26 February 2006

Historic Pensacola Village

On Friday the 24th, Bill and I drove into downtown Pensacola to check out the Historic Pensacola Village. (http://www.historicpensacola.org/) This was the site of the nations first settlement, St. Augustine gets billing for the nations first city because the settlement at Pensacola was quickly wiped out by a hurricane, a trend that would continue through the ages. When we first arrived the tour through the Historic Village wasn’t going to start for a couple hours so we walked a couple blocks to the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum.

This Museum is free of charge and hosts two stories of Pensacola history with the top floor (the third story) a place for kids to learn and play, called the Discovery Gallery. It’s set up as trading posts, a fort, a ship, and other things that kids can dress up and learn what it like during colonial times. Really a neat place. You can find more info about the museum and what’s inside at the link above. Probably my favorite exhibit was the one about the hurricanes that have devastated the area throughout history. They compare the two most devastating hurricanes in recent history, the 1926 and Ivan in 2004. This exhibit is bone chilling, they have recordings from 911 calls playing while you walk the exhibit and see how closely the timelines match from both hurricanes. At the end of the exhibit is a book with blank pages for people to write about their memories of Ivan, some of the writings are heart wrenching. You just don’t understand what these people have been through until you come here and see the devastation that still exists. All we hear about on the news is about New Orleans and Katrina, but these people are quietly still rebuilding their lives and homes from a year and a half ago. They aren’t bashing the government for not rebuilding for them, they aren’t looking for handouts and freebees, they got up off their asses and started rebuilding in whatever ways they could. I could never live here, not with the fact it’s a crapshoot every year whether or not my house will still be there. But it’s pretty awe-inspiring to see the people of this area just pick up and start all over. I’ve met a lady here in the Milton area (about a 30min drive from Pensacola) that was without power for 12 days because of Ivan and has only recently has her roof replaced, a year and a half ago…and she only had her roof replaced in the last couple of months. There just words to describe, there are entire roads and Florida State Routes that are still closed because of the destruction and mounds of sand that are blocking the way.

Anyway, after touring the museum we went to meet up with our tour group. The tour through Historic Pensacola Village is really a neat tour, it’s only $6.00 per adult and your tickets are good for seven days, you can come back and do the tour as many times as you want and your tickets also get you into two other museums and a couple more of the houses that aren’t on the tour. The tour lasts around 90min and is full of history and tidbits that are worth the walk. We ran out of time that day to check out the other two museums and houses so we plan on going back within our seven days. We will likely have more pictures and stories about it then. This village also acts as a Living History Museum, usually they have people dressed in period clothing doing period tasks throughout the village, I was told by my tour guide that they were short staffed that day, likely because of preparations for Mardi Gras, but that Saturday’s are the best days to come to see the Living History side of it. I’m hoping we can go back next Saturday and check it out.