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Facts About Florida's Capital: How Well Do You Know Tallahassee?

Image: Facts About Florida's Capital: How Well Do You Know Tallahassee?
Dawn at Westcott Plaza on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. (Glenn Nagel/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Mar 2015 06:42 PM

Tallahassee might not have become the capital of Florida if it didn't lie between the two cities originally vying for the spot. Actually, one of the most interesting facts about Tallahassee is its elevation: it sits at just over 200 feet above sea level, which is high by Florida's standards — the highest spot in Florida, Britton Hill, sits at 345 feet above sea level.

In fact, after Florida became a United States territory in 1822, Pensacola in the west of Florida's panhandle and St. Augustine, 350 airline miles to its east, were the only two cities competing to become the state capital; Tallahassee was not even considered.

After a month of wandering the northern parts of Florida and being unable to come to an agreement, the two commissioners, one from each city, who had been appointed to pick the location, decided to meet in Tallahassee. Despite the fact that the two Native American chiefs living in Tallahassee at the time made it clear to the commissioners that they were not welcome, it did not stop the two from agreeing to recommend that Tallahassee be selected.

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Another of the cool facts about Tallahassee is that two of the state's 11 universities are located in Tallahassee: Florida State University with just over 40,000 students and Florida A&M University with nearly 11,000. The schools are part of Florida's university system, and surprisingly, are located only a few blocks from each other.

The school now known as FSU began operating in Tallahassee in 1857 as the West Florida Seminary. It later became known as The Florida Military and Collegiate Institute. During the Civil War, cadets from the school fought in the Battle of Natural Bridge, which fact made Tallahassee the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi that was not captured during the war.

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University was founded 30 years later as the state teachers college for African-American students. It began classes with 15 students, and two instructors. Florida A&M University is the only historically black university in Florida's university system.

Originally, officials picked Jacksonville for its location. Though, after the bill creating the school had passed, the state decided to move the location to Tallahassee. The school's first building was prominently located on the highest hill in Tallahassee, sitting at over 200 feet above sea level.

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Tallahassee might not have become the capital of Florida if it didn't lie between the two cities originally vying for the spot. Actually, one of the most interesting facts about Tallahassee is its elevation: it sits at just over 200 feet above sea level, which is high by Florida's standards.
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