Cascades Park - History
A 24-acre classroom, Cascades Park is the perfect place to learn all about Tallahassee's early years. From the founding of Tallahassee with Florida's first point of origin in the Prime Meridian Plaza to life in the 1900s with the Smokey Hollow Commemoration, it can all be found here in Cascades Park.
All along the trails, you can learn about the history of Tallahassee and the Cascades Park area - from the days of its first discovery through the 1900's. Now you can get some exercise and learn something along the way!
Prime Meridian Marker
In the middle of the park is something that links all Floridians together - the Prime Meridian Marker. This marker, which was originally set in 1824, is the beginning point for all land surveys in the state of Florida, and it's the original southeast corner for Tallahassee's first boundary. Today, the marker is housed inside a map of Florida, which is inlaid into the bottom of the Prime Meridian Plaza, with colorful bricks and sturdy granite.
Smokey Hollow Commemoration
Tallahassee's Smokey Hollow Commemoration stands in remembrance of the African American community that existed from its founding after the Civil War to its destruction in the 1960s. Smokey Hollow covered much of the area that is now Cascades Park. Smokey Hollow became home to an emerging black middle class that wanted to forge a path of their own. Despite the limitations presented by segregation, Smokey Hollow remained a warm and tight-knit, family community. To the residents, it was more than just a place to live. Smokey Hollow was home.
The story of Smokey Hollow is the story of our nation. Mid-twentieth century government intervention displaced vibrant communities of working class people, immigrants and minorities across the U.S. While the specific contours of that story in Tallahassee were unique, the outcome was not. The Commemoration forces us to rethink historical narratives of the uprooted. The Commemoration, which connects via sidewalk to the John G. Riley Museum, features a pavilion, community and heritage gardens, interpretive panels, and spirit houses, which represent the shotgun house that was one of the housing types found in the neighborhood.
Korean War Memorial
Beyond these two landmarks, there is still plenty to learn in Cascades Park. For example, there is the Korean War Memorial and informational panels strategically placed throughout the park that make for great reading when walking the many trails. Did you know that "Famous Amos" of Famous Amos cookies has a tie to the park? Learn more about that and other fun Tallahassee tidbits while exploring Cascades Park.