Florida: Leon County

Leon County (pop. 275,487) is east of Gadsden County, on the border with Georgia. The population has grown from 51,590 in 1950.

The only other Leon County is in Texas.

The county was named for Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon (1474-1521).

The county seat of Leon County, and the capital of Florida, is the city of Tallahassee (pop. 181,376).

Old Capitol (1845)

Florida built a new, 22-story Capitol building in the 1970s. It’s the newest state capitol building in the U.S., and the third-tallest.

Capitol Complex

Tallahassee is the home of Florida State University (1851), with about 42,000 students. Residents of Leon County have the highest average level of education among Florida’s 67 counties.

Westcott Building (1910)

Among Tallahassee’s other institutions of higher learning is Florida A&M University (1887), a historically African-American school with about 9,000 students – third-largest enrollment among all African-American universities.

The women’s teams are the Lady Rattlers.

The Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee (1956) was built to resemble Andrew Jackson’s “Hermitage” in Nashville. It is now occupied by Gov. Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott.

Tours are available.

Leon High School in Tallahassee, one of America’s oldest high schools, was founded in 1831.

Faye Dunaway was Class of ’58.

The Tallahassee Automobile Museum has more than 140 automobiles (including three Batmobiles), plus fishing lures, pianos, golf clubs, baseball cards, baby bottles, and much more.

Antique outboard motors

Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park, southeast of Tallahassee, commemorates the Civil War Battle of Natural Bridge. Tallahassee was the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi that was not captured by Union troops.

The annual reenactment


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Florida: Holmes County

Holmes County (pop. 19,927) is north of Washington County, along the border with Alabama. The only other Holmes counties are in Ohio and Mississippi.

It’s not certain how the county got its name.

The county seat of Holmes County is the city of Bonifay (pop. 2,793).

Downtown Bonifay

The nearby city of Ponce de Leon (pop. 598) was named for Juan Ponce de Leon (1474-1521), who led the first Spanish expedition to Florida and was associated with the search for the “Fountain of Youth.”

He named Florida (“flowers”).

Ponce de Leon Springs State Recreation Area is in Ponce de Leon. The spring brings 68-degree water year-round from an underground aquifer.

Popular for swimming and snorkeling

Laura Ingalls Wilder and her husband, Almanzo, and their daughter, Rose, lived in Westville (pop. now 289) for a time in 1891.


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