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Pensacola City Directory

Pensacola: Where and What It Is

Transcribed and contributed by Janet Myers

Pensacola is situated on the southern border of Escambia County, which is the extreme western county of Florida, upon the shores of the grandest natural body of water upon the American continent - Pensacola Bay. It is the county seat of Escambia County, and with its population of more than 17,000 is the natural commercial emporium and metropolis of Northern and Western Florida. It is steadily advancing in importance, and its position upon the Gulf of Mexico, with increasing railroad facilities, makes it the natural gateway through which to export the products of the great and growing South and West to the Spanish American countries, as is readily perceptible after a glance at the following table of combined distance by rail and sea from the greatest commercial centers of the South and West to the most important West Indian, Central and South American ports:
(Tables omitted)

Located upon a practically landlocked harbor in less than ten miles of the open sea, with twenty-four feet of water upon the bar at the entrance to the harbor, with unsurpassed docking facilities, where vessels drawing twenty-six to thirty feet of water can moor and load down to the water line, with abundant and cheap labor, with the magnificent system of coal chutes operated by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and her close proximity to the coal fields of Alabama. Pensacola possesses superior advantages as a coaling station and point of shipment and port of entry to any other port on the Gulf of Mexico.

It now has direct and regular steamship communication with Havana and other Cuban ports, and at irregular intervals throughout the years numerous other steamships sail from Pensacola for Liverpool and other European ports, and to the ports of South and Central America. From five hundred to six hundred vessels load here annually, the sailing tonnage clearing through Pensacola Custom House being more than the similar tonnage of the following ports combines: Mobile, New Orleans, Galveston, Apalachicola, and Savannah.

Pensacola is the largest pitch pine market (exporting) in the world, and is the leading fish market of the South. Her other Staples for export and domestic use are cypress and cedar lumber and shingles, oak and other hard woods, cotton, coal, naval stores, and general merchandise. The cultivation of fruits and Florida-Cuba tobacco is being extensively and so successfully advanced in the counties tributary to Pensacola, that a great amount of capital is being invested in these and other industries throughout this section of Florida.

As a winter resort Pensacola offers to the tourist attractions unsurpassed anywhere in Florida. She has hotel and private boarding accommodations unsurpassed anywhere in the South, churches of all denominations, Young Menís Christian Association, chamber of commerce, Masonic and other fraternal and benevolent associations, two flourishing national banks with $100,000 capital each, a live, daily newspaper (the most ably edited paper in Florida), a county court house which cost $50,000, a U. S. Government building which cost $250,000, a public library, excellent systems of private and public schools, a good system of street railroads using both steam and horse power. It has paved streets (paved with vitrified brick by the Tennessee Brick Company), and numerous delightful shell and clay drives. It has electric and gas lighting plants, water works (4,000,000 gallons capacity per 24 hours), with fourteen miles of mains, supplied from driven and bored wells through a stand pipe. The water is clear, soft, and cool, and pronounced by experts to be perfectly pure.

It has extensive manufacturing enterprises, including a $150,000 fertilizer factory, sash, door, and blind factories, iron foundries, shingle and lumber mills, candy factories, an ice factory with 65 tons per day capacity, four cigar factories, three large saw mills, three shingle and lath mills, etc.

It has the most efficient fire department in Florida. While not a paid department, it is under the control of a special committee of the city council. Taxes are low and are apt to decrease very materially in the next decade.

The climate here is unsurpassed anywhere on the globe. It is even and salubrious from June to June, the thermometer never registering more than 92 degrees in summer, and rarely less than 40 degrees in winter.