A travel guide for Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola is located in northwest Florida, 16 km from the state border of Alabama. It is rich in historical military air and nature monuments and offers Florida's typical aspects of sun, sand, seafood and water.


Although St. Augustine is considered the oldest city in the US on Florida's east or Atlantic coast and took root after Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles sailed there and founded a colony, Pensacola, in the west or west of the state Gulf of Mexico side, could have claimed the title if his own settlement had lasted.

Six years earlier, in August 1559, the Spanish explorer Tristan de Luna threw his own anchor in an area called "Panzacola" for "long-haired people" with the intention of Luis de Velasco, the Mexican viceroy of Spain's order to build a settlement in the Bay.

Well supplied and prepared, he was equipped with 11 ships and brought with him 1,500 aspiring colonists, including African slaves and Mexican Indians. But history was forced to take the wrong fork when a violent hurricane on 19 September decimated eight de Luna ships.

Nevertheless, to save the expedition, he sent one of them to Veracruz, Mexico, for help. The immigrants had to live and survive on land by taking the supplies they brought with them. But instead of restoring the colonists, the ships arriving one year later only saved the survivors by bringing them to Havana until the spring of 1561, leaving little more than a military outpost. In August, the few soldiers left the new territory and returned to Mexico because it was too dangerous for the settlement.

Although it was unknown at the time, it would never become a celebrity as the oldest contiguous US city.

It would take almost 150 years before the foreign armed forces wanted to regain their footing in 1698. In this case, Spain built a more successful occupation in what is now Pensacola, and for this purpose established a new colonial town.

As so often in history, the land that was once claimed became the price that others often sought by military means, and Pensacola proved no exception. The Spaniards first surrendered to the French in May 1719, but it was hardly the end of their possession. France, Spain, Great Britain and Spain would take over again during the next century, until the latter finally ceded Florida to the United States in 1821. As the Confederation also "took up residence", Pensacola is considered the "City of the Five Flags". "

Much of its almost 500-year history has been preserved and can be experienced in the Pensacola Historic District, which is administered by the UWF Historic Trust, an organization supported by the University of West Florida, and which consists of 27 properties Register of historical sites.

The entry, which is only available for one week, includes guided tours and visitor entry. Tickets are available at Tivoli High House.

There are many important structures. Seville Square, for example, is the center of the old settlement and served as one end of the parade ground on the British Route, which ends at Twin Plaza Ferdinand VII. Here, in 1821, General Andrew Jackson took the territory of West Florida from Spain and hoisted the US flag for the first time.

A small preserved section of Fort George, a target of the American Revolution at the Battle of Pensacola, is a symbol of the British occupation from 1763 to 1781.

Original homes abound, including Julee Panton Cottage, Lavalle House (1805), Dorr House (1871) and Lear Rocheblave House (1890).

The Old Christ Church, located on Sevilla Square and built in 1824 by slave laborers, is the oldest of its kind in the state, still inhabiting its original location.

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

Although the Pensacola Grand Hotel is not technically part of the Pensacola Historic District, it is located on the grounds of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad passenger depot, built in 1912 to replace the original L & N Union Station built in 1882, on the Pensacola 58 years , It is now in the National Register of Historic Places.

Restored in its original splendor and transformed into a hotel with a 15-storey glass tower, it retains much of its early decoration, including a French-tone roof and ceramic mosaic floor, adorned with antique pieces such as solid wood, drop-cast bronze light and antique furniture ,

The opulent 1912 "The Restaurant" is located on the ground floor and features Biva's entry doors from London, a Philadelphia-cast bronze French-style chandelier, 1885 Victorian Scranton glass-paneled glass, and Lloyd's shell-shaped barbecues # 39; s from London.

Naval Station Pensacola:

At Naval Air Station Pensacola there are several major attractions that can be accessed from the visitor gate, which require a passport such as a license to enter

It was located on the grounds of a naval court built in 1825 and, as a flight training station at the outbreak of the First World War, it was the first of its kind with nine officers, 23 mechanics, eight aircraft and ten beach tents.

Due to the strong expansion of the Second World War, she trained 1,100 cadets a month, which together flew about two million hours. After Naval Air Basic Training Command relocated its headquarters from Corpus Christi, Texas to Pensacola, clean jets were added to the syllabus. Today, the station is assigned 12,000 active members of the military, 9,000 of whom receive flight training.

The world-famous National Naval Aviation Museum, also located here, is the largest and most visited attraction in Florida. It did not begin as a tourist attraction, but rather as a way of incorporating the history of sea air into the cadets' curriculum, for which there was not enough time or resources available for traditional book and study.

Originally housed in an 8,500-square-foot wooden frame building from World War II, the facility became the site for the selection, collection, preservation and exhibition of aircraft and artifacts that represent the development and heritage of the service industry. It was opened on June 8, 1963.

It is constantly expanding and currently has over 700 aircraft in its collection, which are exhibited in the country's eleven other official marine museums. However, after a new facility with 37 acres of outside space and 350,000 square feet of interior space, there are still around 150 restored aircraft exhibited space was completed. Admission is free.

Divided into the south wing, the west wing, a second floor mezzanine, and the separate Hangar Bay One, it traces the evolution of naval aviation and the aircraft it has operated from the beginning to the recent conflicts in the Middle East.

The A-1 triad, for example, was so named because it operates in three areas: air (wing), water (float), and land (wheels). The Nieuport 28 in World War I enabled experiments with aircraft carriers, while the giant Navy Curtiss NC-4 at the dawn of the Golden Age was the first Atlantic off the Atlantic of Trepassey, Newfoundland, to the Azores islands off Portugal.

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

At the heart of the West Wing is the "USS Cabot" island and a replica of its deck, surrounded by an extensive collection of mostly World War II aircraft, including the Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat, the Vought-Sikorsky FG-1D Corsair and the TBM Avenger from General Motors (Grumman).

Of the many exhibits on the mezzanine floor of the museum, which overlooks both the south and west wings, and is even accessible via aircraft loft ladders, there can be none that provide greater contrast than those dedicated to the lighter room. as aviation and space exploration.

Emerging from the sphere balloon, which had been successfully flown by the Montgolfier brothers for the first time in 1783, airships were large, controllable balloons which themselves gained buoyancy according to the buoyancy principle, but contained engines for propulsion and rudders or yaw (steering) elevators) and longitudinal axis (pitch axis). In hanging gondolas were crew and passengers. Rigid types had internal frames that were not needed by the non-rigid ones, such as: B. airships.

You can see gondolas or control vehicles of the K-47 airships from the Navy of the L-8 and the Second World War. The latter was delivered on 19 May 1943 in Moffett Field, California, and had an internal volume of 425,000 cubic feet.

In the second or space case, a replica of the Mercury Freedom 7 space capsule, whose original was launched at 116.5 nautical miles and carried for 14.8 minutes in the air / space, represents Naval Aviation's contribution to the space program because of the Naval Aviator Alan B. Shepard was the first American to enter this empire on May 5, 1961.

You can also see the original Skylab II command module, which orbited the Skylab space station for 28 days between May and June 1973. It was used by a three-man crew of the entire Navy and set several records, including the longest manned space flight. the largest distance covered and the largest mass docked in space.

Visible from both the mezzanine and main floors, is the 75-foot, 10,000-square-foot Blue Angel Atrium, which connects the south and west wings and contains four Douglas A-4 Skyhawks in a diving diamond painted in the aerobatic team. 39; s dark blue finish.

Hangar Bay One, with 55,000 square meters of exhibition space, has aircraft such as the Sikorsky VH-3 Sea King, which transported Presidents Nixon and Ford in the 1970s. the Douglas R4D-5L Skytrain, which landed in 1956 as the first on the South Pole of the Antarctic; and the Grumman F-14D Tomcat, the supersonic hunter who logged the last combat mission.

Visitor services include complementary tours, a laser-driven giant screen theater that features several daily movies, two souvenir shops and the Cubi Bar Café.

Practice flights of the famous Blue Angels flight demonstration team can be viewed on the museum's airline north of the museum itself.

Another historic landmark on the grounds of Naval Air Station is the Pensacola Lighthouse.

Due to the strategic importance of the Port of Pensacola, the Congress provided $ 6000 to build a lighthouse in March 1823, selecting a suitable location in June and temporarily replacing the floating "Aurora Borealis" alternative until the construction was completed , It was transferred from the mouth of the Mississippi and lay beyond the western end of the island of Santa Rosa.

The permanent structure, a 40-foot white brick tower with ten whale oil lamps, each reinforced by a 14-inch reflector, was first lighted on December 20 of the following year, allowing the sailing ships to navigate and then into enter the harbor.

Although it proved to be more useful than the floating boat that replaced it, it had its shortcomings as early as 1850: it was obscured by trees on the island of Santa Rosa, and its light was too weak to serve as an effective navigational aid, leading to the new Built lighthouse led board to recommend a replacement that would rise at least 150 feet in height.

At his request, Congress made $ 25,000 in 1854 and another $ 30,000 two years later. The construction of the new facility, which is located half a mile west of the original, was completed in 1858. She climbed from a base of 30 feet to a top of 15 feet and was first lit on New Year's Day. s Day, 1859, by Keeper Palmes. It was the strongest lens back then, a first-order Fresnel lens.

The Lighthouse of Pensacola, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, offers visitors a glimpse into the life of the Light Wardens in the mid-19th century. The Visitor Center and Museum Shop are housed in the Carriage House from the 1890s, the Richard C. Callaway Museum from 1869 Preservation Area and the 177-level lighthouse itself, which overlooks Pensacola Bay.

Another historically important attraction of Naval Air Station Pensacola is Fort Barrancas.

"Fort Barrancas sits on the cliffs above Pensacola Bay and was built to protect the United States from foreign invaders," said the National Park Service. "Previously considered important for national defense, Fort Barrancas today demonstrates the evolution of military technology and American values."

Shortly after Spain ceded Florida to the US, the United States Navy selected Pensacola Bay as the main seat of the Gulf Coast Navy. At the same time, the deployment of officers of the Army Corps of Engineers was decided to monitor the coast to build fortifications to protect the coast Navy Yard itself.

Built over the ruins of the Spanish fort of 1798, which was called Fort San Carlos de Barrancas – "Barrancas" is the Spanish word for "bluffs" – it was the third such fortification in the bay. The 1797 existing Batteria de San Antonio was maintained and rebuilt.

The enslaved workers, working from dawn to dusk, from 21 March to 21 September, became major armor, including ten 24-pound cannons.

Although it was built as a defensive building, it only fought during the Civil War.

Due to new developments in cannon and seagoing vessels, the US government began in 1885 with the evaluation of proposals for new coastal defense. After the curtain was closed for the Second World War, it was declared superfluous in 1947.

A path leads from the visitor center to the actual dragon-shaped fort, whose outstanding features include an embankment and back bank, a ditch, a drawbridge, a harbor, a guard room, an open parade area and a water battery. A tunnel connected the latter two. Cannon projectiles fired by the water battery itself were supposed to bounce off the bay and hit ships on their waterlines.

The four-foot-thick and 20-foot-high wall of the fort, which consists of six million bricks, has archways and valuable ceilings.

The nearby Advanced Redoubt, built between 1845 and 1870, protected the north side of the peninsula, which was home to the Pensacola Navy Yard.

Pensacola Beach:

Pensacola Beach is connected to the mainland via a bridge and a causeway via Gulf Breeze. Pensacola Beach is 13 km from downtown Pensacola and accessible via Interstate 110 South. The Gulf and Gulf of Mexico offer sea-related activities such as swimming, sunbathing, fishing, snorkelling, sailing and diving. Fiery red, chartreuse and purple sunsets regularly paint the sky.

There are numerous beachfront hotels, including Surf and Sand, Margaritaville Beach and Portofino Island Resort, as well as well-known names such as the Hampton Inn, the Hilton, the Holiday Inn, the SpringHill Suites and the Days Inn. Florida's signature seafood restaurants with indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the water include Hemingways Island Grill, Flounder's Chowder House, Grand Marlin, Shaggy's Pensacola Beach and Peg Leg Pete's.

The Pensacola Gulf Pier extends over 400 meters into the water and offers the opportunity to fish for bluefish, pompano, redfish, Spanish mackerel and spotted sea trout. Flounder can not be ruled out.

The self-guided footprints on the Sand Eco Tour, marked with informative signs, provide an opportunity to learn about local plant and animal life, 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 stretches from Fort Walton Beach (Florida) to Cat Island (Mississippi) and includes barrier islands, coastal forests, bayous, marine habitats and historic fortresses. Located in Gulf Breeze, the island between the mainland and Pensacola Beach, the park's headquarters, offering orientation films and exhibits on the Live Naval Oaks Area.

The Gulf Coast of Mexico's national coast retains American history and culture, captivating visitors to Florida's flora and fauna. In the emptiness between water and sky, for example, dolphins emerge, starfish swim, pelicans and seagulls are carried by the breeze over the panorama.

One of the historic attractions of the Gulf Islands National Seashore is Fort Pickens at the western end of Santa Rosa Island, just across the harbor entrance from Pensacola Bay, from Fort Barrancas. Named after Brigadier Andrew Pickens, a patriot who fought with distinction during the Revolutionary War in South Carolina, it was once the largest brick building on the Gulf of Mexico.

Its origins date back to 1821, when the Third Coastal Fortress system was extended to protect the bay of Pensacola and its coastal communities on the mainland. Four years later it took on a secondary purpose when the legislature set up a naval court and a depot. As part of the Trio of Defense, the western end of the island of Santa Rosa was to be guarded in collaboration with fortifications of the cliffs north of the canal and at the eastern end of Perdido Key.

Construction under the supervision of the US Army Corps of Engineers began in 1829, after the government acquired 998 acres of land, and the pentagonal structure, consisting of more than 21.5 million bricks and equipped with more than 200 guns, was completed five times later.

"(Workers) used building materials such as lime, water and sand to mix mortar; lumber for barbecues and quays, scaffolding and support buildings; lead sheets to watertight casemate arches and for gutters and drains; granite for steps and transitions stones, copper sheets, Rods and devices for use in powder magazines, (and) bricks for the main work and the carps, "said the National Park Service.

During the war, a crew of 500 men was required, but in emergencies the five-bastion structure, consisting of a single row of casemates and a row of barbettes, could receive double the number of walls.

The only fight it has ever seen took place in the Civil War.

Today, visitors still enter Fort Pickens via its original Sally Post, whose main entrance is secured by heavy oak doors. The plaster-lined rooms served as both residential and hospital rooms. The domed casemates provided sheltered artillery positions and a base for the second-tier guns. Three main chambers, each containing 1,000 pounds of gunpowder, were connected by a tunnel system. The powder magazines holding the fort's black power unit were lined with wood to keep them dry, and required the slipper-covered boots of soldiers invading them to prevent possible ignition by sparks. In the generator room were the 1903 installed steam generators, the headlights and other modern devices supplied with electricity.

The carps formed a dry mount to protect the fortress from land-based attacks. Rainwater was collected and stored in cisterns for drinking. And the tower bastion, which showed directly over the canal, provided for the protection of the port.