U. S. Mission Trail / The Mission Trail Today - The Spanish Missions in Florida
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Select photographs of my many visits to The Missions of the United States South and Southwest built by Spain and Mexico between 1565 and 1823.
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Explanation.

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Mission San Luis de Appalachee
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San Luis de Apalachee

Founded 1656 - abandoned July 31, 1704
by .
Tallahassee, Florida

Personal Observations

Having visited all available mission sites in California, I was excited to learn of one restored mission in Florida, Mission San Luis de Apalachee. My wife and I visited on December 26, 2007, a dark and cloudy afternoon.

History

Mission San Luis is the only restored mission of what were once over 100 in northern Florida and even more along the Atlantic coast as far as Virginia in the 16th and 17th century. Today a recreated community stands where the original mission stood with on-going archaeological explorations and living history. The mission was established about 1656. The church is described as being as large as the one at Saint Augustine and capable of holding 2,000 people. The church, originally built under Franciscan supervision, has been reproduced. The Counsel House was the most important structure in the community in the Apalachee village and was once the largest Indian built structure in southeast America and has been recreated. This was once the western capital of Spanish Florida, with over 1,500 inhabitants and was the home of the most powerful Apalachee chief. The 60 acre archaeological site sits on one of Tellahassee's most beautiful hills.

The church and the council house sit across a plaza is a relationship different from the missions of California. Intermarriage was more common among the Florida missions. With the addition of a fort, the community was a Spanish pueblo with Indian village, mission, and military presence.

The mission produced cattle and grew wheat and citrus which were exported south to the Gulf of Mexico. The native population was expected to produce food and provide labor to Saint Augustine.

As British troops marched into Florida, on July 31, 1704 the Spanish and Apalachee people burned the village and fled two days before the British arrived. Most of the Spanish returned to Saint Augustine and the Apalachee scattered in all directions. A few hundred possible descendants were recently located in Louisiana and are seeking official recognition.

The State of Florida acquired the site in 1983 when little was known of the history and soon began archaeological work. Today, the Friary, Church, Counsel House, typical Spanish house, and Fort have been recreated. The Chief's house is planned for reconstruction in the future. This author has been informed that a new Visitor Center will open soon.
Map Church Friary Counsel House Spanish House Fort
Map of Site. Click on a major building.

Address and Directions

2100 West Tennessee Street
Tallahassee, FL 32304
Administration: 850.487.3655
Visitor Center, Education and Programs: 850.487.3711
Map provided by the Mission: http://www.missionsanluis.org/_docs/map2008.pdf
From downtown Tallahassee, travel west on Highway 90 - West Tennessee Street about two miles. Cross Ocala Road and turn right at White Drive. Turn right on Mission Road and left into parking area.

Photography Gallery


Approach from parking lot.

Plaza.

Bell tower.

Looking at church from near Friary.

Church.

Roof detail of church.

Front and side of church.

Pulpit.

Baptismal.

Church interior.

Church and cross. Bell tower on left of church.

Church.

Church.

Church.

Front of church.

Front of church.

Front of church.

Church with Friary beyond.

Church with Friary beyond.

Church with Friary beyond.

Church at left, Friary at right.

Church at left, Friary at right.

Friary side.

Friary side.

Friary.

Friary front.

Friary interior.

Friary interior.

Friary from near church.

Friary.

Friary.

Friary.

Friary.

Friary and Visitor Center/Museum beyond.

Friary.


Counsel House.

Counsel House.

Counsel House.

Counsel House from outside side gate.

Counsel House.

Counsel House.

Counsel House.

Counsel House.

Counsel House, interior.

Counsel House, interior.

Counsel House, interior.

Counsel House, interior.

Counsel House, interior, beam connection.


Smoke opening in Counsel House, about 40 feet in diameter. Rising warm air kept out the rain.

Panorama.

Exhibit on carpentry.

Exhibit on food and cooking.

Exhibit on food and cooking.


Spanish house, typical of those in the settlement.

Spanish house, interior.

Spanish house, interior.

Spanish house, interior.

South side of Fort.

West side of Fort.

Entrance to Fort.

Entrance to Fort.

Interior of Fort.

Interior of Fort.

Interior of Fort.

North side of Fort.

Fort building.

Fort building.

Fort building.

Corner of stockade.

Corner of stockade.

Corner of stockade.

Gun port.

Small mortar.

South side of Fort.

South side of Fort.

Southwest corner of Fort.

Entrance to Fort.

West side of Fort building.

Southwest corner of stockade.

South side of stockade.

Spanish moss.


The Visitor Center is the former Messer House, the family the Mission site was bought from.

The Visitor Center.

The Visitor Center.

Visitor Center / Museum, interior.

Model of site.

Visitor Center / Museum, interior.

Garage.

Garage.

Archaeology Lab.

Archaeology Lab.

Sources:

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This page last updated: Thursday, 29-Oct-2015 16:52:58 EDT
Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in US Mission Trail. US Mission Trail is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, and exhibits are subject to change without notice.

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