|The City of Pensacola|
Up CounterClockwise: Pensacola Skyline, T. T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum, National Naval Aviation Museum, William Dudley Chipley Obelisk, Escambia County Courthouse, University of West Florida Library
|Nickname(s): P-Cola, The City of Five Flags, Red Snapper Capital of the World, World's Whitest Beaches, Cradle of Naval Aviation, Western Gate to the Sunshine State|
|Motto: Enhancing the Quality of Life for all Citizens|
Location in Escambia County and the state of Florida
|• Body||Pensacola City Council|
|• Mayor||Ashton Hayward|
|• Council President||Jewel Cannada-Wynn|
|• Council Vice President||Megan B. Pratt|
|• City||39.7 sq mi (102.7 km2)|
|• Land||22.7 sq mi (58.8 km2)|
|• Water||17.0 sq mi (43.9 km2)|
|Elevation||102 ft (31 m)|
|• Density||2,303.5/sq mi (956.8/km2)|
|• Demonym||Pensacolan, Pensacolian|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|ZIP code||32501, 32512, 32534, 32591, 32502, 32513, 32559, 32592, 32503, 32514, 32573, 32593, 32504, 32516, 32574, 32594, 32505, 32520, 32575, 32595, 32506, 32521, 32576, 32596, 32507, 32522, 32581, 32597, 32508, 32523, 32582, 32598, 32509, 32524, 32589, 32511, 32526, 32590|
|GNIS feature ID||0294117|
Pensacola (IPA: /ˌpɛnsəˈkoʊlə/) is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 51,923. Pensacola is the principal city of the Pensacola metropolitan area, which had an estimated 461,227 residents in 2012.
Pensacola is a sea port on Pensacola Bay, which connects to the Gulf of Mexico. A large United States Naval Air Station, the first in the United States, is located southwest of Pensacola (near the community of Warrington) and is home to the Blue Angels flight demonstration team and the National Naval Aviation Museum. The main campus of the University of West Florida is situated north of the city center.
The area was originally inhabited by Muskogean peoples; the Pensacola people lived there at the time of European contact. Pensacola Bay was the site of Spanish explorer Tristán de Luna's short-lived settlement in 1559. In 1698 the Spanish established a presidio in the area, laying the foundation for the modern city. It changed hands several times over the next several years, and became the capital of West Florida during Florida's British (1763–1783) and second Spanish periods (1783–1821). Pensacola is nicknamed "The City of Five Flags" due to the five governments that have flown flags over it during its history: the flags of Spain (Castile), France, Great Britain, the Confederate States of America, and the United States. Other nicknames include "World's Whitest Beaches" (due to the white sand prevalent along beaches in the Florida panhandle), "Cradle of Naval Aviation" (Naval Air Station Pensacola is the home of both the legendary Blue Angels and the National Museum of Naval Aviation), "Western Gate to the Sunshine State", "America's First Settlement", "Emerald Coast", "Redneck Riviera", "Red Snapper Capital of the World", and "P-Cola".
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Architecture
- 5 Economy
- 6 Law and government
- 7 Transportation
- 8 Education
- 9 Culture
- 10 Sports
- 11 Media
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The original inhabitants of the Pensacola Bay area were Native American peoples. At the time of European contact, a Muskogean-speaking tribe known to the Spanish as the Pensacola lived in the region. This name is not recorded until 1677, but the tribe appear to be the source of the name "Pensacola" for the bay and thence the city. The area's recorded history begins in the 16th century, when the first European explorers arrived. Pensacola Bay was visited by the expeditions of Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528 and Hernando de Soto in 1539, at which time it was known as the Bay of Ochuse.
In 1559, Tristán de Luna y Arellano landed with over 1,400 people on 11 ships from VeraCruz, Mexico. A notable early attempt to settle in Florida, the purpose of the expedition was to establish an outpost, called by de Luna Ochuse, from which to launch further efforts to colonize Santa Elena (present-day Parris Island, South Carolina.) However, the colony was decimated by a hurricane on September 19, 1559, which killed hundreds, sank five ships, grounded a caravel, and ruined supplies. The 1,000 survivors divided to relocate/resupply the settlement, but due to famine and attacks, the effort was abandoned in 1561. About 240 people sailed to Santa Elena, but another storm hit there, so they sailed to Cuba and scattered. The remaining 50 at Pensacola were taken back to Mexico, and the Viceroy's advisers concluded northwest Florida was too dangerous to settle, a view which stood for 135 years.
In the late 17th century, however, the French began exploring the lower Mississippi River with the intention of colonizing the region as part of Louisiana. Fearful that these overtures would threaten Spanish territory in both Florida and Mexico, the Spanish determined to found a new settlement to check the French. In 1698 they finally established a fortified town near what is now Fort Barrancas, laying the foundation for the modern city of Pensacola. The Spanish built three presidios in Pensacola:
- Presidio Santa Maria de Galve (1698–1719): the presidio included fort San Carlos de Austria (east of present Fort Barrancas) and a village with church;
- Presidio Isla de Santa Rosa (1722–1752): this next presidio was on Santa Rosa Island near the site of present Fort Pickens, but hurricanes battered the island in 1741 and 1752, and the presidio was closed and moved to the mainland;
- Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola (1754–1763): the final presidio was about five miles east of the first presidio, over in the present-day historic district of downtown Pensacola, named from "Panzacola".
The Spanish ceded Florida to the British in 1763 as a result of the French and Indian War, and Pensacola was made capital of the new British colony of West Florida. From 1763, the British went back to the mainland area of fort San Carlos de Barrancas, building the Royal Navy Redoubt. After Spain joined the American Revolution late, in 1779, the Spanish captured the city in the 1781 Battle of Pensacola, gaining control of West Florida. After the war the British officially ceded both West Florida and East Florida to Spain. In 1819 Spain and the United States negotiated the Adams-Onis Treaty, in which Spain sold the Floridas to the United States for US$5 million. In 1821, with Andrew Jackson as provisional governor, Pensacola became part of the United States.
St. Michael's Cemetery was established in the 18th century at a location which was located in a south central part of the city that would become the Downtown area. Initially owned by the Church of St. Michael, it is now owned and managed by St. Michael's Cemetery Foundation of Pensacola, Inc. Preliminary studies indicate that there are over 3200 marked burials as well as a large number unmarked.
Archaeologically, the best known Pensacola Culture site is the Bottle Creek site, a large site located on a low swampy island north of Mobile, Alabama. This site has at least 18 earthen mounds; 5 of which are arranged around a central plaza. Its main occupation was from 1250 to 1550. It was a ceremonial center for the Pensacola people, and a gateway to their society. This site seems like an unlikely place to find a ceremonial center due to the fact that it is surrounded by swamps and is difficult to reach on foot. However, it would have been easy access by a dugout canoe, the main mode of transportation available to the people who built the Bottle Creek site.
Pensacola is located at  According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 39.7 square miles (102.8 km2), consisting of 22.7 square miles (59 km2) of land and 17.0 square miles (44.0 km2) (42.77%) water.(30.436988, −87.209277).
The climate of Pensacola is humid subtropical (Köppen Cfa), with short, mild winters and hot, humid summers. Typical summer conditions have highs in the lower 90s °F (32–34 °C) and lows in the mid 70s °F (23–24 °C). Afternoon or evening thunderstorms are common during the summer months. Due partly to the coastal location, temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C) are relatively rare, and last occurred in June 2011, when two of the first four days of the month recorded highs reaching the century mark. The highest temperature ever recorded in the city was 106 °F (41 °C) on July 14, 1980.
The daily average temperature in January is 51.4 °F (10.8 °C); freezing temperatures occur on an average 13.7 nights per season, with the average window for freezing conditions being from December 13 to February 20. Temperatures below 20 °F (−7 °C) are very rare, and last occurred in January 2003, when a low of 18 °F (−8 °C) was seen. The lowest temperature ever recorded in the city was 5 °F (−15 °C) on January 21, 1985.
Snow is rare in Pensacola, but does occasionally fall. The most recent snow event occurred on February 12, 2010. The city receives 64.28 inches (1,630 mm) of precipitation per year, with a rainy season in the summer. The rainiest month is July, with 7.40 inches (188 mm), with May being the driest month at 4.17 inches (106 mm). In June 2012 over one foot (300 mm) of rain fell on Pensacola and adjacent areas, leading to widespread flooding.
Pensacola's location on the Florida Panhandle makes it vulnerable to hurricanes. Major hurricanes which have made landfall at or near Pensacola include Eloise (1975), Frederic (1979), Juan (1985), Erin (1995), Opal (1995), Georges (1998), Ivan (2004), and Dennis (2005).
Pensacola and several surrounding areas were devastated by Hurricane Ivan. Pensacola found itself on the eastern side of the eyewall, which sent a large storm surge into Escambia Bay that eventually destroyed most of the I-10 Escambia Bay Bridge. The storm knocked 58 spans off the eastbound and westbound bridges and misaligned another 66 spans, forcing the bridge to close to traffic in both directions. The surge also destroyed the fishing bridge that spanned Pensacola Bay alongside the Phillip Beale Memorial Bridge, locally known as the Three Mile Bridge.
Over $6 billion in damage occurred in the metro area and more than 10,000 homes were destroyed, with another 27,000 heavily damaged. NASA created a comparison image to illustrate the massive damage. Hurricane Ivan drove up the cost of housing in the area, leading to a severe shortage of affordable housing. In July 2005, Hurricane Dennis made landfall just east of the city, sparing it the blow it had received from Ivan the year before. However, hurricane and near-hurricane force winds were recorded in downtown, causing moderate damage.
Although Pensacola only received a glancing blow from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, light to moderate damage was reported in the area. Katrina also undermined a large percentage of Pensacola's tourist base from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Cantonment Clinch began providing meteorological observations in the 1830s. Observations from the Pensacola area continued intermittently over the next several decades. Weather statistics today originate at the airport. The city has seen single digit temperatures (below −12 °C) on three occasions: 5 °F (−15 °C) on January 21, 1985, 7 °F (−14 °C) on February 13, 1899 and 8 °F (−13 °C) on January 11, 1982. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Pensacola has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
|Climate data for Pensacola, Florida (Pensacola Int'l), 1981–2010 normals|
|Record high °F (°C)||81
|Average high °F (°C)||60.5
|Average low °F (°C)||42.2
|Record low °F (°C)||5
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.64
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||8.9||8.6||8.1||6.5||6.7||11.1||14.0||13.6||8.8||6.1||7.2||9.0||108.6|
|Source: NOAA (extremes 1879–present)|
|Population 1850-2000. Population 2010.|
As of the census of 2010, there were 51,923 people, 23,600 households, and 14,665 families residing in the city, and 402,000 people in the Pensacola MSA. The population density was 2,303.5 people per square mile (956.8/km²). There were 26,848 housing units at an average density of 1,189.4 per square mile (459.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 66.3% White, 28.0%African American, 2.0% Asian, 0.6% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.3% from two or more races. 3.3%Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 24,524 households out of which 24.6% had children living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.92.
Out of the total population in Pensacola, 45.9% identify with a religion, slightly lower than the national average of 48.34%. Over 48% of Pensacolians who practice a religion consider themselves Baptists (22.14% of all city residents). Other Christian denominations include Roman Catholics (9.22% of city residents), Pentecostal (3.82%), Methodist (3.77%), Episcopal (1.11%), Presbyterian (1.08%), and Orthodox (0.30%).
Pensacola is home to a small (0.15% of city residents) but significant Jewish community, whose roots stretch back to the mid-to-late 19th century. The first Florida chapter of B'nai Brith was founded downtown in 1874, as well as the first temple, Beth-El, in 1876. Paula Ackerman, the first woman who performed rabbinical functions in the United States, was a Pensacola native and led services at Beth-El. Apart from the Reform Beth-El, Pensacola is also served by the Conservative B'nai Israel Synagogue.
Longtime opposition to annexation in the areas surrounding the city has held its 2000 Census population figure at 56,255.
Pensacola does not have a prominent skyline, but it does have several low-rise buildings. The tallest is the 15 floor Crowne Plaza Grand Hotel, which stands at 146 feet. Other tall buildings include the Scenic Apartments (98 feet), SunTrust Tower (96 feet), Seville Tower (88 feet), and the AT&T Building (76 feet).
Historic buildings in Pensacola include the First National Bank Building.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,779, and the median income for a family was $42,868. Males had a median income of $32,258 versus $23,582 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,556 in 2011. About 12.7% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.2% of those under age 18 and 9.2% of those age 65 or over.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2010)|
The city has been referred to as "The Cradle of Naval Aviation". Naval Air Station Pensacola (NASP) was the first Naval Air Station commissioned by the U.S. Navy in 1914. Tens of thousands Naval Aviators have received their training there including John H. Glenn, USMC who became the first American to orbit the earth in 1962 and Neil Armstrong who became the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969. The Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, is stationed there.
The National Museum of Naval Aviation is located on the Naval Air Station and is free to the public. The museum cares for and exhibits hundreds of vintage Naval Aviation aircraft and preserves the history of Naval Aviation through displays, symposiums, IMAX movies and tours.
Corry Station Naval Technical Training Center serves as an annex for the main base and the Center for Information Dominance.[clarification needed] CW03 Gary R. Schuetz Memorial Health Clinic is at Corry Station, Naval Hospital Pensacola, as is the main Navy Exchange and Defense Commissary Agency commissary complex for both Corry Station and NAS Pensacola. The Army National Guard B Troop 1-153 Cavalry is stationed in Pensacola.
- Sacred Heart Health System - Official Site
- West Florida Hospital - Official Site
- Baptist Hospital - Official Site
- Santa Rosa Medical Center - Official Site (located in nearby Milton)
- Naval Hospital Pensacola - Official Site (restricted to military personnel/dependents/authorized persons)
- Select Specialty Hospital - Official Site 
There are a number of annual festivals, events, historic tours, and landmarks. The Pensacola Seafood Festival and The Pensacola Crawfish Festival held in the heart of historic Downtown has been held for nearly 30 years with live music acts. The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival is held annually in November in Seville Square often drawing more than 200 regional and international artists as well as The Children's Art Festival which is held in the same park featuring art by children from local area schools.
There are several walking tours of the historic 18th century era restored neighborhoods.
Pensacola is the site of The Vietnam Veteran's Wall South. There are a number of historical military installations from the Civil War including Fort Barrancas. Fort Pickens served as a temporary prison for Geronimo. There is the National Naval Aviation Museum and Pensacola Lighthouse at NAS Pensacola.
Law and government
|4||Larry B. Johnson|
|8 (at large)||Megan B. Pratt|
|9 (at large)||Charles Bare|
The City of Pensacola is governed by an elected City Council with nine seats, two of which are considered "at large." The city government also has an elected mayor; Ashton Hayward. The current City Hall was opened in 2006.
Like other parts of the South during Reconstruction, Pensacola was solidly Republican for years after the Civil War. The Republican government had numerous African American politicians, including several county commissioners, city aldermen, constables, state representatives, and even one African American Mayor—Salvador Pons. However, with the 1884 election of native Pensacolan and former Confederate General Edward Perry, a dramatic shift occurred. Perry, a Democrat who actually lost the Escambia County vote during the state-wide election, acted to dissolve the Republican city government of Pensacola and in 1885 replaced this government with hand-picked successors, including railroad magnate William D. Chipley. The only African American to remain in city government was George Washington Witherspoon, a pastor with the African Methodist Episcopal Church who was previously a Republican and switched parties to the Democrats. Following Governor Perry's dissolution of the Republican government, the city remained Democratic for more than a century after the Civil War with no African Americans serving in an elected capacity for nearly a century.
As was the case in most of Florida, the Democratic primary was the real contest for most state and local elections until the 1970s. However, from the 1960s onward, the staunchly conservative military and Bible Belt city became increasingly Republican at the national level. Despite this, Democrats continued to win most elections at the state and local level well into the 1990s, though most of them were very conservative even by Southern Democratic standards.
This changed in 1994, when Republican attorney Joe Scarborough defeated Vince Whibbs, Jr. the son of popular former Democratic mayor Vince Whibbs, in a landslide to represent Florida's 1st congressional district, which is based in Pensacola. Republicans also swept all of the area's seats in the state legislature, the majority of which were held by Democrats. Since then, Republicans have dominated every level of government, although municipal elections are officially nonpartisan. In August 2005, registered Republicans outnumbered Democrats for the first time in the area's history. As of August 2005, in Escambia County, 44% of the residents are registered Republicans compared to 39.91% of the population having registered as Democrats with another 13.21% having no party affiliation.
In the 2004 presidential election, 65% of Escambia County residents voted for George W. Bush over John Kerry. The Pensacola area has not supported a Democrat for President since John Kennedy in 1960. In 1968, Pensacola and the rest of North Florida supported American Independent Party candidate George Wallace.
Pensacola is currently represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by Jeff Miller (R), in the state senate by  Greg Evers (R), and in the state house by  Clay Ingram (R), and a June 11, 2013 Special Election to fill the open state House seat left by the death of Clay Ford (R).
The West Florida Regional Library is a system of libraries with five locations throughout the Pensacola area. They offer fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, books on cassette or CD, DVD and VHS films and music. Each library offers public access computers, children's materials, and a variety of reading materials.
Genealogy and local history resources are available at the geneaology branch near the Pensacola State College. Library staff and various volunteers from the West Florida Genealogy Society are available to help start the research process. The Friends of the Library hold periodic book sales where donated and discarded items are sold to the public. Donations of books or audio-video items in good condition are welcome at the main library on Gregory Street.
According to Sister City International, Pensacola has the following sister cities:
Major air traffic in the Pensacola and greater northwest Florida area is handled by Pensacola International Airport. Airlines currently serving Pensacola International Airport are American Eagle, ASA, Comair, Delta Air Lines, Silver Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Express, and US Airways.
From early 1993 through August 2005 Pensacola was served by the tri-weekly Amtrak Sunset Limited, but service east of New Orleans to Jacksonville and Orlando was suspended due to damage to the rail line of CSX during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Attempts are being made to have service restored. This was previously the route of the Gulf Wind operated by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.
Greyhound bus service is also available.
The local bus service is the Escambia County Area Transit. In December 2007, ECAT announced that it would cut many of its routes citing poor rider frequency. However in January 2008, ECAT announced that it would expand service to neighboring Gulf Breeze and change existing routes to more convenient locations.
Public primary and secondary education schools in Pensacola are administered by the Escambia County School District. The current superintendent of schools for Escambia County is Malcolm Thomas. The University of West Florida, which resides north of the city, is the primary tertiary school in the area. UWF also has the largest library in the region, the John C. Pace Library.
Universities and colleges
- Pensacola State College
- Pensacola Christian College
- Virginia College (private)
- University of West Florida
- Pensacola Catholic High School
- Pensacola High School
- Booker T. Washington High School
- Escambia High School
- Pensacola Christian Academy
- J. M. Tate High School
- West Florida High School of Advanced Technology
- Pine Forest High School
- Cordova Park Elementary School
- O.J. Semmes Elementary school
- Scenic Heights Elementary School
- Holm Elementary School
- N.B. Cook Elementary School
- Global Learning Academy
- Pleasant Grove Elementary School
- Long Leaf Elementary School
- Blue Angels Elementary
- LD McArthur Elementary School
- Myrtle Grove Elementary School
Music scene and subculture
- Jim White - singer, songwriter and guitarist
- This Bike is a Pipe Bomb - a folk-punk band
- Finite Automata - an industrial band.
- Mark Gormley - Singer/songwriter who rose to internet fame.
- Austin Carlile - lead vocalist for Of Mice & Men.
- Mike McCready - lead guitar player for Pearl Jam.
- Twothirtyeight - indie rock band
- Paul Jackson - guitarist & vocalist for southern country rock band Blackberry Smoke
- Florida Boys- Southern Gospel Quartet
- Dixie Echoes- Southern Gospel Quartet
The arts and theatre
There are a number of different performance venues in the Pensacola Area, including the Pensacola Civic Center, often used for big ticket events, and the Saenger Theater, used for performances and mid level events. Other theatres used for live performances, plays and musicals include the Pensacola Little Theatre, Pensacola State College, University of West Florida and Loblolly Theatre. Pensacola is also home to the Pensacola Opera, Pensacola Children's Chorus, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, and the Choral Society of Pensacola, as well as Ballet Pensacola. There is also the Palafox Place entertainment district.
Pensacola and Pensacola Beach are mentioned in the Jodi Foster movie "Contact", based on the book by Carl Sagan.
Parks and recreation
- Big Lagoon State Park
- Perdido Key State Park
- Tarkiln Bayou Preserve
- Pensacola Bayfront Stadium
- Plaza Ferdinand VII
There are several semiprofessional sports teams, including the Pensacola Lightning NAFL team, the Gulf Coast Texans of the National Premier Soccer League, the Pensacola Ice Flyers of the SPHL, and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Double-A Southern League Baseball Team.
The largest daily newspaper in the area is the Pensacola News Journal, with offices on Romana Street in downtown; the News Journal is owned by the Gannett Company. There is an alternative weekly newspaper, the Pensacola Independent News.
Pensacola is also home to WEAR-TV, the ABC affiliate for Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach, and Mobile, Alabama, and WSRE-TV, the local PBS member station, which is operated by Pensacola State College. Other television stations in the market include WALA-TV, the Fox affiliate; WKRG, the CBS affiliate; and WPMI, the NBC affiliate, which all are located in Mobile. Cable service in the city is provided by Cox Communications and AT&T U-Verse. WUWF is the area's NPR affiliate and is based at the University of West Florida.
Pensacola Magazine, the city's monthly glossy magazine, and Northwest Florida's Business Climate, the only business magazine devoted to the region, are published locally. The News Journal also publishes Home & Garden Weekly magazine as well as the monthly Bella, devoted to women.
Pensacola also has its own local digital magazine devoted to the cities youth, FIVE. FIVE gets its name from Pensacola being the city of five flags, and it stands for Fashion, Issues, Vision, Entertainment. FIVE celebrates the fashion, creativity, nightlife, and diversity of the city. As well as a longstanding poetry and lamp emporium by the name of Slappadash, run by local artist. A historical society of the entire Pensacola area, Slappadash promotes publications and accounts.
- Red Snapper Fishing in Pensacola, Florida
- Florida fears for "world's whitest beaches"
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- http://www.healthgrades.com/hospital-directory/fl-florida/pensacola. Missing or empty
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hurricane history for Pensacola www.hurricanecity.com/city/pensacola
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