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Tallahassee, Florida

State capital
Tallahassee, Florida
Downtown Tallahassee
Downtown Tallahassee
Flag of Tallahassee
Official seal of Tallahassee
Nickname(s): "Tally"
Motto: "Florida's Capital City"
Location in Leon County and the state of Florida
Location in Leon County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: [1]
Country  United States of America
State  Florida
County Leon
Established 1824
 • Type Commission–Manager
 • Mayor John Marks (D)
 • City 103.5 sq mi (268 km2)
 • Land 100.3 sq mi (260 km2)
 • Water 3.2 sq mi (8 km2)
Elevation[2] 203 ft (62 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • City 181,376
 • Estimate (2013)[4] 186,411
 • Rank US: 125th
 • Density 1,809.3/sq mi (698.6/km2)
 • Urban 240,223 (US: 153th)
 • Metro 373,255 (US: 141th)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code(s) 32300–32399
Area code(s) 850
FIPS code 12-70600
GNIS feature ID 0308416[2]
Website City of Tallahassee

Tallahassee is the capital of the State of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County, and is the 125th largest city in the United States. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory, in 1824. In 2010, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 181,376,[5] and the Tallahassee metropolitan area is 375,371 as of 2012.[6]

Tallahassee is a college town with two public universities: Florida State University, a large research university, and Florida A&M University, the country's largest historically black university. It is also home to Tallahassee Community College, and branches of several other institutions.

Tallahassee is a center for trade and agriculture in the Florida Bar and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.[7] It is also a recognized regional center for scientific research, and home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
    • Nearby cities and suburbs 2.2
  • Neighborhoods 3
  • Demographics 4
    • Languages 4.1
  • City accolades 5
  • Government and politics 6
    • 2000 Presidential election 6.1
    • Consolidation 6.2
    • Federal representation and offices 6.3
    • Flag 6.4
  • Urban planning and expansion 7
    • Tallest buildings 7.1
  • Education 8
    • Primary and secondary education 8.1
      • List of middle schools 8.1.1
      • List of high schools 8.1.2
    • Higher education 8.2
      • List of universities and colleges 8.2.1
  • Public safety 9
  • Places of interest 10
  • Festivals and events 11
  • Sports 12
  • Transportation 13
    • Aviation 13.1
      • Defunct airports 13.1.1
    • Mass transit 13.2
    • Intercity bus 13.3
    • Railroads 13.4
      • Defunct railroads 13.4.1
    • Major highways 13.5
  • Economy 14
    • Top employers 14.1
  • Media 15
    • Newspaper 15.1
    • Television 15.2
    • Radio 15.3
  • Notable Tallahassee groups and organizations 16
  • Namesakes 17
  • Sister cities 18
  • Tallahassee views 19
  • Notable Tallahassee residents 20
  • See also 21
  • References 22
  • Further reading 23
  • External links 24


Mission San Luis de Apalachee as it may have appeared in the 17th century
Early Tallahassee; Showing points of interest from over a century ago

During the 17th century several Spanish missions were established in 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.[9]

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 what is now Tallahassee in the winter of 1538–1539.
Battle of Natural Bridge; First reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge
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."[10]

Historic Cascades Park; Hand-colored photograph of the Cascades

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 colonies 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 half-way 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.[11]

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 US 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.[12]

Tallahassee was in the heart of the Cotton Belt and was the center of the slave trade in Florida.[13] 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.

During the 19th century the institutions that would eventually be combined into what is now known as Florida State University were established in Tallahassee, firmly cementing it as a university town. These including 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 Suwanee 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.[14]

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.

Florida State Capitol, showing modern Capitol Tower under construction in 1976.

Until World War II Tallahassee remained a small southern town with virtually the entire population living within 1 mile (2 km) 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 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.[15]

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.[16]

Florida's Old Capitol Building as seen at Night

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.


[1] According to the United States Census Bureau the city 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.

Photo of Tallahassee taken from the International Space Station (ISS) on January 22, 2011
Lake Talquin; the lake's name is a portmanteau of Tallahassee and neighboring Quincy, Florida

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 Sabal Palmetto. Pines, magnolias, and a variety of oaks are the dominant trees. The Southern Live Oak is perhaps the most emblematic of the city.


Lake Ella is a popular Tallahassee recreational park
Snowball fight on the Florida State Capitol Building in Tallahassee on February 13, 1899

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 (37.8 °C), averaging 2.4 days annually.[17] The record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was set on June 15, 2011.[18] 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,[19] the coldest temperature of the season is typically around 20 °F (−7 °C). During the Great Blizzard of 1899 the city reached −2 °F (−19 °C), the only recorded sub-zero Fahrenheit reading in Florida.

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 (7.1 cm) on February 13, 1958. A

  • Official website
  • The Local Conservation District - Information on Natural Resources, and Panoramic Tours
  • The Tallahassee Democrat Newspaper
  • Mission San Luis
  • Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation - Places to Discover
  • Ochlockonee River - St. Marks River Watersheds - Florida DEP

External links

  • Hare, Julianne. Tallahassee: a capital city history. Arcadia Publishing. 2002
  • 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.

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  2. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  3. ^ "American FactFinder". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 24, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Population Estimates".  
  5. ^ "Table 1: 2010 Municipality Population" ( 
  6. ^ Tallahassee, FL MSA Population. Retrieved on May 23, 2013
  7. ^ "Florida Chamber of Commerce | Home Page". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  8. ^ "Name Origins of Florida Places". Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  10. ^ Hare, p.22
  11. ^ Florida: A Short History, Michael V. Gannon, ISBN 0-8130-1167-1, Copyright @ 1993 by the Board of Regents of the State of Florida
  12. ^ MOSQUITO COUNTY 1842 at the Wayback Machine (archived January 1, 1996)
  13. ^ "Slavery and Plantation Growth in Antebellum, Florida, 1821–1860". 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  14. ^ "History". Office of University Communications, Florida State University. Retrieved 21 December 2010. 
  15. ^ "Race and Hispanic Origin for Selected Cities and Other Places: Earliest Census to 1990". U.S. Census Bureau. 
  16. ^ "Florida Historic Capitol Museum". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  17. ^ a b c "NowData — NOAA Online Weather Data".  
  18. ^ "NOAA Weather Records Tallahassee". NOAA. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  19. ^ The Arbor Day Foundation. "The Arbor Day Foundation". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  20. ^ "Pattern Recognition of Significant Snowfall Events in Tallahassee, Florida". NOAA/National Weather Service. 
  21. ^ "Station Name: FL TALLAHASSEE". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  22. ^  
  23. ^ "Modern Language Association Data Center Results of Tallahassee, FL". 2013-04-02. Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  24. ^ "ePodunk College Towns Index". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  25. ^ "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". 
  26. ^ "Leon Supervisor of Elections Office". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  27. ^ "City County Consolidation Efforts: Selective Incentives and Institutional Choice" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  28. ^ "Post Office Location - TALLAHASSEE." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  29. ^ "Post Office Location - CENTERVILLE STATION." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  30. ^ "Post Office Location - LEON STATION." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  31. ^ "Post Office Location - PARK AVENUE STATION." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  32. ^ "Post Office Location - WESTSIDE STATION." United States Postal Service. Retrieved on May 6, 2009.
  33. ^ Purcell, John M. (2004). American City Flags (Part I: United States): 150 Flags from Akron to Yonkers. Trenton, NJ: North American Vexillological Association. p. 345.  
  34. ^ Melbourne (2008-10-29). "Mysterious Clarity - Melbourne, FL". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  35. ^ [1]
  36. ^ Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours. "Opposites naturally attract | Tampa Bay Times". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  37. ^ "Past Exhibitions - Gaddis Geeslin Gallery". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  38. ^ "Building Department Accreditation". International Accreditation Service. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^ "". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  42. ^ "City of Tallahassee CAFR". Retrieved 2014-09-08. 
  43. ^ "Tallahassee Democrat | Tallahassee news, community, entertainment, yellow pages and classifieds. Serving Tallahassee, Florida". 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  44. ^ "Florida State University news from the FSView and Florida Flambeau including FSU sports, arts and life, opinion and classifieds. |". FSView. 2012-10-12. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  45. ^ "The Famuan - The Student Voice of Florida A&M University". Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  46. ^ "TCS - Our History". Retrieved 2014-08-02. 
  47. ^  


See also

Notable Tallahassee residents

Panoramic view of downtown Tallahassee

Tallahassee views

Tallahassee has six sister cities:

Sister cities


Notable Tallahassee groups and organizations


  • WCTV (CBS) channel 6.1 (My Network TV/This TV) channel 6.2
  • WFSU (PBS) channel 11.1 (Florida Channel) channel 11.2 (Create) channel 11.3
  • WTLH (Fox) channel 49.1 (CW) channel 49.2 (METV) channel 49.3
  • WTWC (NBC) channel 40.1 (Get TV) channel 40.2 (ZUUS) channel 40.3
  • WTXL (ABC) channel 27.1 (Bounce) channel 27.2 (Weather) channel 27.3
  • WTLF (CW) channel 24.1
  • WVUP (CTN) channel 45.1
  • WWRP-LP (IND) channel 9
  • WBXT-CA (MTV) channel 43




# Employer # of Employees # of Employees in 2004
1 State of Florida 19,322 25,204
2 Florida State University 14,436 8,784
3 Leon County School Board 4,496 4,403
4 Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare 4,483 2,850
5 City of Tallahassee 2,800 3,327
6 Publix 1,983 2,000
7 Tallahassee Community College 1,862 1,090
8 Florida A&M University 1,774 2,681
9 Leon County 1,718 1,522
10 Capital Regional Medical Center 1,038 n/a

According to Tallahassee's 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[42] the top employers in the area are:

Top employers

Companies based in Tallahassee include: Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the Municipal Code Corporation, the State Board of Administration of Florida (SBA), and United Solutions Company.[41]


Major highways

Defunct railroads

  • CSX operates a main freight line through the city.


Intercity bus

  • StarMetro provides bus service throughout the city.

Mass transit

Defunct airports


Interstate 10 at Capital Circle Northeast
Tallahassee Regional Airport


Former Clubs Sport League Years Active Venue
Tallahassee Tiger Sharks Hockey ECHL 1994-2001 Donald L. Tucker Center
Tallahassee Scorpions Indoor soccer EISL 1997-1998 Donald L. Tucker Center
Tallahassee Thunder American Football Arena Football 2000-2002 Donald L. Tucker Center
Tallahassee Titans American Football AIFL 2006 Donald L. Tucker Center
Tallahassee Tigers Basketball American Basketball Association 2007 Donald L. Tucker Center
Current Clubs Sport League Venue
Florida State Seminoles football Football Florida State University Doak Campbell Stadium
Florida State Seminoles men's basketball Basketball Florida State University Donald L. Tucker Center
Florida A&M Rattlers American Football Florida A&M University Bragg Memorial Stadium
Florida A&M Rattlers men's basketball Basketball Florida A&M University Teaching Arena
Florida State University Doak Campbell Stadium


Cross-country at Red Hills Horse Trials, 2007.

Festivals and events

Maclay Gardens Reflection Pool

Places of interest

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

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

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement,[39] Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Secret Service and Drug Enforcement Administration have offices in Tallahassee. The US Attorney's Office for North Florida is based in Tallahassee.

The Tallahassee Growth Management Building Inspection Division is responsible for issuing permits and performing inspections of public and private buildings in the City limits. These duties include the enforcement of the Florida Building Codes and the Florida Fire Protection Codes. These standards are present to protect life and property. The Tallahassee Building Department is one of 13 currently Accredited Building Departments in the United States.[38]

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 Tallahassee Community College Police Department, and the Florida Highway Patrol.

Established in 1841, the Tallahassee Police Department has the distinction of being the oldest police department in the Southern United States, and the third in the U.S., preceded only by the Philadelphia Police Department (established in 1758) and the Boston Police Department (established in 1838). Larger East Coast cities followed with New York City and Baltimore in 1845.

Leon County EMS
Tallahassee Police Department patrol car

Public safety

List of universities and colleges

Founded on October 3, 1887, Florida A&M University (FAMU) is part of the State University System of Florida and is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Distinguished by lush foliage and massive oaks, FAMU's main campus comprises 156 buildings spread over 422 acres (1.7 km2) atop the highest of Tallahassee's seven hills. The university also has several satellite campuses including a site in Orlando where the College of Law is located and sites in Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa for its pharmacy program. Florida A&M University offers 62 bachelor's degrees and 39 master's degrees. The university has 13 schools and colleges and one institute. FAMU has 11 doctoral programs which includes 10 Ph.D. programs: chemical engineering; civil engineering; electrical engineering; mechanical engineering; industrial engineering; biomedical engineering; physics; pharmaceutical sciences; educational leadership; and environmental sciences. Top undergraduate programs are architecture; journalism; computer information sciences and psychology. FAMU's top graduate programs include pharmaceutical sciences along with public health; physical therapy; engineering; physics; master's of applied social sciences (especially history and public administration); business and sociology.

Florida State University's Department of Art is known for the works of several distinguished faculty members, including Ray Burggraf, Lillian Garcia-Roig, and Mark Messersmith. Internationally recognized for their environmentally focused paintings, they are especially renowned for an innovative collaboration called, "A Mysterious Clarity". The highly acclaimed exhibition debuted in 2004, and by popular demand, has traveled to at least nine different museums and galleries from Houston to Miami.[34][35][36][37]

Florida State University is also home to nationally ranked programs in many academic areas, including the sciences, social policy, film, engineering, library & information studies, the Arts, business, political science, social work, medicine, and law. Florida State is home to Florida's only National Laboratory—the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and is the birthplace of the commercially viable anti-cancer drug Taxol. The Florida State University athletics programs are favorites of passionate students, fans and alumni across the United States, especially when led by the Marching Chiefs of the FSU College of Music. Florida State is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference and has won twelve national athletic championships as well as multiple individual competitor NCAA championship awards.

In 2007, Florida State was placed in the first tier of research universities by the Florida Legislature, a distinction allowing FSU and the University of Florida to charge 40% higher tuition than other institutions in the State University System of Florida. While FSU was officially established in 1851 and is located on the oldest continuous site of higher education in Florida, at least one predecessor institution may be traced back to 1843, two years before Florida became a state.

The Florida State University (commonly referred to as Florida State or FSU) is a space-grant and sea-grant public university located in Tallahassee. It is a comprehensive doctoral research university with medical programs and significant research activity as determined by the Carnegie Foundation. The university consists of 15 separate colleges and 39 centers, facilities, labs and institutes that offer over 300 programs of study, including professional programs. As one of Florida's primary graduate research universities, FSU awards over 2,000 graduate and professional degrees each year.

Florida State University Westcott Center

Higher education

List of high schools

  • Cobb Middle School
  • Deerlake Middle School
  • Fairview Middle School
  • Fort Braden School k-8
  • Griffin Middle School
  • Maclay School
  • Montford Middle School
  • Nims Middle School
  • Raa Middle School
  • Success Academy of Tallahassee
  • Swift Creek Middle School
  • Stars Middle School

List of middle schools

To gauge performance the State of Florida rates all public schools according to student achievement on the state-sponsored Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Seventy-nine percent of Leon County Public Schools received an A or B grade in the 2008–2009 school year. The overall district grade assigned to the Leon County Schools is "A". Students in the Leon County School District continued to score favorably in comparison to Florida and national averages in the SAT and ACT student assessment tests. The Leon County School District has consistently scored at or above the average for districts statewide in total ACT and SAT mean composite scores.

Tallahassee anchors the Leon County School District. As of the 2009 school year Leon County Schools had an estimated 32,796 students, 2209 teachers and 2100 administrative and support personnel. The current superintendent of schools is Jackie Pons. Leon County public school enrollment continues to grow steadily (up approximately 1% per year since the 1990-91 school year). The dropout rate for grades 9-12 improved to 2.2% in the 2007–2008 school year, the third time in the past four years the dropout rate has been below 3%.

Primary and secondary education

Lower School students at Maclay School celebrating Grandparents Day in 2008.


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 Adams St, 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

Tallest buildings

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, Fla. 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.

Urban planning and expansion

The flag of Tallahassee is similar to the flag of Florida, a white saltire on a blue field, with the city's coat of arms, featuring the cupola of old capitol building, at the center.[33]


The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration maintains a National Weather Service in Tallahassee. Their coverage-warning area includes the eastern Florida Panhandle and adjacent Gulf of Mexico waters, the north-central Florida peninsula, and parts of southeast Alabama and southwestern Georgia.

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Tallahassee. The Tallahassee Main Post Office is located at 2800 South Adams Street.[28] Other post offices in the city limits include Centerville Station,[29] Leon Station,[30] Park Avenue Station,[31] and Westside Station.[32]

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

Federal representation and offices

Each time, the measure was rejected: 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 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.[27]

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 103.1 square miles (267 km2) to 702 square miles (1,820 km2). Roughly 36 percent of Leon County's 265,714 residents live outside the Tallahassee city limits.


Congressional District; Florida's Fourth Congressional District
Congressional District; Florida's Second Congressional District

The election played itself out over the next 30 days with Tallahassee set as ground zero for the answer to who would become next president of the United States. About a dozen appeals were heard by the Florida Supreme Court arising from the disputed election, including two that resulted in oral arguments broadcast on live television. On December 12, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 7–2 vote that the Florida Supreme Court's ruling requiring a statewide recount of ballots was unconstitutional, and in a 5–4 vote that the Florida recounts could not be completed before a December 12 "safe harbor" deadline, and should therefore cease and the previously certified total should hold. Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, certified the election for Gov. George W. Bush, winning Florida by a margin of 537 votes.

Tallahassee took center stage during the Presidential Election of 2000, Bush v. Gore. On Election Day, before all polls closing in Florida, the major television networks estimated that then Vice President Al Gore had beaten Texas Gov. George W. Bush in Florida. These networks were later forced to retract the projection as votes were tabulated from Florida's heavily Republican western panhandle. As the night went on, it became clear that the victor in Florida would receive the electoral votes necessary to claim the presidency. The next morning, Vice President Gore heard that Gov. Bush was ahead by an estimated 50,000 votes and therefore called to concede the election. Not long after, hearing that thousands of votes in key Florida counties were not counted due to machine malfunctions and irregularities, Vice President Gore retracted his concession.

2000 Presidential election

Election 2000; Attorney General Bob Butterworth speaking at a news conference with Governor Jeb Bush on the initial Florida recount during the 2000 Presidential election.

Ion Sancho is the Supervisor of Elections for Leon County, Florida. Serving since January 1989, he has been reelected to five additional terms. One of only three (out of 67) supervisors of elections in Florida without party affiliation, under his administration Leon County's voter turnout percentage has consistently ranked among the highest of Florida's 67 counties, with a record setting 86% turnout in the November 2008 General Election.[26]

Election 2000; Close-up view of satellite trucks parked by the Capitol during the 2000 Presidential election vote dispute.

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. It has had a black mayor and a black state representative.[25] 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.

Government and politics

City accolades

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.[23]

Tallahassee Asian Festival


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%.

In 2000, 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.

As of 2000, the city's 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.

As of 2010, there were 84,248 households, of which 11.2% were vacant. As of 2000, 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.

Tallahassee Demographics
2010 Census Tallahassee Leon County Florida
Total population 181,376 275,487 18,801,310
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%
Asian 3.7% 2.9% 2.4%
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%

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.


Tallahassee has many neighborhoods inside the city limits. Some of the most known and defined include All Saints, Apalachee Ridge, Betton Hills,Callen, Frenchtown, Killearn Estates, Lafayette Park, Levy Park, Los Robles, Midtown, Holly Hills, Jake Gaither/University Park, Indian Head Acres, Myers Park, Smokey Hollow, SouthWood, and Woodland Drives.


Monroe Street; Photo showing traffic on Tallahassee's busy Monroe Street, looking North from downtown

Nearby cities and suburbs

Climate data for Tallahassee, Florida (Tallahassee Regional Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1892–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 83
Average high °F (°C) 63.5
Average low °F (°C) 39.0
Record low °F (°C) 6
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.34
Avg. precipitation 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
Source: NOAA[17][21]

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. 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.


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