — Pulitzer prize-winning author (for The Killer Angels)
Richard Simmons — fitness expert
Charles Kenzie Steele — clergyman and civil rights activist
Orson Swindle — Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission
T-Pain — hip hop and R&B singer (born Faheem Najm)
Norman Thagard — NASA astronaut, flying on three different U.S. Space Shuttles, and on one Russian mission to the Mir space station.
Ernest I. Thomas — raiser of the original flag at Iwo Jima
Marion Tinsley — World Checkers Champion 1955-58, 1975-91.
Butch Trucks (Claude Hudson Trucks) — Drummer, member of the Allman Brothers band
Steven Tyler — Lead Singer, Aerosmith
Jeff VanderMeer — World Fantasy Award-winning author (for the novella The Transformation of Martin Lake)
Charlie Ward — 1993 Heisman Trophy winner
Craig Waters — spokesman for the Florida Supreme Court
Chris Weinke — 2000 Heisman Trophy winner
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich — Pulitzer prize-winning composer (for Three Movements for Orchestra (Symphony No. 1))

Notable Tallahassee groups and organizations

Boys' Choir of Tallahassee
Business & Professional Women/Tallahassee — community club
Cold Water Army — music group
Creed — rock band
Cream Abdul Babar — music group
The Crüxshadows — music group
Dead Prez — Alternative hip hop duo
Gamelan Hanuman Agung — Balinese gamelan ensemble
FAMU Marching 100 — marching band
FSU Marching Chiefs — marching band
Look Mexico — rock band
Mayday Parade — music group
Mira — music group
No Address — music group
Socialburn — rock band
Springtime Tallahassee — community festival group
Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra — symphony orchestra
Woman's Club of Tallahassee

Tallahassee in popular culture

HBO reinacts the December 7, 2000, Florida Supreme Court argument during filming November 4, 2007.Tallahassee has been represented well in popular culture through the years in television programs, popular music, film, and the news. It has been referenced by Bing Crosby, and in Stephen King's The Green Mile and the hit television series Lost on ABC. Freddy Cannon recorded the hit single "Tallahassee Lassie". The lyrics to Aerosmith's song "Last Child" read: "Take me back to a south Tallahassee/Down cross the bridge to my sweet sassafrassy."

Supernanny: Local radio host for station 107.1, Blythe Newsome, participated in an episode of ABC's prime time show Supernanny, during Tropical Storm Fay in October 2008.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was filmed in Tallahassee in February 2009 and aired April 12, 2009.

In the early 1980s the movie Something Wild was filmed in Tallahassee and used many FSU students as extras.

In November 2007, the HBO movie Recount was filmed for five days in downtown Tallahassee. The movie featured Kevin Spacey, Laura Dern, Tom Wilkinson, Dennis Leary, Bob Balaban, John Hurt, and Ed Begley, Jr. It recreated the 36-day controversy over Florida's disputed 2000 presidential election vote. Two of the five days of shooting were inside and directly in front of the Florida Supreme Court Building, where major aspects of the 2000 controversy were decided. Many Tallahasses residents served as extras, and the Rickards High School band was featured in one street scene. The film had its broadcast premiere on May 25, 2008.

T-Pain wrote the song Tallahassee Love in 2007
The song "We Taken Over" which featured Akon and T.I included Tallahassee in the lyrics.