Explore Pensacola's Trivia Facts
Before Pensacola became a part of America, it was claimed by four other flags. Over the last 450 years, The Pensacola Bay Area has belonged to the governments of Spain, Great Britain, France and the Confederate States of America.
Historians recently discovered the grave of Morris Slater, otherwise known as “Railroad Bill” in Pensacola’s historic St. John’s Cemetery. Slater, a 19th century railroad bandit and folk hero, is the subject of the well-known blues song “The Ballad of Railroad Bill.”
The famous Native American warrior Geronimo was once imprisoned at Ft. Pickens, on Santa Rosa Island, where he was marketed as a tourist attraction. One of Geronimo’s wives died while in captivity at the fort. She is buried at Barrancas National Cemetery, on Naval Air Station Pensacola.
Archeologists recently discovered the site of America’s first multi-year settlement in downtown Pensacola. The town, founded by Spanish conquistador Don Tristan de Luna in 1559, was struck by a hurricane shortly after the settlers’ arrival. The storm destroyed their supplies, and they abandoned the site less than two years later.
In 1997, archeologists recovered the anchor from one of the ships in De Luna’s 1559 expedition. Today, visitors can see the relic on display at the T.T. Wentworth Jr. State Museum.
The beaches of Gulf Island’s National Seashore are a popular nesting site for four different species of sea turtle. Kemp’s Ridley, green, leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles have all been documented in the park.
Tarkiln Bayou Preserve, located just outside Pensacola, is home to four species of endangered, carnivorous pitcher plants. The rare white-top pitcher plant is unique to the Gulf Coast and found only between the Apalachicola and Mississippi rivers.
Each summer, ocean currents litter area beaches with Sargassum weed. This amber-colored plant — which floats on the ocean surface thanks to tiny, balloon-like air bladders — provides habitat for an entire ecosystem of sea creatures. It also serves as a nursery for hatchling sea turtles.
Pensacola’s historic Belmont-DeVillier’s District was a popular stop on the Chitlin’ Circuit — a network of mostly black-owned music venues that emerged during the early 20th century and gave birth to some of America’s biggest musical stars. Artists like Louis Armstrong, James Brown and Ike and Tina Turner all performed in the neighborhood.
The Pensacola Bay Area is crazy about mullet. The fish, which thrives in bays and bayous across the Gulf Coast, is most often fried or smoked. However, at the annual Interstate Mullet Toss, several thousand people opt to throw the fish, rather than eat it.
The Pensacola Bay Area was once called the “Red Snapper Capitol of the World,” because of the large fishing industry that existed here. Pensacola’s fishermen would travel far out to sea in sailboats, storing their catch in water-filled hulls and navigating by compass and sextant. The boats became known as “smacks,” because of the sound the seawater made as it sloshed around in their make-shift live wells.
The Pensacola Bay Area Bay Area is the only city between Mobile, Alabama, and Tampa, Florida, to have a professional ballet, opera, symphony, theatre and an accredited museum of visual arts.
The National Museum of Naval Aviation, one of the largest museums of its kind in the country, features more than 150 meticulously restored military aircraft.
The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, located in downtown Pensacola, is one of the world’s leading institutes for robotics research. A team from IHMC took home second place in last year’s DARPA Robotics Challenge — besting some of the world’s smartest robotics engineers with their bipedal robot, “Running Man.”
For more than a century, the U.S. military has trained its pilots at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Today, the Navy’s flight demonstration squad, the Blue Angels, are based here, and their high-flying acrobatics serve as a constant reminder of the city’s military heritage.