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Tallahassee ( ) is the capital of the State of Floridamarker, USA, the county seat of Leon Countymarker, and the 133rd biggest city in the USA. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida in 1824. In 2008, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 171,922, while the 2008 Tallahassee metropolitan areamarker is estimated at 357,259.

Tallahassee is the home of Florida State Universitymarker, Florida A&M Universitymarker, Keiser University - Tallahassee,Tallahassee Community Collegemarker and branches of Barry University, and Flagler Collegemarker. The Florida State University - Florida A&M 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 Airportmarker. With one of the fastest growing manufacturing and high tech economies in Florida, 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. 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.

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 Capitolmarker. 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. Augustinemarker. The largest of these, Mission San Luis de Apalacheemarker, has been partially reconstructed by the state of Florida.

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.

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

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 Capitolmarker building.

In 1977 the new High-Rise capitol building was built, becoming the third tallest capitol building in the U.Smarker. In 1978 the old capitol was planned to be demolished , due to having the new 23 floor capitol. The State Of Florida decided to keep the old capitol as a point of interest. The new and old capitol still stand to this day in Tallahassee.

Geography and climate

Tallahassee City Hall
 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 Carolinamarker and North Carolinamarker. 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 Mexicomarker. The average summertime high temperature 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 the Great Blizzard of 1993 also brought significant snow and very 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 16 years. The natural snow line (regular yearly snowfalls) ends to the north at Macon, Georgiamarker. In addition, the city averages 34 nights where the temperature falls below freezing ([9129]). 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.


Tallahassee is the twelfth fastest growing metropolitan area in Florida. Tallahassee’s 12.4 percent growth rate is higher than both Miamimarker and Tampamarker and half that of Cape Coralmarker-Fort Myersmarker and Naplesmarker-Marco Islandmarker.

As of the 2000 census , 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, Leon County is the highest educated county in Florida with 49.9% of the population with either a Bachelor's, Master's, professional or doctorate degree. The Florida average is 22.4% and the national average is 24.4%.


As of 2000, 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.

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 Ashevillemarker and Austinmarker. 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 Countymarker. Other affiliations accounted for 22,284 voters.
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 to . 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 Universitymarker and the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy of Florida State Universitymarker states that no discernible relationship exists between consolidation and the local economy.

Federal representation

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

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.

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 Investigationmarker, US Marshals, 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 Centermarker 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
  • WTXL (ABC) channel 27
  • WTWC (NBC) channel 40
  • WFSU (PBS) channel 11
  • WTLH (Fox) channel 49


Notable residents (past and present)

Notable Tallahassee groups and organizations


Sister cities

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

See also


  • 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

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