Thursday, September 16, 2010

Exploring Old Stuff

You can't find a city in the U.S. older than Pensacola, Florida, founded by the Spanish in 1559.  We finally nabbed it after it was under the thumb of the Spanish, the French, the Spanish, the British, and those darn Spaniards again.  It went through a Confederate stage during the Civil War (when the North conquered Pensacola, they burned it pretty much to the ground, which is something they apparently enjoyed doing.  See "Atlanta").  Pensacola also seems to get hit ALOT by hurricanes, starting the very same year Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano and 1400 of his closest buddies took control.  The hurricane sank 5 of his 11 ships and killed hundreds--only about 50 stayed on but it was decided that northwest Florida was too dangerous to settle so the stragglers were relocated to Mexico and nobody resettled until 1694.  For those who like to quibble, yes, St. Augustine, FL is usually acknowledged to be the first European settlement in the U.S. and while it was founded six years after Pensacola it had the good luck not to get wiped out by a hurricane and is actually the oldest continuously inhabited U.S. city.  But as Wikipedia puts it, "The City of Pensacola, however, still occasionally refers to the area as 'America's First Settlement' in advertisements, signs and travel brochures."  Just humor them, Wiki, ok?

(As a side note, northwest Florida is probably STILL too dangerous to settle in if you're a lefty/commie/ pinko liberal/baby-killing/homo-tolerant/anti-war Democrat.  I keep thinking I'm going to get shot at every time I venture away from the beach, what with my "Yay We Did It/Obama Won The Presidency/Neener Neener" bumpersticker affixed to my car). 

Pensacola got its name from the Indians who were, of course, there before anyone else.  They were the "Panzacola" tribe and I'm fairly certain most residents of present-day Pensacola have no idea who they were.  Pensacola's history also includes the fact that the great Apache chief, Geronimo, was imprisoned at Fort Pickens for a year.  Prior to the Civil War, Andrew Jackson served as Florida's first territorial governor and resided in Pensacola until the capitol was established in Tallahassee.  He was noted for his persecution of Indians and Creoles and paved the way for the influx of white planters and their slaves.  In 1972 black students attacked the Escambia High School band for playing "Dixie" at a football game.  I THINK everyone's getting along these days other than that Tea Party vs. commie/pinko/liberal thing.

My cousin-by-marriage Gwen stayed at the condo with me for a few days recently for a bit of MUCH NEEDED R&R, so since neither she nor I have any interest in baking ourselves in the sun or getting beach sand up our you-know-whats I took her on a tour of downtown "America's First Settlement!"  It was Sunday and it soon became apparent that if you screamed at the top of your lungs in downtown Pensacola the only person who might hear you is the drunk sleeping it off in the pretty little park.  I took her by a replica of a home owned by one of the first American Pensacola merchants:
     (You are actually looking at the second floor balconies at the front and back of the home).

(Walking around towards the front of the house you see a nice iron fence and some VERY tall hedges!)

(Hmmm.  We're beginning to get a perspective problem.  That appears to be a electric meter to the left.  A GREAT BIG GIGANTIC HUMONGOUS ELECTRIC METER!).

(Ha ha.  Unless Gwen is The World's Tallest Woman--which she's not--it appears that the house was built to a much smaller scale.  There's a plaque in front that identifies and informs about the house but due to an apparent lack of maintenance it's pretty much unreadable.  I was unable to find any information about it on the internet).

I wanted to get a true indication of the scale of the little house and just as I snapped this photo Gwen bent down and I'm pretty sure--but not positive, it being Gwen--that she wouldn't want her butt showing for all the world to see.   A little editing fixed that.
(She's peering into the downstairs through the front door).

Gwen's a hoot and I love her dearly.  She called me at 5:30 this morning with the latest installment in the high drama that is her life.  God bless you, cuz. 

And Happy Thursday to everyone!!!


  1. Back at cha Christine!
    What a history! Must be very hardy people willing to live there and withstand the threat of hurricanes and it's tumultuous past etc. Good solid American stock, if you ask me!

  2. Why did they build it tiny? I'm not getting it!

    Anyway, welcome back, and I guess I'm a lefty/commie/ pinko liberal/baby-killing/homo-tolerant/anti-war Democrat right with you.

  3. I don't know why they built it tiny. It's on a great big lot. Maybe they only had "this much" lumber?

  4. Did midgets live there? Leprechauns? Was it an opium den? So many questions.

  5. Oompa Loompas live there, Willy Wonka is underground. =)