The Historic District contains 16 historic buildings and is located on Calhoun Street between U.S. 90 and State Road 61. The posted coordinates are for one of the District's contributing buildings: Governor Bloxham House. The District includes a combination of privately owned and local government owned structures.
From the Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation, Inc. website:
Governors, planters and wealthy businessmen once resided here. They built homes in Tallahassee's version of the latest styles, and walked to their offices downtown. Today, gracious old live oak trees festooned with Spanish moss still line the street, thanks to the efforts of activist Clare Bowen who led the campaign to save the trees from a road widening project in the 1940s. Most of these grand old homes are offices now; their histories are outlined in the brochure Touring Tallahassee. While only the Brokaw-McDougall House (329 North Meridian Street) is open to the public, this National Register Historic District, with its distinctive collection of Territorial and Antebellum Florida architecture, is worth a tour.
Facts and Figures:
Now known as the Calhoun Street Historic District, this area was laid out in 1827 as the "North Addition" to the original City of Tallahassee. By the 1840s, some of Tallahassee's wealthiest residents made this area home.
"New" buildings included the 1843-44 Randall-Lewis House (424 North Calhoun) and the 1848 Rutgers House (507 North Calhoun). Both reflect a Georgian influence and were constructed by George Proctor, a free black builder responsible for some of the finer homes in this city.
Other 1840s landmarks include the Classical Revival Bowen House (325 North Calhoun), and the Governor Bloxham House (410 North Calhoun), Tallahassee's only remaining example of Federal residential architecture.
One of the most dominant landmarks is the 1856 Brokaw-McDougall House, at 329 North Meridian Street. Perez Brokaw made his fortune in the livery stable business, building his imposing Italianate residence on the outskirts of town. He also laid out beautiful formal gardens which were restored in 1976. Now headquarters of the Historic Tallahassee Preservation Board, the house is open Monday through Friday from 8-5.
Also in the 1850s, wealthy planter Richard Whitaker purchased the 1847 Towle House (517 North Calhoun), adding a second story, portico and Gothic trim. It now serves as headquarters for Florida's Democratic Party.
After the Civil War, Tallahassee's economy declined, but began regaining strength in the 1880s. Calhoun Street earned the reputation as "Gold Dust Street" as governors, bankers and civic leaders moved to the neighborhood.
New homes in the area included the charming 1878 Carpenter Gothic Bradford-Cobb House (403 North Calhoun), and the picturesque 1895 Chesley House (401 East Virginia). Early this century, more modest homes were built. The Shine (318 North Calhoun) and Mizell-McMullen (525 North Calhoun) Houses reflected the Colonial Revival style. The Gibson (512 and 518 North Calhoun) and West-Quarterman (411 North Calhoun) Houses featured the low pitched roofs and overhanging eaves of the bungalow.
In the 1940s, the City proposed widening Calhoun Street, cutting down the live oak trees and demolishing the historic houses. Calhoun Street resident Miss Clare Bowen and others fought to preserve this distinctive slice of Tallahassee history. Fortunately , they were successful.
However, Calhoun Street began declining. Revitalization started in the 1970s. The district was listed in the National Register, zoning allowed offices, and Federal historic preservation tax credits became available. Today, the area is a Tallahassee " Special Character District," has design review, and receives City preservation incentives to protect its character.