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City of Tallahassee
—  City  —
From top: Tallahassee Skyline, City Hall, Florida Capitol Dome, Turlington Building, Florida State University


Motto: The Other Florida, A City For All Seasons
Location in Leon County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 30°27′06″N 84°16′6.72″W / 30.45167°N 84.2685333°W / 30.45167; -84.2685333Coordinates: 30°27′06″N 84°16′6.72″W / 30.45167°N 84.2685333°W / 30.45167; -84.2685333
Country  United States
State  Florida
County  Leon
 - Mayor John Marks
 - City 98.2 sq mi (254.5 km2)
 - Land 95.7 sq mi (247.9 km2)
 - Water 2.5 sq mi (6.6 km2)
Elevation 203 ft (62 m)
Population (2008)
 - City 171,922 (133rd)
 Metro 357,259
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 32300-32399
Area code(s) 850
FIPS code 12-70600[1]
GNIS feature ID 0308416[2]

Tallahassee (pronounced /ˌtæləˈhæsi/) is the capital of the State of Florida, USA, the county seat of Leon County, and the 133rd biggest city[3] in the USA. Tallahassee became the capitol of Florida in 1824. In 2008, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 171,922[4], while the 2008 Tallahassee metropolitan area is estimated at 357,259.[5]

Tallahassee is the home of Florida A&M University, Florida State University, Keiser University - Tallahassee, Tallahassee Community College and branches of Barry University, and Flagler College. The Florida A&M University- Florida State 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 ITT Technical Institute.

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,[6] its major private employers include a General Dynamics Land Systems manufacturing facility (military and combat applications), 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[7]. It is recognized as a regional center for scientific research, and is home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the largest and highest-powered magnet research laboratory in the world.



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.[8]

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.

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.

Tallahassee was created as the capital of Florida during the second legislative session. The first session of Florida's Legislative Council -as a territory of the United States- met on July 22, 1822 at Pensacola and members from St. Augustine traveled fifty-nine days by water to attend. The second session was in St. Augustine and required western delegates to travel perilously around the peninsula. A decision was made at the second session to select a halfway point to shorten the sea-voyage and the twenty-eight-day overland crossing from St. Augustine to Pensacola. Two appointed commissioners selected Tallahassee (old Apalachee land) as a halfway point. In 1824, the third legislative session met there in a crude log capitol.[9]

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.[10]

Talahassee was the center of the slave trade in Florida as the city was the capital of the Cotton Belt.[11]

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.

In 1977 a 23-story high-rise Capitol building was completed, which is now the third-tallest state capitol building in the U.S. In 1978 the old capitol was scheduled for demolition, but the State Of Florida decided to keep the Old Capitol as a museum and point of interest. The new and old capitols still stand to this day in Tallahassee[12].

Tallahassee was the center of world attention for six weeks during the 2000 United States Presidential election recount, which involved numerous rulings by the Florida Secretary of State and the Florida Supreme Court.

Geography and climate

Tallahassee City Hall

[13] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 98.2 square miles (254.5 km²), of which, 95.7 square miles (247.9 km²) of it is land and 2.5 square miles (6.6 km²) of it (2.59%) is water.

Tallahassee's terrain is hilly by Florida standards, 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 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 high temperature July (the hottest month of the year) is 92 °F(32 °C). Conversely, the city is much cooler in the winter.

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 (-12 and -6°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 in 1993 there were traces of snow and 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 17 years. The last measurable snowfall took place in December 1989. 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 ([1]). 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.

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.

Climate data for Tallahassee
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 64
Average low °F (°C) 40
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.36
Avg. rainy days 10 9 9 6 8 13 17 14 9 5 7 8 115
Source: The Weather Channel and National Climatic Data Center[14][15] October 2008


Tallahassee is the twelfth fastest growing metropolitan area in Florida. Tallahassee’s 12.4 percent growth rate is higher than both Miami and Tampa and half that of Cape Coral-Fort Myers and Naples-Marco Island.

As of the 2000 census[1], there were 150,624 people, 63,217 households, and 29,459 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,573.8 people per square mile (607.6/km²). There were 68,417 housing units at an average density of 714.8/sq mi (276.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 60.42% White, 34.24% African American, 0.25% Native American, 2.40% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.97% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.19% of the population. Non-Hispanic whites were 57.79% of the population.

There were 63,217 households, 21.8% of which had children under 18 living in them. 30.1% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband, and 53.4% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.17 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the city, the population was spread out with 17.4% under the age of 18, 29.7% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 8.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,571, and the median income for a family was $49,359. Males had a median income of $32,428 versus $27,838 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,981. About 12.6% of families and 24.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.6% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.

Educationally, the population of Leon County is the most highly educated population in Florida with 49.9% of the residents with either a Bachelor's, Master's, professional or doctorate degree. The Florida average is 22.4% and the national average is 24.4%.

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1860 201
1870 384 91.0%
1880 1,432 272.9%
1890 2,159 50.8%
1900 3,185 47.5%
1910 6,374 100.1%
1920 10,303 61.6%
1930 51,937 404.1%
1940 62,475 20.3%
1950 73,958 18.4%
1960 89,539 21.1%
1970 102,482 14.5%
1980 113,583 10.8%
1990 124,773 9.9%
2000 150,624 20.7%
Est. 2008 171,922 14.1%


As of 1974, 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.[16]

City accolades

Government and politics

City Hall

Tallahassee has traditionally been a Democratic city, and is one of the few cities in the South known 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.[18]

Tallahassee Elected Government
Position Name Party

Mayor John Marks Democratic
Mayor Pro-Tem Debbie Lightsey Democratic
Commissioner Gil Ziffer Democratic
Commissioner Mark Mustian Democratic
Commissioner Andrew Gillum Democratic
Tallahassee Appointed Officials
Position Name Party

City Manager Anita Thompson unknown
City Attorney James R. English unknown
City Auditor Sam McCall unknown
City Treasurer Gary Herndon unknown


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.

Leon County Voting On Consolidation

1968 10,381 (41.32%) 14,740 (58.68%)
1973 11,056 (46.23%) 12,859 (53.77%)
1976 20,336 (45.01%) 24,855 (54.99%)
1992 37,062 (39.8%) 56,070 (60.2%)

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.[19]

Federal representation

Tallahassee is part of Florida's 2nd congressional district.

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Tallahassee. The Tallahassee Main Post Office is located at 2800 South Adams Street.[20] Other post offices in the city limits include Centerville Station,[21] Leon Station,[22] Park Avenue Station,[23] and Westside Station.[24]

Urban planning and expansion

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 (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.

Land use
Adams Street Mall
Topographical map


Leon County Schools operates Tallahasee's public schools.

High schools

Universities and colleges

Public safety

Law enforcement services are provided by the Tallahassee Police Department, the Leon County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Capitol Police, Florida State University Police Department, Florida A&M University Department of Public Safety, the Tallahasse Community College Police Department, and the Florida Highway Patrol.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Marshals, Immigration and Customs Enforcement[25], Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Agency have offices in Tallahassee. The US Attorney's Office for North Florida is based in Tallahassee.

Fire and Rescue services are provided by the Tallahassee Fire Department and Leon County Emergency Medical Services.

Hospitals in the area include Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, Capital Regional Medical Center and HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Tallahassee.

Places of interest

Located nearby are:

Festivals and events




Mass transit

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


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

Defunct railroads

See also History of Tallahassee, Florida

Major highways




  • WCTV (CBS) channel 6
  • WFSU (PBS) channel 11
  • WTLH (Fox) channel 49
  • WTWC (NBC) channel 40
  • WTXL (ABC) channel 27


Notable Tallahassee groups and organizations


Sister cities

Tallahassee has five sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

See also


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places over 100,000, Ranked by July 1, 2008 Population : April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008
  4. ^ "Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places Over 100,000, Ranked by July 1, 2008 Population: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008" (CSV). 2008 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-07-01. 
  5. ^ Tallahassee, FL MSA Population - Retrieved on May 27, 2009
  6. ^ BIG BEND: Rounding out the Economy
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Florida: A Short History, Michael V. Gannon, ISBN 0-8130-1167-1, Copyright @ 1993 by the Board of Regents of the State of Florida
  10. ^ MOSQUITO COUNTY 1842 (Archived Page)
  11. ^ Slavery and Plantation Growth in Antebellum, Florida, 1821-1860
  12. ^
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ "Monthly Averages for Tallahassee, FL". The Weather Channel. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-16. 
  15. ^ "Mean Number of Days with Precipitation 0.01 inch or more". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  16. ^ Modern Language Association Data Center Results of Tallahassee, FL
  17. ^ ePodunk College Towns Index
  18. ^ Leon Supervisor of Elections Office
  19. ^ City County Consolidation Efforts: Selective Incentives and Institutional Choice
  20. ^ "Post Office Location - TALLAHASSEE." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  21. ^ "Post Office Location - CENTERVILLE STATION." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  22. ^ "Post Office Location - LEON STATION." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  23. ^ "Post Office Location - PARK AVENUE STATION." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  24. ^ "Post Office Location - WESTSIDE STATION." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ BPWT website
  28. ^ Gamelan brings captivating Bali music
  29. ^ Gamelan Groups in the USA
  30. ^ Kelompok Gamelan di Amerika Serikat
  • Tebeau, Charlton, W. A History of Florida. University of Miami Press. Coral Gables. 1971
  • Williams, John Lee. Journal of an Expedition to the Interior of West Florida October - November 1823. Manuscript on file at the State Library of Florida, Florida Collection. Tallahassee.

External links

Simple English

Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State Capitol
Location in Leon County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 30°27′06″N 84°16′6.72″W / 30.45167°N 84.2685333°W / 30.45167; -84.2685333
Country United States
State Florida
Counties Leon
 - Mayor John Marks
 - City 98.2 sq mi (254.5 km2)
 - Land 95.7 sq mi (247.9 km2)
 - Water 2.5 sq mi (6.6 km2)
Elevation 79 ft (24 m)
Population (2005)
 - City 159,012
 Density 1,533.85/sq mi (607.6/km2)
 Metro 336,501
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)

Tallahassee is the capital city of the U.S. state of Florida

The name comes from the Apalachee Native American words: talwa meaning town, and ahassee meaning old.

The city is the location of two important universities, Florida State University and Florida A&M University.

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