Our History: Sites

H20Federal Arsenal

The Federal Arsenal has been restored for use as a history museum and conference center. It was built between 1832 and 1839 to store arms for the U.S. War Department during the Indian Wars. The 5 feet thick walls were crafted by English artisans using bricks made on site.

 

 

H21Florida State Hospital Grounds

From 1834-1839, the United States Government built the Federal Arsenal (Apalachicola Arsenal) on the high bluffs settled by the Creek and Seminole Indians in modern day Chattahoochee. It originally consisted of a number of buildings surrounding a four-acre parade ground, connected by a 30-inch thick brick wall. Andrew Jackson was sent to take command of the American armies during the Second Seminole War from 1835-1842. Jackson stayed in the Arsenal Quarters, one of two structures still standing today. In 1869, the United States gave the land and buildings to the State of Florida. It then became a prison but was changed to a mental institution in 1876, known as the Florida State Hospital. Many of the original buildings were destroyed to make way for more modern construction. Now open to visitors, one may enjoy driving the landscaped grounds for a glimpse back in history.

 

H22Fort Gadsden Historic Site

Called the “Hill of Good Vistas” by the Spanish and “Achackweithle” by Native Americans, this site on the eastern bank of the Apalachicola River—so tranquil in appearance today—was the focus of a series of international conflicts that literally determined the destiny of nations. At various times Prospect Bluff hosted a Spanish settlement, a British Fort, a Negro Fort, and the U.S. Fort Scott and Fort Gadsden. Conflicts involved escaped Negro slaves; Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole Indians; British and American forces; and Confederate and Union troops. This site is a National Historic Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Facilities include an information kiosk with historic dioramas depicting early settlements and major battles, picnic tables, nature trail, and restrooms.

 

H27“Great Floridian 2000 Plaque” honoring Witt A. Campbell

Across the street from the Stevens School is a small white frame building with a blue” Great Floridian 2000 Plaque” honoring Witt A. Campbell, who served as the financial officer for the Good Shepherd Lodge of the Order of Emancipated Americans until his death in 1996. Born in Quincy he served the Gadsden County school system for 44 years. During the 1960s civil rights movement, Campbell registered voters in Gadsden County. In 1983 he was elected to the Gadsden County School Board.

 

 

H23Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Site

On October 1, 1890, three of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s relatives began a trip from Stockholm, Wisconsin down the Mississippi River on a sailboat named “Edith” to find a new place to settle. Located in the North Florida piney woods, this is the home site of Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, Almanzo James, their daughter, Rose Wilder, Peter Franklin Ingalls, and his wife, Mary Edith McGowan Ingalls. They lived here from October 1891 – August 1892, when they returned north due to Laura’s inability to tolerate the humid environment. Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, later wrote a short fictionalized story entitled “Innocence” about the time the family spent here in Florida. Laura’s first book, Little House in the Big Woods, was published in 1932 when she was 65 years old. She eventually published 13 other books, including Little House on The Prairie in 1935.

 

H24Mission San Carlos de Chacates

Located at the Woodruff Dam Overlook, this Spanish Heritage Trail stop provides a stunning view of the Woodruff Dam and Lake Seminole. As noted at the interpretive kiosk, it is also the site of Jackson County’s last Spanish Mission. Discovered by archaeologists prior to the construction of the dam, Mission San Carlos de Chacatos was built between 1680-1694 to serve the Christian members of the Chacatos, a Native American group that was living between the Chipola River and Holmes Creek when Spanish missionaries first arrived in the area in 1674.

 

H25Nicolls Outpost and Indian Mound

Built in the fall of 1814, this British fort was armed with two small cannons and garrisioned by 180 Royal Colonial Marines of both free and liberated slaves from Spanish Florida. It sat atop a large residential Indian Mound built in the Fort Walton Period (1450-1650 AD) that overlooks the Apalachicola River. The site, located in Clyde Hopkins Park, has interpretation, benches, and great views.

 

H26USS Chattahoochee Marker

This is the monument to the men who died in the accidental explosion and sinking of the C.S.S. Chattahoochee, a gunship that operated on the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers. The Chattahoochee often docked at the arsenal wharf, which no longer exists. The ship sank following a boiler explosion near Blountstown, Florida. The men killed in the explosion were brought back upriver to Chattahoochee and were buried near the arsenal. The remains of the ship can be seen today in the Port Columbus National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia.