We will not be surprised to find out that you know where the best fishing spots and local craft beers are in Pensacola. You may also be aware of the city's best tasting burgers and a little about the city's amazing history. Some locals and visitors have even counted the exact number of stairs at the Pensacola Lighthouse- 177 to be exact. This picturesque town draws all kinds of people from all over the country because of its rich historical background. It's easy to be proud to live or to be able to visit America's First Settlement, but it can be overwhelming to learn the nitty-gritty of its history. To help you with the laborious, yet the fun task of finding out more about Pensacola, we've gathered some fun facts about the city that you probably don't know yet. Read on and learn some more about this quaint and colorful city of Pensacola.
How Pensacola got its name
We all want to know why the name Pensacola? The name Pensacola has its root from Native American word Panzacola. It was given to Pensacola Bay and eventually to the Spanish settlements established in the 17th and 18th centuries. This name came before the present name Pensacola.
A lot of people believe that "Panzacola" means "hairy people" and is the collective name of a tribe. However, it was never proven that this name was a demonym the tribe has for themselves.
According to records, the word Panzacola was first heard from Juan Jordan de Reina when he came across a group of Native Americans who translated the word bay to their language. Later on, this group of people was called the "Panzacolas."
Panzacola became another word for the bay among the Spanish and the settlements at Presidio San Miguel, Presidio Santa Maria de Glave, and Presidio Isla de Santa Rosa. In 1757, the San Miguel presidio was given the name "Panzacola" by a royal decree. The pronunciation from "Panzacola" to "Pensacola" may have taken place under the reign of the British because they use the two interchangeably.
The streetcar trolleys were the main way to get around town
Buses, trains, and cars weren't the first popular means of transportation in Pensacola. Conrad Kupfrian, a German immigrant, first established the streetcar trolley system in Pensacola. This public transportation system was the primary mode of transportation from 1884 until 1932. Kupfrian got his idea of founding the streetcar trolley from the horsecars in St. Louis.
Kupfrian was joined by John Cosgrove and John Pfeiffer in establishing the Pensacola Streetcar Company. They seek the Pensacola City Council's approval for steel racks to be laid on the city streets. The streetcars became fully-operational in 1884. It ran from Pensacola to Wright Street and east to the Union Depot. It also traveled through Alcaniz to Gregory and Devilliers Street. You need to pay five cents to ride the trolley.
The streetcars reached its peak in 1920 when it had a total of 30 trolley cars and catered to four million passengers each year. There are still some visible rail tracks in its former routes, especially in East Jackson Street, West Gadsden Street, and West DeSoto.
The streetcars eventually had its downfall in 1932 during the time when automobile continued its popularity. Motor bus services ran by the Pensacola Coach Corporation took the place of the streetcars as a major mode of transportation for the locals.
The first Catholic mass in the new world was on Santa Rosa Island
One of the most historic events for Catholics in the United States happened in Pensacola in the summer of 1559 when the first Catholic Mass took place in the city.
You can find a cross on Santa Rosa Island that honors the historic first Catholic Mass on August 15, 1559. On the same year, Tristan de Luna landed on the shores of Pensacola Beach. He was joined by Dominican Catholic priests and other 1,500 people from the elven ships.
On May 3, 1953, the cross was dedicated and continued to serve as a symbol of faith for many Catholics in the country. The 450th anniversary of the first Catholic Mass happened on August 15, 2009.
American pioneer Daniel Boone wanted to settle in Pensacola
In 1763, Daniel Boone arrived at Pensacola during the British settlement. Protestant settlers were offered a 100-acre land by the British government during this time. Boone traversed North Carolina through St. Augustine going to Pensacola. He declared to have secured a settlement in Pensacola on the Christmas of 1765. However, his wife didn't want to leave North Carolina with him.
Following the death of his father in 1765, he went to Florida with his brother along with a group of men. During this time, Florida has become a British colony. Boone bought land near Pensacola, but her wife didn't agree to move so far from her relatives and friends. His family relocated to a more remote place in the Yadkin River Valley. Boone then began hunting to the west going to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Pensacola was the capital of a state that stretched to New Orleans
The Perdido River is Florida's western boundary, but there is a colorful history before it became this way. Florida's territory expanded to the Mississippi River, two centuries ago. The events that took place which led for Perdido to become Florida's west boundary were long and winding, but worth the time to learn about.
The tough competition between European empires for secured territory on the North American continent led to the frequent changes of Florida's boundaries. France, Spain, and Great Britain founded colonies that worked according to their goals and resources. This led to the unclear location of Florida in the early maps of North America. In 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon won Florida for Spain and continued its exploration and expansion of their power over the land. In a lot of instances, maps show Spanish Florida expanding through Texas and as far north as the Midwest.