Quick facts for kids
|City of Tallahassee|
Top, Left to Right: Tallahassee Skyline, Florida Capitol Buildings, Unconquered statue of Osceola and Renegade at FSU, FAMU's Marching 100, Old St. Augustine Canopy Road, and Cascades Park
"Florida's Capital City"
|• Total||103.5 sq mi (268 km2)|
|• Land||100.3 sq mi (260 km2)|
|• Water||3.2 sq mi (8 km2)|
|Elevation||203 ft (62 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Rank||126th, U.S.|
|• Density||1,809.3/sq mi (698.6/km2)|
|• Urban||240,223 (153rd)|
|• Metro||377,924 (140th)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0308416|
Tallahassee // is the capital of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory, in 1824. In 2015, the population was 189,907, making the city the 126th-largest city in the United States. The population of the Tallahassee metropolitan area was 377,924 as of 2015. Tallahassee is the largest city in the Northwest Florida region as well as the main center for trade and agriculture in the Florida Big Bend and Southwest Georgia regions.
Tallahassee is home to Florida State University, ranked the nation's thirty-eighth best public university by U.S. News & World Report. It is also home to the Florida A&M University, one of the country's largest historically black universities by total enrollment. Tallahassee Community College is a large community college which serves mainly as a feeder school to both Florida State and Florida A&M. Tallahassee qualifies as a significant college town with a student population exceeding 70,000.
Tallahassee is home to the Florida State Capitol, Supreme Court of Florida, Florida Governor's Mansion, and nearly 30 state agency headquarters. The city is also known for its large number of law firms, lobbying organizations, trade associations and professional associations, including the Florida Bar and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. It is also a recognized regional center for scientific research, and home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. In 2015, Tallahassee was awarded the All-American City Award by the National Civic League for the second time. Tallahassee is currently ranked as the 18th best college town in the nation by Best College Reviews.
- City accolades
- Urban planning and expansion
- Places of interest
- Festivals and events
- Notable Tallahassee groups and organizations
- Sister cities
- Tallahassee photo gallery
- Images for kids
During the 17th century several Spanish missions were established in the territory of the Apalachee to procure food and labor for the settlement at St. Augustine. The largest, Mission San Luis de Apalachee, has been partially reconstructed by the state of Florida. The name "Tallahassee" is a Muskogean Indian word often translated as "old fields" or "old town", and it 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. They found large areas of cleared land previously occupied by the Apalachee tribe. Earlier, the Mississippian Indians built mounds near Lake Jackson around AD 1200, which survive today in the Lake Jackson Archaeological State Park.
The expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez 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 what is now Tallahassee in the winter of 1538–1539. Based on archaeological excavations this site is now known to be located about 0.5 miles (800 m) 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 First Seminole War, General Andrew Jackson fought two separate skirmishes in and around Tallahassee. The first battle took place on November 12, 1817. Chief Neamathla, of the village of Fowltown, just west of present day Tallahassee had refused Jackson's orders to relocate. Jackson responded by entering the village, burning it to the ground, and driving off its occupants. The Indians later retaliated, by killing 50 soldiers and civilians. Jackson reentered Florida in March 1818. According to Jackson's adjutant, Colonel Robert Butler, they "advanced on the Indian village called Tallahasse (sic) [where] two of the enemy were made prisoner."
Tallahassee became the capital of Florida during the second legislative session. It was chosen as it was roughly equidistant from St. Augustine and Pensacola, which had been the capitals of the Spanish territories of East Florida and West Florida. 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 on a twenty-eight-day trek. During this session, it was decided that future meetings should be held at a halfway point. Two appointed commissioners selected Tallahassee, at that point an abandoned Apalachee settlement, as a halfway point. In 1824 the third legislative session met there in a crude log capitol building.
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 tour of the United States in 1824. The U.S. Congress voted to give him $200,000 (the same amount he had given the colonies in 1778), US citizenship, and the Lafayette Land Grant, 36 square miles (93 km2) of land that today includes large portions 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 high-rise Capitol building that was built in the 1970s.
Tallahassee was in the heart of Florida's Cotton Belt—Leon County led the state in cotton production—and was the center of the slave trade in Florida. During the American Civil War, Tallahassee was the only Confederate state capital east of the Mississippi not captured by Union forces, and the only one not burned. A small engagement, the Battle of Natural Bridge, was fought south of the city on March 6, 1865, just a month before the war ended.
During the 19th century the institutions that would eventually evolve into what is now Florida State University were established in Tallahassee, firmly cementing its foundations as a university town. These included the Tallahassee Female Academy (founded 1843) and the Florida Institute (founded 1854). In 1851 the Florida legislature decreed two seminaries to be built on either side of the Suwannee River, East Florida Seminary and West Florida Seminary. In 1855 West Florida Seminary was transferred to the Florida Institute building (which had been established as an inducement for the state to place the seminary in Tallahassee). In 1858 the seminary absorbed the Tallahassee Female Academy and became coeducational. Its main building was located near the northwest corner of South Copeland and West Jefferson streets, approximately where FSU's Westcott Building is today.
In 1887 the Normal College for Colored Students, ancestor of today's FAMU, opened its doors. The legislature decided that Tallahassee was the best location In Florida for a college serving negro students. Four years later its name was changed to State Normal and Industrial College for Colored Students.
After 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. This included the hunting preserve of Henry L. Beadel, who bequeathed his land for the study of the effects of fire on wildlife habitat. Today the preserve is known as the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, nationally recognized for its research into fire ecology and the use of prescribed burning.
Until World War II, Tallahassee remained a small southern town with virtually the entire population living within 1 mile (1.6 km) of the Capitol. The main economic drivers were the colleges 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 to the growing population centers of the state. That motion was defeated 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 1970, the Census Bureau reported city's population as 74.0% white and 25.4% black.
In 1977 a 22-story high-rise Capitol building designed by architect Edward Durell Stone was completed, which is now the third-tallest state capitol building in the United States. In 1978 the old capitol, directly in front of the new capitol, was scheduled for demolition, but state officials decided to keep the Old Capitol as a museum.
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.
Tallahassee has an area of 98.2 square miles (254.3 km2), of which 95.7 square miles (247.9 km2) is land and 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2) (2.59%) is water.
Tallahassee's terrain is hilly by Florida standards, being located at the southern end of the Red Hills Region, just above the Cody Scarp. The elevation varies from near sea level to just over 200 feet (61 m), with the state capitol on one of the highest hills in the city. The city includes two large lake basins, Lake Jackson and Lake Lafayette, and borders the northern end of the Apalachicola National Forest.
The flora and fauna are similar to those found in the mid-south and low country regions of South Carolina and Georgia. The palm trees are the more cold-hardy varieties like the state tree, the Sabal palmetto. Pines, magnolias, hickories, and a variety of oaks are the dominant trees. The Southern Live Oak is perhaps the most emblematic of the city.
Tallahassee has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), with long summers and short, mild winters, as well as drier springs and autumns. Summers here are hotter than in the Florida peninsula and it is one of the few cities in the state to occasionally record temperatures above 100 °F or 37.8 °C, averaging 2.4 days annually. The record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was set on June 15, 2011.
Summer is characterized by brief intense showers and thunderstorms that form along the afternoon sea breeze from the Gulf of Mexico. The daily mean temperature in July, the hottest month, is 82.0 °F (27.8 °C). Conversely, the city is markedly cooler in the winter, with a January daily average temperature of 51.2 °F (10.7 °C). In addition, as Tallahassee straddles the boundary between USDA Hardiness Zones 8B and 9A, the coldest temperature of the season is typically around 20 °F or −6.7 °C. During the Great Blizzard of 1899 the city reached −2 °F (−18.9 °C), the only recorded sub-zero Fahrenheit reading in Florida and actually colder than the record low in Ketchikan, Alaska and Tromso, Norway.
Snow and ice are rare in Tallahassee. Nonetheless, over the last 100 years, the city has recorded some accumulating snowfalls; the heaviest was 2.8 inches (0.07 m) on February 13, 1958. A White Christmas occurred in 1989, and during the March 13–14, 1993 eastern U.S. “superstorm”, there were high winds and traces of snow. Historically, the city usually records at least flurries every three to four years, but on average, measurable amounts of snow 1.0 inch (2.5 cm) occur only once every 17 years. The last measurable snowfall took place December 22–23, 1989. The natural snow line (regular yearly snowfalls) ends 200 miles (320 km) to the north at Macon, Georgia, but the city averages 32 nights where the temperature falls below freezing, and, on average, the first freeze occurs on November 20, the last on March 22.
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 they are generally weak, cause little structural damage, and rarely hit the city directly. The most recent tornado to hit Tallahassee occurred on April 19, 2015. The tornado was classified as an EF1, and created a path as wide as 350 yards for almost 5 miles near Maclay Gardens. Damage included numerous downed tree limbs and a car crushed by a falling tree. During extremely 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, Florida (Tallahassee Regional Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1892–present|
|Record high °F (°C)||83
|Average high °F (°C)||63.5
|Daily mean °F (°C)||51.2
|Average low °F (°C)||39.0
|Record low °F (°C)||6
|Rainfall inches (mm)||4.34
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 inch)||8.9||8.4||7.9||6.1||7.1||13.6||15.9||14.4||8.5||5.7||6.6||8.1||111.2|
Nearby cities and suburbs
Tallahassee has many neighborhoods inside the city limits. Some of the most known and defined include All Saints, Apalachee Ridge, Betton Hills,Callen, Frenchtown (the oldest historically black neighborhood in the state), Killearn Estates, Killearn Lakes Plantation, Lafayette Park, Levy Park, Los Robles, Midtown, Holly Hills, Jake Gaither/University Park, Indian Head Acres, Myers Park, Smokey Hollow, SouthWood, Seminole Manor and Woodland Drives.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|2010 Census||Tallahassee||Leon County||Florida|
|Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010||+20.4%||+15.0%||+17.6%|
|Population density||1,809.3/sq mi||413.1/sq mi||350.6/sq mi|
|White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)||57.4%||63.0%||75.0%|
|(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)||53.3%||59.3%||57.9%|
|Black or African-American||35.0%||30.3%||16.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||6.3%||5.6%||22.5%|
|Native American or Native Alaskan||0.2%||0.3%||0.4%|
|Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian||0.1%||0.1%||0.1%|
|Two or more races (Multiracial)||2.3%||2.2%||2.5%|
|Some Other Race||1.3%||1.5%||3.6%|
As of the 2010 census, the population of Tallahassee was estimated to be 181,376. There were 74,815 households, 21.3% of which had children under 18 living in them. 27.7% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband, and 53.7% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals living alone and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.88. Children under the age of 5 were 5.5% of the population, persons under 18 were 17.2%, and persons 65 years or older were 8.1%. 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. 57.4% of the population was White, 35.0% Black, 3.7% Asian, 0.2% American Indian and Alaska Native, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 1.3% some other race, and 2.3% two or more races. 6.3% were Hispanic or Latino of any race, and 53.3% were non-Hispanic White. For the period 2009–2013, the estimated median household income was $39,524, and the per capita income was $23,778. The number of persons below the poverty level was estimated at 30.2%.
Educationally, the population of Leon County is the most highly educated population in Florida
As of 2000, 91.99% of residents spoke English as their first language, while 4.11% spoke Spanish, 0.63% spoke French, and 0.59% spoke German as their mother tongue. In total, 8.00% of the total population spoke languages other than English.
- 1988: Money Magazine's Southeast's three top medium size cities in which to live.
- 1992: Awarded Tree City USA by National Arbor Day Foundation
- 1999: Awarded All-America City Award by the National Civic League
- 2003: Awarded Tree Line USA by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
- 2006: Awarded "Best In America" Parks and Recreation by the National Recreation and Park Association.
- 2007: Recognized by Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine as one of the "Top Ten College Towns for Grownups" (ranking second, behind Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
- 2007: Ranked second in the "medium sized city" class on Epodunk's list of college towns.
- 2015: Awarded All-America City Award by the National Civic League
Urban planning and expansion
The first plan for the Capitol Center was the 1947 Taylor Plan, which consolidated several government buildings in one downtown area. In 1974, the Capitol Center Planning Commission for the City of Tallahassee, Florida responded to 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 2.3 million square feet (214,000 m2) of new government facilities in the city core, with 3,500 dwelling units, 100 acres (40 ha) 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.
|Rank||Name||Street Address||Height feet||Height meters||Floors||Year|
|1||Florida State Capitol||400 South Monroe Street,||345||101||25||1977|
|2||Turlington Building||325 West Gaines Street,||318||97||19||1990|
|3||Plaza Tower||300 South Duval Street||276||84||24||2008|
|4||Highpoint Center||100 South Adams St||239||70||15||1990|
|5||Doubletree Hotel||101 South Adams St,||220||67||16||1972|
Sprawl and Compact Growth
The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department implements policies aimed at promoting compact growth and development, including the establishment and maintenance of an Urban Service Area. The intent of the Urban Service Area is to "have Tallahassee and Leon County grow in a responsible manner, with infrastructure provided economically and efficiently, and surrounding forest and agricultural lands protected from unwarranted and premature conversion to urban land use." The result of compact growth policies has been a significant overall reduction in the Sprawl Index for Tallahassee between 2000-2010. CityLab reported on this finding, stating that "Tallahassee laps the field, at least as far as the Sprawl Index is concerned."
Places of interest
- Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park
- Carnegie Library at FAMU
- Challenger Learning Center
- College Town at Florida State University
- Doak Campbell Stadium
- Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park
- Florida Governor's Mansion
- Florida State Capitol
- Florida Supreme Court
- Foster Tanner Fine Arts Gallery at Florida A&M University
- Goodwood Museum and Gardens
- Innovation Park
- John G. Riley Center/Museum of African American History & Culture (Riley Museum)
- Knott House Museum
- Lake Ella
- Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
- Lafayette Heritage Trail Park
- LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts
- Mission San Luis de Apalachee
- Museum of Fine Arts at Florida State University
- Museum of Florida History
- National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
- North Florida Fairgrounds
- Railroad Square
- Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum
- Tallahassee Automobile Museum
- Tallahassee Museum
- James D. Westcott Building and Ruby Diamond Auditorium at Florida State University
Festivals and events
- Downtown Getdown (Florida State Seminoles Pep Rally)
- Experience Tallahassee Festival (Welcoming festival for FSU, TCC, and FAMU students)
- First Friday festivals at Railroad Square
- Greek Food Festival
- Red Hills Horse Trials
- Southern Music Rising Festival
- Springtime Tallahassee
- Tallahassee Film Festival
- Tallahassee Marathon and Half Marathon
- Tallahassee Wine and Food Festival
- Tallahassee Senior Center's Lifelong Learning Extravaganza – L3X
- Winter Festival
- Tallahassee International Airport (KTLH)
- Dale Mabry Field (closed 1961)
- Tallahassee Commercial Airport (closed 2011)
- StarMetro provides bus service throughout the city.
- Greyhound and Megabus based in downtown Tallahassee.
- CSX operates a main freight line through the city.
- Tallahassee Railroad, now a state trail.
- Carrabelle, Tallahassee and Georgia Railroad.
- Amtrak's Sunset Limited closed 2005
- Interstate 10 runs east and west across the north side of the city. Tallahassee is served by five exits including: Exit 192 (U.S. 90), Exit 196 (Capital Circle NW), Exit 199 (U.S. 27/Monroe St.), Exit 203 (U.S. 319/Thomasville Road and Capital Circle NE), and Exit 209 (U.S. 90/Mahan Dr.)
- U.S. Route 27 enters the city from the northwest before turning south and entering downtown. This portion of U.S. 27 is known locally as Monroe Street. In front of the historic state capitol building, U.S. 27 turns east and follows Apalachee Parkway out of the city.
- U.S. Route 90 runs east and west through Tallahassee. It is known locally as Tennessee Street west of Magnolia Drive and Mahan Drive east of Magnolia.
- U.S. Route 319 runs north and south along the east side of the city using Thomasville Road, Capital Circle NE, Capital Circle SE, and Crawfordville Road.
- State Road 20
- State Road 61
- State Road 363
Notable Tallahassee groups and organizations
- See also: List of people from Tallahassee, Florida
- Cold Water Army, music group
- Creed, rock band
- Cream Abdul Babar, music group
- The Crüxshadows, music group
- David Canter, medical doctor, folk musician
- Dead Prez, Alternative hip hop duo
- Go Radio, music group
- FAMU Marching 100, marching band
- FSU Marching Chiefs, marching band
- Look Mexico, rock band
- Mayday Parade, music group
- Mira, music group
- No Address, music group
- Socialburn, rock band
- Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, symphony orchestra
- Woman's Club of Tallahassee
- CSS Tallahassee, 1864 Confederate cruiser
- USS Tallahassee (BM-9), 1908 United States Navy monitor, originally named USS Florida
- USS Tallahassee (CL-61), 1941 United States Navy light cruiser, converted to the aircraft carrier USS Princeton
- USS Tallahassee (CL-116), 1944 United States Navy light cruiser
- Tallahassee, main character in the movie Zombieland
- Tallahassee, album recorded by The Mountain Goats
- Tallahassee Community School, Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia, named after CSS Tallahassee
- Tallahassee Tight, early-20th century blues singer
- T-Pain, musician, originally "Tallahassee Pain"
- "Tallahassee Lassie", Freddy Cannon song
- See also: List of sister cities in Florida
Tallahassee has 7 sister cities as follows:
- Pristina, Kosovo
- Konongo-Odumase, Ghana
- Krasnodar, Russia
- St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
- Sligo, Co. Sligo, Ireland
- Tirana, Albania
- Rugao, China
- Ramat HaSharon, Israel
Tallahassee photo gallery
Images for kids
Tallahassee, Florida Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.