Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Murphy House

The Murphy House is next door to the Wood House. It was built in 1838 also probably by George Proctor in the Gothic Revival style. Prominent early residents included Susan Branch Hopkins, daughter of Florida’s last Territorial Governor, and Dr. George W. Betton, an important early physician. The house has been owned by the Murphy family since 1928. During the post Civil War federal occupation of Tallahassee, Union troops quartered in the house and stabled their horses in the basement.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Wood House

The Wood House sits next door to the Knott House in the Park Avenue Historic District in downtown Tallahassee. This house was used as a winter residence for the Wood family who came south from Ohio to enjoy the warmer climate. From 1924 to 1946 the house served as a manse (the minister's home) for the First Presbyterian Church. It is now used as law offices. It was built in 1902.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Knott House

Some of early Tallahassee's finest residences were built along Park Avenue in downtown. The area is now known as the Park Avenue Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here is a photograph of the Knott House, which was probably built by George Proctor, a free black man, in 1843 as a wedding gift for the bride of a local attorney. In 1865, the house was used as a temporary Union Headquarters and the Emancipation Proclamation was read from the front steps on May 20, 1865, declaring freedom for all slaves in the Florida Panhandle. After the civil war, the house was purchased by George Betton, a local physician. The house was acquired by William and Luella Knott in 1928. William Knott was Florida's first State Tax Auditor and also served as Treasurer. He was the Democratic Party candidate for Governor in 1915. The Knotts lived there until they both died in 1965 and their son inherited the house and lived there until his death in 1985. The Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board accepted the house to operate as a museum in 1986. After restoration, the Knott House opened to the public in 1992. For more info including inside pictures go here:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


These two turkey vultures showed up in my neighborhood after a car hit an armadillo crossing the road the night before. The armadillo carcass was originally in the road and I'm not sure if the turkey vultures moved it into the grass or someone moved it for them. After I took this picture and started to walk away, another one swooped in and landed nearby. It was then that I decided it was time for me to get on down the road! A few weeks ago I saw a small red fox that had also been hit by a car not far from this spot. I wish people would just slow down!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


The water on this pond behind the mall looked like glass to me and I managed to catch the reflection just before sunset. Do you see the bird on the other side of the pond looking for his dinner? Click to enlarge the picture.

Monday, January 26, 2009


As I was sitting on a bench in the mall, I looked up and caught the sun setting through the skylight above my head.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sign of the Times

One of the local malls here has been slowly losing stores since last year. I'm really hoping it doesn't close.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I really like the design of this local motorcycle dealership. It is an 80-foot domed building that is a scale model of the original state capitol building of Florida. Very appropriate since Tallahassee is the capital of Florida.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hard Freeze

Around here when the temperature dips to 25 degrees or below for up to 4 to 8 hours, it's called a "hard freeze". A hard freeze warning means it's time to protect the 3 p's: pets, pipes and plants. We had a hard freeze warning night before last and this is what my birdbath looked like when I got up yesterday morning to a temperature of 19 degrees. This is supposed to be Florida! Unfortunately the hard freeze warnings extended further south in the state too and that means the citrus and vegetable crops suffered some damage.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


These birds don't seem to be too worried about alligators. They are looking for their lunch in the pond.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just so you know....

It is not unusual to see this kind of warning sign near lakes or ponds in Tallahassee. Alligators usually don't bother people unless you bother them first. However, they love dogs and have been known to come right up out of the water after a small dog even if it's on a leash. They can move pretty fast too, so it's best not to tempt them. I didn't see any alligators on this walk, but that doesn't mean they were not there. Click on the picture to enlarge.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I decided to bend the rules a little on my blog today and post more than one picture. I hope you will forgive me. This picture was taken in my living room earlier this afternoon of a truly great moment in the history of the United States of America. You can click on the picture for a larger view.

Florida A & M University

Besides FSU, Tallahassee is the home of another state university which, like FSU, is located right in the middle of the city. Founded in 1887 as the State Normal College for Colored Students, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) is the only historically state supported educational facility for African Americans in Florida. It has always been co-educational. In 1890, the second Morrill Act was passed enabling the school to become the Black Land Grant College for the State of Florida. In 1891, the college was moved from its original location west of town to its present location, which was once the site of “Highwood,” Territorial Governor W.P. Duval’s slave plantation. It is on one of the highest hills in Tallahassee. The school was known as Florida A & M College from 1909 until 1953, when it attained university status. In 1996, the historic Florida A & M campus was listed in the National Register of Historic Places based on the school’s historic significance and the architectural style of its buildings. FAMU is also the home of the famed Marching 100 band. Look for this band marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC today in President Barack Obama's Inaugural Parade!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fat Ducks

I think these Muscovy ducks have been fed way too much by the people walking around Lake Ella and obviously are not getting enough exercise!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Shop Locally

These are the local shops and businesses located in the Cottages at Lake Ella. This is really a fun place to shop, much more fun than the mall!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


These historic stone cottages on the west bank of Lake Ella were originally built as a lakeside motel back in the 1920's. Today they house small locally owned shops and businesses. Lake Ella flooded the cottages back in August 2008, when Tropical Storm Faye dropped a huge amount of rainfall in a very short period of time. The businesses have now recovered.

Friday, January 16, 2009


This is the Florida Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Lake Ella. A Huey UH-1 helicopter and a stone marker stand lakeside in remembrance of the service countless men and women performed for our nation. Erected in honor of the courage and patriotism of the Florida Veterans of the Vietnam Conflict, the memorial bears the names of Florida veterans, each engraved on the Huey’s windows. New names are added each year on Memorial Day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sea Gulls

These sea gulls were making themselves at home at Lake Ella. Most of the time we just see ducks and pigeons around this lake, but sometimes, especially in the winter or after a storm, we see sea gulls. The sea gulls can be pushy especially when you are trying to feed the ducks. We were feeding bread to the ducks and the sea gulls got so obnoxious we had to stop. They were very noisy and starting chasing the ducks away, which upset my grandson a little.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lake Ella

Lake Ella is a popular place to go walking, feed the ducks, picnic and people watch. My little grandson and I took a walk around the lake on a recent warm afternoon. Here he is admiring the view while I admire him. All those white birds on the lake are sea gulls.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I noticed this little guy sunning himself on the outside wall of a store as I was coming out. He was green when I first spotted him, but by the time I got back with my camera he had turned brown. This anole is probably a juvenile because he is small (about 3 inches long) and has the white stripe down his back. I have a lot of these little anole lizards around my house, but I don't mind because they eat bugs. They like to get between the screen and the glass on my back door and lurk there all day annoying my cat. Their eyes move independently of each other and this anole was watching me very intently while I snapped his picture. Another interesting fact about this creature is that if you grab him by his tail, it will probably detach and wiggle around for awhile. The anole will just grow another tail. It is one of the ways they escape from predators. Click on the picture to get up close and personal with him.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Circus Truck

When I was a kid, I remember that the circus always came to town on a train. Now I guess they use trucks. This truck is parked in the civic center parking lot because the circus is here. I took my grandson to see it last year, but we didn't have time to go this year.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Civic Center

The Tallahassee Leon County Civic Center hosts a variety of events year round such as high school and college graduations, proms, concerts, college basketball games and even Broadway shows and the circus. You can see the Florida Capitol building behind it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Since Tallahassee is the state capital, there a numerous offices occupied by lobbying groups and associations. These are across the street from the capitol building.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dodd Hall Entrance

The Dodd Hall entrance on the FSU campus has always been a favorite of mine. Dodd Hall was built in the 1920's and served as the library until 1956 when a new library was opened. Over the main entrance, rendered in gold leaf, are the words, "The half of knowledge is to know where to find knowledge."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bryan Hall

Bryan Hall is the oldest existing structure on the Florida State University campus. Bryan Hall was named in honor of William James Bryan, a popular U.S. senator who died in 1907, the year the hall was built. It was the first in a series of residence halls built for the Florida Female College, which became the Florida State College for Women (FSCW) in 1909 and Florida State University in 1947. Designed in the “collegiate Gothic” style, the hall’s red-brick exterior, crenellation, arches and towers continue to influence the look of campus buildings being constructed today. The hall opened in September 1908, and its parlor and atrium quickly became the social center of campus and remained so into the mid-1920s. Japanese teas and masquerade balls were held in the parlor, the sunroom and atrium. During World War I, the YWCA lobby below the atrium in Bryan Hall was transformed into a Red Cross workroom, where students met between classes to roll bandages and make surgical dressings. Students met weekly in the Bryan sun parlor to knit jackets, scarves and socks for soldiers. Bryan Hall served as a residence hall until 1969, when a fire in the nearby Westcott Building forced administrators to seek office space there. Bryan Hall was renovated and returned to its original function as a residence hall when it reopened in August 1997 as FSU’s first Living-Learning Community.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sorority House

The Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house is located on College Avenue just down the block from the main gate of Florida State University. I was a member of this sorority and lived in this house when I was a student a long, long, long time ago! It was very convenient because you could roll out of bed, grab some food and be sitting in your classroom all within about 15 minutes. My mother was also a member of this same sorority, although this house was built a few years after she was a student. Another thing I liked about living in this house was that we had a few bats living in the attic and every once in awhile they would fly around in the hall on the third floor. I never lived on the third floor, so that's probably why I liked having them in the house.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Union Bank

The Union Bank is Florida's oldest surviving bank building. Chartered in 1833 as a planters' bank, plantation owners could borrow against their land and slave holdings. It served as Florida's major territorial bank. Crop failures, the Second Seminole War, and unsound banking practices caused the bank to fail in 1843. The building was unused for 25 years, but reopened in 1868 as the National Freedman's Saving and Trust Company, serving emancipated slaves and refugees. After 1874, the building was used for a variety of other purposes including a church, shoe factory, beauty shop and dance studio. It was moved from another downtown location to this site in 1971 and restored. It is now a museum.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Heisman Trophy

This coveted trophy is presented annually to the most outstanding college football player in the United States by the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City. There are two of these trophies housed at the Florida State University football stadium. This one was presented to Charlie Ward, who won it in 1993. The other one sits a few feet away in another trophy case and it was presented to Chris Weinke, who won it in 1999. FSU also won national college football championships both of those years and those two trophies are housed in the same room.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Horseless Carriage

Charles and Frank Duryea were America's first gasoline powered commercial car manufacturers. The brothers were bicycle makers who became interested in gasoline engines and automobiles. Their first automobile was constructed and successfully tested on September 20, 1893 in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Duryea Motor Wagon Company was founded by Charles Duryea in 1896. I took this picture of an 1894 Duryea at the Tallahassee Antique Car Museum.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

State Department

On the front of the Florida Department of State building, you can see a colorful version of the Florida State Seal. Click on the picture to see it more clearly.

Friday, January 2, 2009


These new signs are waiting on the side of the road to be hoisted high above the newly reconstructed Interstate 10 interchange on the north side of town. It seems like they have been working on this road forever and I'm glad they are finally almost finished.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Perhaps the psychic could tell us what is in store for us in the coming new year. This sign is so colorful and it always catches my eye as I am driving by. It makes me wonder how many people visit a place like this.