A guide to Pensacola, Florida


Located in northwest Florida, ten miles from the Alabama Panhandle state line, Pensacola is rich in military and historical aviation as well as natural landmarks, all with the characteristics of the sun, sand, seafood and water in Florida.


Although St. Augustine, on the east or Atlantic coast of Florida, is considered the oldest city in the US and took root after Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles sailed to him and founded the Pensacola colony in the west or the Gulf of Mexico side could claim his title if he survived his own settlement.

Six years earlier, in August 1559, the Spanish explorer Tristan de Luna dropped his own anchor in the area of ​​local tribes called “Panzacola” for “long-haired people” with the intention of carrying out Luis de Velasco, vice-king of Mexico. The order for Spain to establish a bay settlement.

Well stocked and prepared, it was equipped with 11 ships and brought 1,500 would-be colonists, including African slaves and Mexican Indians. But history was forced to choose the wrong fork of the road when a violent hurricane decimated eight de Luna ships on September 19.

Nonetheless, in an attempt to save the expedition, he sent one of them to Veracruz, Mexico to get help, leaving immigrants living on land and surviving by running out of supplies. Instead of re-supplying the colonists, however, ships arriving a year later saved the survivors by taking them to Havana and leaving little more than a military facility by the spring of 1561. By August, a handful of soldiers had abandoned the new area and returned to Mexico, considering it too dangerous for settlement.

Although at that time it was beyond the reach of knowledge, recognizing it as the oldest, uninterrupted city in the US that it would never be able to create.

Almost 150 years passed, in 1698, in fact, foreign forces would once again try to get a foothold – in this case, Spain established a more successful garrison in today’s Pensacola and designated a colonial city for this purpose.

As often happened in history, the land, as it was once said, became an award that others sought, often by military means, and Pensacola was no exception. The Spanish initially surrendered to the French in May 1719, but this was not the end of their property. France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Spain will take possession again over the next century, until the latter finally gave Florida to the United States in 1821. Since the Confederation was also “inhabited”, Pensacola is considered a “city of five flags”. ”

Much of the nearly 500-year history has been preserved and can be seen in the Pensacola Historic District, managed by the UWF Historic Trust, the organization itself supported by the University of West Florida, and consists of 27 properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

Admission, which is only available for a week, includes guided tours and admission for visitors, and tickets can be obtained at Tivoli High House.

There are many important structures. For example, the square in Seville is the center of an old settlement and served as one of the ends of the British route parade, ending with its twin, Plaza Ferdinand VII. It was here that General Andrew Jackson adopted the territory of Spain in West Florida in 1821 and raised the US flag for the first time.

A small, preserved part of Fort George, which was the target of the Battle of Pensacola in the American Revolution, symbolizes the British occupation in 1763–1781.

It abounds in original homes, including Julee Panton Cottage, 1805 Lavalle House, 1871 Dorr House and 1890 Lear-Rocheblave House.

The Church of Old Christ, located on the square in Seville and built in 1824. By slave labor, is the oldest of its kind in the country, which still occupies its original place.

There are also several museums: TT Wentworth, Jr., the Florida State Museum, which was built in 1908 and originally served as the town hall, the Pensacola Children’s Museum, the Pensacola Multicultural Center and the Trade Museum.

Although technically not part of the historic Pensacola district, the Pensacola Grand Hotel is located within the Louisville and Nashville Railroad passenger depot, which was itself built in 1912. To replace the original Union L&N Union station from 1882, 58 years old. It is now in the National Register of Historic Places.

Restored to its original splendor and transformed into a hotel with a 15-story glass tower, it has retained much of its early decorations, including a French clay roof and ceramic mosaic floor, and is decorated with period features such as lump, cast bronze light and antique furniture.

His rich “The Restaurant” from 1912, located on the ground floor, includes a Biva door from London, a bronze cast French Philadelphia chandelier, bevelled glass from 1885. From a Victorian hotel in Scranton and a grill in the shape of a casserole Lloyd’s of London.

Naval Air Station Pensacola:

At Naval Air Station Pensacola there are several noteworthy attractions that can be accessed by the visitor’s gate and requires identification, e.g. License to enter

Located within the Navy shipyard, which was erected in 1825, it began as an aviation training station at the beginning of World War I with nine officers, 23 mechanics, eight planes and ten tents supported on the beach, and was considered the first of its kind.

Growing dramatically because of the Second World War, he trained 1,100 cadets a month who flew about two million hours together. After Naval Air’s basic training commander moved his headquarters from Corpus Christi, Texas to Pensacola, clean aircraft were added to the curriculum. Currently, 12,000 active military employees are assigned to the station, of which 9,000 undergo aviation training.

The world-famous National Maritime Aviation Museum, also located here, is the largest and one of the most visited attractions in Florida. It started not as a tourist view, but as a way to incorporate the history of naval aviation into cadet curricula, for which there was neither time nor funds for the traditional modality of books and studies.

Originally housed in a 8,500-square-foot wooden building that dates back to World War II, it became a place for the selection, collection, maintenance and display of aircraft and artifacts representing the development and heritage of the service industry. They opened their doors on June 8, 1963.

It is constantly evolving, currently it has 700 aircraft in its collection, which are exhibited in 11 other official navy museums throughout the country, but about 150 immaculately restored museums are still exhibited here after a new facility with 37 acres outside and 350,000 square feet inside space has been completed. Entrance is free.

Divided into the south wing, west wing, mezzanine on the second floor, and a separate Bay One hangar, it follows the evolution of navy aviation and aircraft that it operated from the beginning to the recent conflicts in the Middle East.

For example, the A-1 triad was named so because it operated in the three kingdoms of air (wings), water (hovers) and land (wheels). Nieuport 28, in the section of World War I, facilitated experiments with aircraft carriers, while the mammoth Navy-Curtiss NC-4, at the threshold of the Golden Age exhibition, was the first to cross the Atlantic from Trepassey, Newfoundland, to the Azores Islands from Portugal.

The speed of jet fighters during the Cold War is represented by such types as McDonnell F2H-4 Banshee, North American FJ-2 Fury and Russian MiG-15.

The central element of the West Wing is the island “USS Cabot” and a replica of the airport deck, surrounded by a rich collection of aircraft mainly from World War II, including the Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat, Vought-Sikorsky FG-1D Corsair and General Motors (Grumman) TBM Avenger.

Of the numerous exhibits on the mezzanine of the museum, which itself overlooks the South and West Wings, which can even be reached by stairs by plane, there can be none that offers more contrast than those devoted to lighters, air aviation and space exploration.

Evolved from a spherical balloon, successfully made by Montgolfier Brothers for the first time in 1783, in the first case the airships were large, controllable balloons that themselves had lift capacity, but had propulsion engines, and rudders and lifts, respectively, and control longitudinal axis (scale). The suspended gondolas housed the crew and passengers. Rigid types contained internal frameworks that were not required by non-rigid types, such as blimps.

Gondolas or control cars from L-8 and K-47 aircraft from WWII were put up. The latter, delivered on May 19, 1943, in Moffett Field, California, had an internal volume of 425,000 cubic feet.

In the second or cosmic case, the replica of the Mercury Freedom 7 space capsule, the original of which was launched at 116.5 nautical miles and carried into air / space for 14.8 minutes, represents the contribution of Naval Aviation to the Space Program, because Naval Aviator Alan B. Shepard became the first American to enter this kingdom on May 5, 1961.

An original Skylab II command module was issued, which revolved around the Skylab space station during 28 days between May and June 1973. Served by a three-man navy crew, it set several records, including the longest manned spacecraft, the largest distance traveled and the largest mass docked in space.

From the entresol and the main floor you can see the 75-meter Blue Angels Atrium, 75 feet high and 10,000 square feet high, which connects the south and west wings and contains four Douglas A-4 Skyhawks in a diving diamond painted in the aerobatic team and # 39; s navy blue.

Hangar Bay One, with 55,000 square feet of exhibition space, includes aircraft such as the Sikorsky VH-3 Sea King, which transported Presidents Nixon and Ford in the ’70s; Douglas R4D-5L Skytrain, which first landed in the Antarctic South Pole in 1956; and Grumman F-14D Tomcat, the supersonic wing fighter who recorded the last combat mission.

Services for visitors include complementary tours, a laser-powered theater with a giant screen showing many daily films, two souvenir shops and a Cubi Bar cafe.

Training flights of the famous Blue Angels demonstration team can be seen at the Museum Flight Line, north of the museum itself.

Another historic attraction at Naval Air Station is the Pensacola Lighthouse.

Due to the strategic importance of the port of Pensacola, in March 1823, Congress earmarked $ 6,000 for the construction of the lighthouse, choosing a suitable location in June, but temporarily replacing the floating alternative “Aurora Borealis” until construction was completed. Moved from the mouth of the Mississippi River, it was placed beyond the western end of the island of Santa Rosa.

The fixed structure, 40 feet wide, white brick tower with ten whale kerosene lamps, each reinforced with a 14-inch reflector, was first lit on December 20 the following year and allowed sailing ships to sail on it and then enter the port.

Although it turned out to be more useful than the floating boat he replaced, he began to reveal his shortcomings in 1850: he was disturbed by trees on the island of Santa Rosa, and his light was too dim to serve as effective navigational aid, which encouraged the newly created lighthouse recommends a replacement that goes up at least 150 feet high.

In response to this request, Congress allocated USD 25,000 in 1854, and an additional USD 30,000 two years later. Construction of the new facility, located half a mile west of the original, was completed in 1858. Rising 159 feet from a 30-foot base and narrowing to a 15-meter peak, it was lit for the first time on New Year and No. 39; s Day, 1859, author: Keeper Palmes. It contained the strongest first-order Fresnel lens available.

The Pensacola Lighthouse, currently listed in the National Register of Historic Places, offers visitors a glimpse into the life of a light guard from the mid-nineteenth century, with the Visitor Center and museum store at the Carriage House from the 1890s, by Richard C. Callaway Museum in 1869. the guards’ quarters and the 177-degree lighthouse itself, which you can climb with a view of the bay of Pensacola.

Another historically important attraction at Pensacola’s Naval Air Station is Fort Barrancas.

“Located on a cliff overlooking the bay of Pensacola, Fort Barrancas was built to protect the United States from foreign invaders,” according to the National Park Service. “Once considered indispensable for national defense, today Fort Barrancas illustrates the evolution of military technology and America’s values.”

Shortly after Spain surrendered Florida to the United States, the United States Navy chose Pensacola Bay as its main yard in the Gulf Coast Navy, and at the same time, Corps of Engineer Corps officers were sent to explore the shoreline with the intention of building fortifications to protect Navy Shipyard itself.

Built over the ruins of a Spanish fort from 1798, designated as Fort San Carlos de Barrancas – “Barrancas” is the Spanish word for “bluffs” – it was the third such fortification in the bay. The existing Batteria de San Antonio from 1797 has been preserved and modified.

Taking form between March 21 and September 21 by the hands of enslaved workers who worked from sunrise to sunset, it included substantial armament, including ten 24-pounder cannons.

Although it was built as a defensive structure, it engaged in combat only during the Civil War.

Due to new changes in cannons and warships, the US government began evaluating proposals for a new coastal defense in 1885, and after closing the curtain during World War II, a surplus was announced in 1947.

The trail leads from the Visitor Center to a real kite-shaped fort, whose significant features include a slope and a counter-slope, ditch, drawbridge, port sally, guard room, open parade area and water accumulator. The tunnel connected the last two. Cannon shells fired from the water accumulator itself were supposed to bounce off the bay and hit ships on their water lines.

The walls of the fort, four feet thick and 20 feet high, consisting of six million bricks, have arches and precious ceilings.

The nearby Advanced Redoubt, built in 1845–1870, protected the northern side of the peninsula, the location of Pensacola Navy Yard.

Pensacola Beach:

Connected by a bridge and a dike, across the Gulf Breeze, to the mainland, Pensacola Beach, eight miles from downtown Pensacola and accessible through Interstate 110 South, is a narrow stretch of sweet sand on the Santa Rosa Barrier Island, overlooking the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico, and offering ocean-related activities such as swimming, sunbathing, fishing, snorkelling, sailing and diving. Fiery reds, chartreuse and purple sunsets regularly paint the sky.

There are many beach hotels such as Surf and Sand, Margaritaville Beach and Portofino Island Resort, as well as well-known names such as Hampton Inn, Hilton, Holiday Inn, SpringHill Suites and Days Inn. Florida-looking seafood restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating with water views include restaurants such as Hemingway Island Island Grill, Flounder’s Chowder House, Grand Marlin, Shaggy’s Pensacola Beach and Peg Leg Pete & # 39; p.

The Pensacola Gulf Pier, extending 1,471 feet, allows bluefish, pompano, redfish, Spanish mackerel and sea trout to be fished. Flounder cannot be ruled out.

The self-driving trail in the Sand Eco Tour, marked with information signs, gives the opportunity to get to know local plants and animals, including dolphins, sharks, turtles, birds, fish and flowers. Everyone explains a different ecological topic.

Pensacola Beach is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which itself stretches 160 miles from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to Cat Island, Mississippi and includes barrier islands, sea forests, bays, marine habitats and historic forts. The park’s headquarters, offering orientation videos and exhibits for the Live Naval Oaks area, is located in Gulf Breeze, an island between the mainland and Pensacola Beach.

The national coast shaped by the Gulf of Mexico retains the pockets of American history and culture and surrounds guests with flora and fauna in Florida. In the emptiness created by water and sky, for example, the surface of dolphins, starfish swimming, and pelicans and seagulls allow the breeze to carry them across the panorama.

One of the monuments on the national coast of the Gulf of Mexico is Fort Pickens, located at the western end of the island of Santa Rosa, opposite the entrance to the bay of Pensacola Bay from Fort Barrancas. Named after Brigadier General Andrew Pickens, a patriot who fought honors in South Carolina during the War of Independence, was once the largest brick building in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tracking its origins until 1821, when the Third Coastal Fort System was extended to protect Pensacola Bay and its mainland communities, it adopted a second goal four years later, when the legislator established a shipyard and naval warehouse. As part of a trio of defense, he was supposed to guard the western end of the island of Santa Rosa in cooperation with the cliff fortifications north of the canal and the eastern end of Perdido Key.

Its construction, under the supervision of the US Army Corps of Engineers, began in 1829. After the government purchased 998 acres of land, and the pentagonal structure built of over 21.5 million bricks and equipped with over 200 cannon was completed five years later

“(Workers) used building materials such as lime, water and sand to mix the mortar; sawn timber for grilling and for the construction of quays, scaffolding and ancillary buildings; lead sheets for waterproof casemate arches and for gutters and drains; granite for steps and traverses stones; copper sheet, rods and holders for use in powder storage; (i) brick for the main work and counterattack, “according to the National Park Service.

Requiring a garrison of 500 people during the war, but capable of holding a double number in an emergency, the five-bastion structure, consisting of one casemate level and a barb level, was able to release the ring of fire from the sea side of the wall.

In this case, the only fight she has ever experienced was during the Civil War.

Today, visitors still enter Fort Pickens through their original bollard, the main entrance protected by a heavy oak door. The plaster-lined quarters were used as both residences and hospital rooms. Arched casemates provided protected artillery positions and a base for second-level guns. The three main chambers, each containing 1,000 pounds of gunpowder, were connected by a tunnel system. The powder magazines storing the black fort power supply were lined with wood to keep them dry and require slipper-covered soldiers who entered them to prevent potential spark ignition. The generator room was the location of steam generators installed in 1903. In order to supply electricity to spotlights and other modern devices.

The counterattack created a dry mount to protect the fort from land attacks. Rainwater was collected and stored in drinking tanks. And the tower bastion, directed straight across the canal, provided port security.