Florida Historical Markers Programs - Marker: Santa Rosa
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- SITE OF PENSACOLA - ST. AUGUSTINE ROAD
Location:Intersection of Gulf Breeze Parkway and Fairpoint Dr.
County: Santa Rosa
City: Gulf Breeze
Description: Begun by a military detachment from Pensacola in 1824, the first federal highway in Florida was designed to connect the two principal cities of the new territory. Construction was later contracted to John Bellamy, wealthy Jefferson County planter, and the majority of the road was built under Bellamy's direction by slave labor. It was completed in May, 1826 at a cost of $23,000.
- THOMPSON HOUSE/SKIRMISH/BLACKWATER
Location:4620 Forsyth Street
County: Santa Rosa
Description: This antebellum home, constructed ca. 1847 by Benjamin Woodson Thompson (1809-1876), partner in the Forsyth and Simpson sawmill enterprise in Bagdad, is the best remaining Florida Panhandle example of a symmetrical Greek Revival structure having a double verandah with balustrade and gable roof. The house was built of local heart pine lumber with the structure of columns, windows and doors reflecting the Doric order. Interior walls are plaster reinforced with animal hair. Window sashes with rolled glass are flanked by operable shutters. During the Civil War, Union troops from the 2nd Maine Cavalry, 1st Florida Cavalry, 19th Iowa Infantry and United States Colored Troops of the 25th, 82nd and 86th regiments raided Bagdad and Milton and camped in and around the house, leaving graffiti including drawings and signatures on the plaster walls. In 1913 the house, which originally faced the Blackwater River, was moved directly back to its present location when the mill complex expanded. Confederate forces, evacuating Pensacola in early 1862, burned Bagdad’s lumber mills. During the remainder of the Civil War, both sides maintained a presence in Santa Rosa County. Union forces periodically conducted reconnaissance raids and captured building materials for use at the Pensacola Navy Yard. Confederate forces posted cavalry troops to watch for Union movement towards the critical rail junction at Pollard, Alabama. During one such raid on October 18, 1864, Lt. Colonel A. B. Spurling, commanding Union troops consisting of some 200 men of the 19th Iowa Infantry Regiment and a section of the locally recruited 1st Florida Battery aboard the steamer Planter, landed 3.5 miles south of here to salvage logs intended for the Bagdad mills. Some 300 Confederates, including Company I, 15th CSA Cavalry Regiment and local militia, were alerted and engaged Spurling’s force. After a two-hour skirmish, the Confederate forces withdrew and Spurling’s men, sustaining minor casualties, re-embarked while managing to salvage 140 logs. One week later Spurling again raided Bagdad and Milton routing Confederate forces in a running battle through town. Afterward, Union troops briefly occupied Bagdad and the Thompson House.
Sponsors: SPONSORED BY THE BAGDAD VILLAGE PRESERVATION ASSOCIATION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE