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A Tale Of Two Florida Cities: Pensacola & St. Augustine

University of West Florida

The Experience UWF Downtown Lecture Series returns for the first date of the new season on Monday. That’s when Professor Roy Hunt from the University of Florida tells “A Tale of Two Cities: Historic Preservation in Pensacola and St. Augustine.” 

Professor Roy Hunt spent nearly 50 years teaching at the University of Florida's College of Law. He has also worked four decades in historic preservation law throughout the state of Florida. In “A Tale of Two Cities,” Hunt will share how the journeys of Pensacola and St. Augustine shaped UWF and UF's acquisition of key historical properties with a story of representation, advice, problem-solving and politics. Professor hunt was very involved in both city's programs.

Hunt says "I think they've both been very successful in achieving twin goals of historic preservation of the physical fabric of historic state-owned properties, as well as providing education programs in historic preservation that benefits, of course, the students but also the communities and, indeed, the entire state."

The St. Augustine Preservation Board was the first such board formed by the state legislature in 1959. It was quite successful so other municipalities started lobbying for their own boards. Pensacola got theirs in 1967.

Professor Hunt says having historic preservation boards in those two cities that made sense since Pensacola was the earliest settlement in Florida, although it failed and was abandoned after a few years, and St Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the state. But after years of government support, the boards were eventually shut down by the state. Hunt was involved in the process of making sure Pensacola’s historic buildings would continue to be preserved.

"I asked the heads of leading historic preservation programs in universities around the country to come to Pensacola as consultants. We provided input for the creation of the program that now exists. So in the case of Pensacola, the properties and the programs went immediately from state management and ownership to the University of West Florida."

The next step: doing the same for St Augustine. "William Proctor asked Dr. Judy Bense, now the President of the University of West Florida but at the time was chair of the Anthropology Department, to chair a special task force to seek a solution to the St. Augustine problem. And we met over a period of time, and finally concluded that the best model for St. Augustine was the model we had created in Pensacola. (So) the result of the task force was to recommend a university relationship. That was in 2006. The legislation was adopted in 2007, However the University of Florida did not sign the agreement to manage the properties until 2010."

Bob Barrett's full interview.

Professor Roy Hunt’s lecture, “A Tale of Two Cities: Historic Preservation in Pensacola and St. Augustine” is this Monday. The free event will start with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and the lecture at 6 p.m. at the Museum of Commerce in downtown Pensacola.