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City Government and Information
Tallahassee is the capital of the State of
Florida and the county seat of Leon County.
Tallahassee is the home of Florida State University, a major
research university with strengths in both arts and sciences.
Other local higher-education institutions include Florida A
& M University, a historically-black university, Tallahassee
Community College, and Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy; Barry
University, Embry Riddle and Flagler also have branches in
Tallahassee. It is also a regional center for trade and
agriculture and is served by Tallahassee Regional Airport. With
one of the fastest growing manufacturing and high tech economies
in Florida, its major private employers include a General
Dynamics Land Systems manufacturing facility (military and
combat applications), the headquarters of Talla-Com (a
communications manufacturing firm owned by Tadiran
Communications, Ltd., in Israel) and the manufacturing
headquarters for Danfoss Turbocor (a manufacturer of oil-free
high efficiency compressors).
Tallahassee became the capital of Florida in 1824. As of 2006,
the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 159,012,
while the Tallahassee metropolitan area is estimated at 336,501
The name "Tallahassee" is a Muskogean Indian word
often translated as "abandoned fields" or "old
fields" or "old town." This likely stems from the
Creek (later called Seminole) Indians that migrated from Georgia
and Alabama into this region during the late 18th and early 19th
centuries. Upon arrival, they found large areas of cleared lands
that had previously been occupied by the Apalachee tribe.
The expedition of Panfilo de Narvaez encountered the Apalachees,
although it did not reach the site of Tallahassee. Hernando de
Soto and his expedition occupied the Apalachee town of Anhaica
in the winter of 1538-1539. Based on archaeological excavations,
this site is now known to have been located about one-half mile
east of the present Florida capitol building.
During the 1600s, several Spanish missions were established in
the territory of the Apalachee with the aim of procuring food
and labor for the colony at St. Augustine. The largest of these,
Mission San Luis de Apalachee, has been partially reconstructed
by the state of Florida.
Florida State CapitolFrom 1821 through 1845, the rough-hewn
frontier capital gradually grew into a town during Florida's
territorial period. In 1845, a Greek revival masonry structure
was erected as the Capitol building in time for statehood. Now
known as the "old Capitol" because of the new building
constructed in the 1970s, it stands in front of the current new
capitol high rise today.
During the American Civil War, Tallahassee was the only
Confederate state capital east of the Mississippi not captured
by Union forces. A small engagement, the Battle of Natural
Bridge, was fought south of the city on March 6, 1865.
Following the Civil War, much of Florida's industry moved to the
south and east, a trend that continues to this day. The end of
slavery caused the cotton and tobacco trade to suffer, and the
state's major industries shifted to citrus, lumber, naval
stores, cattle ranching and tourism. The post-Civil War period
was also a time when many of the former plantations in the
Tallahassee area were purchased by wealthy northerners for use
as winter hunting preserves.
Up until World War II, Tallahassee remained a relatively small
southern town, with virtually the entire population living
within a mile of the Capitol. The main economic drivers were the
universities and state government, where politicians would meet
to discuss spending money on grand public improvement projects
to accommodate growth in places such as Miami and Tampa Bay,
hundreds of miles away from the capital. By the 1960s, there was
a movement to transfer the capital to Orlando, closer
geographically to the growing population centers of the state.
That motion was defeated, however, and the 1970s saw a long-term
commitment by the state to the capital city with construction of
the new capitol complex and preservation of the old capitol
In recent years, Tallahassee has seen an uptick in growth,
mainly in government and research services associated with the
state, Florida State University, and Florida A&M University.
Tallahassee is noted for its hilly terrain, and the state
capitol is located on one of the highest hills in the city. The
elevation varies from near sea level to just over 200 feet in
places. The flora and fauna are more typical of that found in
the mid-south and low country regions of South Carolina and
North Carolina. Although some palm trees do grow in the city,
they are limited to the more cold-hardy varieties such as the
state tree, the Sabal Palmetto. Pines, magnolias and a variety
of oaks are the dominant trees. Of the latter, the Southern Live
Oak is perhaps the most emblematic of the city.
Population (year 2000): 150,624,
Est. population in July 2004: 156,612 (+4.0% change)
Males: 71,137 (47.2%), Females: 79,487 (52.8%)
Elevation: 188 feet County: Leon
Land area: 95.7 square miles
Zip codes: 32301, 32303, 32304, 32308, 32310, 32311, 32312,
Median resident age: 26.3 years
Median household income: $30,571 (year 2000)
Median house value: $102,500 (year 2000)
Races in Tallahassee:
White Non-Hispanic (57.8%)
Two or more races (1.7%)
Other race (1.0%)
Asian Indian (0.7%)
American Indian (0.7%)
Ancestries: German (9.4%), English (9.2%), Irish (8.9%), United
States (5.3%), Italian (3.3%), Scottish (2.3%).
For population 25 years and over in Tallahassee
High school or higher: 89.9%
Bachelor's degree or higher: 45.0%
Graduate or professional degree: 19.8%
Mean travel time to work: 18.7 minutes
For population 15 years and over in Tallahassee city
Never married: 49.2%
Now married: 35.5%
5.5% Foreign born (1.9% Asia, 1.8% Latin America, 1.1% Europe).
Population change in the 1990s: +24,430 (+19.4%).