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Leon County launches historic trail through downtown Tallahassee

 The Knott House absorbs afternoon sunlight near the Chain of Parks.
Craig Moore
The Knott House absorbs afternoon sunlight near the Chain of Parks.

A new trail through downtown Tallahassee will give visitors a chance to venture into the city’s past at their own pace.

“This trail was certainly not designed for someone to do in a day or even two days,” said Katie Kole, senior marketing director for Leon County’s Division of Tourism. “You can kind of pick and choose spots that interest you.”

The Downtown Heritage Trail features 13 historic sites, including museums, historic parks, cemeteries and buildings.

“It’s more than just kind of looking at a building and learning the history,” “You can actually go into them and experience them.”

The former Walker Library — now Bar 1903 — the John G. Riley House and Museum and the Knott House are among those sites. Those are also included in a one-day guided walking tour on Saturday at 11 a.m. The .8-mile tour starts at Bar 1903 and ends at Cascades Park after a stop at Smokey Hollow. No registration is necessary.

“At each of the spots, we’re going to have a representative from that organization there to talk a little bit about the historic significance and background of that location,” Kole said.

Those interested in traversing the new Downtown Heritage Trail on their own can get directions through the Visit Tallahassee mobile app. They can also pick up a trail brochure at the county’s Visitor Information Center in Cascades Park and at every location on the map.

The new trail is the first to open as part of the Heritage Trail program. Future trails will focus on other specific subjects, such as Civil Rights, music and architecture, Kole said.

“These could help kind of weave together a story and make it easier for visitors and residents who are interested in learning more to go out and experience some of these significant sites.”

The county’s Heritage Trail program developed out of a partnership with the city of Tallahassee, the city’s Downtown Improvement Authority, the John G. Riley House Museum, the Department of State and the Tallahassee Historical Society.

Copyright 2021 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Valerie Crowder is a freelance reporter based in Panama City, Florida. Before moving to Florida, she covered politics and education for Public Radio East in New Bern, North Carolina. While at PRE, she was also a fill-in host during All Things Considered. She got her start in public radio at WAER-FM in Syracuse, New York, where she was a part-time reporter, assistant producer and host. She has a B.A. in newspaper online journalism and political science from Syracuse University. When she’s not reporting the news, she enjoys reading classic fiction and thrillers, hiking with members of the Florida Trail Association and doing yoga.