Leon High School
Class of 1961
I was on a short visit to Tallahassee last week and had a little spare time, so decided to wander around town, check out some of my old haunts, and see what still remained of them, if anything.
CLICK ANY PHOTOGRAPH TO SEE A LARGER VIEW.
Then (1957) and Now (2007)
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I started out at good old Leon High School. I stood down near Tennessee Street and Franklin Boulevard, and took about 5 photos. I've put them together below to form sort of a panorama view.
I couldn't see a whole lot of differences from this point of view, but my sister took the free tour during that recent joint reunion and tells me there have been quite a few changes. All the windows were replaced with some kind of aluminum windows, the girl's gym to the right of the main building has been moved a little and rebuilt, and there have been some changes inside the main building. I'd guess that big boy's gym building down by the football field might have been rebuilt in 50 years also .. don't know. Most everything else is pretty much similar, except I don't recall a tennis court there or that parking lot right in front of me.
From Leon, I drove on over to the former home of Mutt & Jeff's Drive-in. The location is still a restaurant, but now it's the Paradise Grille.
Mutt & Jeff's Drive-in (THEN)
Paradise Grille on Mutt & Jeff's corner (NOW)
Closeups: Mutt & Jeff's and Paradise Grille
Los Robles' gate - still looks
the same to me
Another occasional hangout, just up the block from Mutt & Jeff's, was the Armory, where we spent many a weekend night roller skating. The Armory building is still there, possibly rebuilt, but now it's a Senior Center. I have no photos of the original Armory, do you? If so, send them on!
Two photos of the Senior Center - one a bit distant and the other closer in; Looks like my memory of the Armory, but who knows?
Next stop, the old Tallahassee Democrat building, where I spent many a day rolling newspapers to be delivered in various parts of the city. It was at Call and Adams ... a block East was the Floridan Hotel. Both are now parking lots, and not very big ones at that. CLICK ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE Does anyone out there have a photo of the old Democrat building or Floridan Hotel?
This driveway is located where we'd park our motorscooters and stand for hours, rolling papers on the Democrat's loading dock
Former Floridan Hotel - also a smaller lot than I'd expect
And this little parking lot represents to entire building; really hard to imagine it's footprint being this small
Finally, we're getting to some that I have old as well as new photos. Coming down Monroe Street from the former Floridan Hotel, we find the location of the former Florida Theater, where we spent many a weekend evening. Often, we were with just a group of friends, but now and then, with a date.
New building where the theater once was? - or remodel of the old one?
Next stop, the old Main Post Office. Important not only because we all probably went in there at one time or another, but also because I worked there as a mailman for a couple of years (1960-62).
Post Office - NOW ; Looks like the same building to me! Still got that little bell-tower thing
Notice that building to the left of the theater?
That's the back of the Post Office (THEN)
Moving up Monroe Street, our next "haunt" is Bennett's Drug Store. Not that I spent so much time there, but I happen to have an old photo.
Bennett's Drug Store (THEN)
Around the corner on College Avenue, where the State Theater was, there's a very tall building now.
Heading on down South Monroe Street, I got three real surprises. Three of the buildings that I'm very familiar with from back in the 1950s are still there! On the left is the gas station at Harrison and Adams, where the old Billups Station (Fill-up with Billups!) was. In the center was a major surprise! That's the building where I worked in my teens, when I wasn't delivering newspapers. Back then, it was a Pure Oil station. Everything is still as it was then -- the bay where I changed oil and mounted tires, the "front office" with the big window facing out to Monroe Street. I was genuinely surprised to see that building, since I recall it being fairly old and delapidated when I worked there. On the right is my third surprise! That's the building where the old Corral Drive-In was! The sandy drive-around is gone, but even seeing that building still there is quite surprising.
Formerly Pure Oil on Monroe
Formerly Billups on Adams
On out Monroe, past what used to be Four Points (couldn't really tell where that was), stay on Crawfordville Road, and you'll soon come to the turn-off to Wakulla Springs, where Blue Sink was. I remember spending many an afternoon, and a few late evenings, at Blue Sink in my teenage years. I even recall seeing whole families down there on weekend afternoons to swim and enjoy the sandy beach. Can you even find it now? I drove past it a couple of times, before finally realizing that gate with all the signs on it was the place!
Those who do visit can't bring any alcohol
Gate with padlock probably keeps out most visitors
They can't drive their vehicles
And, they have to leave by 8 PM
But, being the determined person that I am, I left my vehicle and alcohol, checked my watch to make sure it wasn't 8 PM yet, and made my way under the gate. Did I find the beautiful swimming hole surrounded by a sandy beach? No! It's grown over with weeds and doesn't look like it's been used for a long time. I wonder what happened to it. I hear there was a lot of crime, I know they found at least one body there, and I guess the authorities decided the easiest way to stop all that was to shut it down. Too bad .. it was a great place for swimming and "messing around."
Could this overgrown, deserted pond be our beloved Blue Sink?
These photos, with the Blue sky reflected in the water, make it look a little more like our Blue Sink. If you look closely, you can actually see the sand still there, just somewhat weeded over. I probably still wouldn't feel comfortable swimming there, though.
In the right light, it looks like Blue Sink again
Now, for the BIG SURPRISE! Just for curiousity, I drove on out the Wakulla Springs road to see if I could find Cherokee Sink. Back in the '50s, the correct way of getting to Cherokee Sink was a bit of a secret, known only by a few (probably a few hundred). You'd go out to the main entrance to Wakulla Springs, then look on the opposite side of the highway for the right sandy road. If you got on the wrong one, you could ride for miles and see nothing but more trees and more sandy road.
Well, they've closed the old main entrance to Wakulla, but I eventually found it. And there, right across the road, was a little sandy road! Was it the right one?
Enlarge that photo and maybe you'll be as surprised as I was!
Well, I drove on down that little sandy road and lo and behold, there was good old Cherokee Sink! It looks like the state is maintaining it now, as part of Wakulla Springs State Park. They've got a parking lot, picnic tables, wooden walkways, and other nice additions, but the swimming hole itself is still there, just as it was way back 50 years ago! See photos below.
Is that the right road? Click to enlarge and check out that sign!
The old Wakulla Springs entrance, now fenced and gated
Looks like the same sandy road we traveled back in the '50s!
They've put in a parking lot, complete with a handicapped spot!
This sign was as big a surprise to me
as that little one out on the highway
Looks like a great place for a picnic!
Three cheers to whoever decided that this represents "...the Real Florida"!
I think that's the branch our rope swing was tied to!
And that sure looks like the same rock we sat on between dips
They've added several nice wooden walkways and stairs
And here's the sink, looking much like it did THEN,
except we can't drive all the way around any more.
I'm so glad I did this Tallahassee tour! I had some nice surprises and no real disappointments. I really didn't expect much of anything of the old days to remain. Speaking of things from the old days ... I made one last stop on my tour. Joyce had asked me to get photos of old homes if possible, and I really hadn't seen any in the places I'd visited. Then I recalled hearing about Lou Rich's dad moving that big house that sat on Magnolia Drive, so I called my sister to find out where it was. Well, I'm telling you .. if you don't get explicit directions, you're not going to find it. She said to go out Buck Lake Road, through the stop light, then look for Nabb Road on the right. Take it and then turn left into Goose Creek Subdivision. I did and I found it! That old mansion, sitting right in the middle of a bunch of modern homes, looked a little out of place, but in better shape than ever. I'm amazed they were able to move it. I'll bet there's a real story behind that operation!
So ends my tour. Hope you've enjoyed it as much as I did!
The Rich home, moved from Magnolia to Goose Creek
And the subdivision that surrounds the mansion
Here's a rather faded photo that I found in my old photo album