The Homes of the Pensacola Police Department

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From the book, “Pensacola’s Finest,” by Sgt. Mike Simmons, available on Amazon

First: The Fort of Pensacola: The first recording of a jail or station house in Pensacola was in 1767. The description of the structure indicates that it might have been no more than a hut, built from the local soft wood.  Receipts show that a man named William Arid built the jail on the northeast part of the fort grounds on a tract of land set aside for public and military use.

Second: Intendencia and Alcaniz Streets: In 1776, Joseph Purcell drew up a new map. Included in the map was a building labeled “Prison, a brick building” within the garrison (Granby and Charlotte Streets).  In 1778, as the city expanded, another Pensacola map of Joseph Purcell showed a “Gaol (old Spanish word for jail), built of brick.” The small building was located on the Southwest corner of Alcaniz and Intendencia Streets, the same location – just different street names.

Third: Zarragossa & Adams Streets: On August 2, 1824, the Pensacola Gazette published an article stating that the town of Pensacola had repaired the basement of the old Government House and turned it into a jail. The station was temporary – until the old calaboose was razed and another built. The building was located on Zarragossa Street approximately 100 feet west of Adams Street on the north side of the road.

Fourth: Tarragona & Government Streets: John Lee Williams was a lawyer in Pensacola. He was apparently also a mapmaker. In 1827, he completed a map of downtown Pensacola.  One of the buildings is labeled “Court Ho and Jail.” The building is located on the northeast corner of today’s Tarragona & Government Streets.

Fifth: Alcaniz & Intendencia Streets: On April 12, 1838, The Pensacola Gazette contained the following article:

In 1836 the city erected a good and substantial jail on the site of the old Spanish Calaboose. This building was a two-story brick building. The bottom floor was for the prisoners, and the cell which housed all of them was 15 feet by 16 feet. The second floor was where Fransisco Touart and his family lived. Touart’s duties included looking after the peace and quiet of the city, committing and releasing prisoners, ringing the city bell on all proper occasions, and feeding the prisoners.

Sixth: Palafox & Main Streets: The Civil War brought, among other changes, the buying and selling of many properties. Two years after Lee surrendered, the Pfieffer brothers – Henry and George, owned the “Old Market House” at the corner of Palafox and Main Streets. From 1867 to 1882, they allowed the city to rent a room there for use as a jail.

Seventh: Tarragona & Main Streets: With a larger department came the need for a larger headquarters. This problem presented itself almost immediately upon reorganizing. Finally, in 1887, the department moved to a building located on the northwest corner of Tarragona and Main Streets.

Eighth: Jefferson and Zarragossa Streets: A result of the new provisional municipality was a decision that was made to erect a new building to house the city hall and jail. The new building was to be built on the southwest corner of Jefferson and Zarragossa Streets. In 1889, the announcement was made. The modern facility held a police office, jail cells, and an apartment on the first floor. The marshal’s office and the police court were located on the second floor. The city commissioners held regular meetings in the courtroom upstairs.

Ninth: Jefferson and Zarragossa Streets: After sixteen years together, the agreement was made to separate city hall business and police business. A new city hall was built directly east of Plaza Ferdinand. To provide for construction of the new police headquarters, the police department, in 1906, temporarily occupied the building on the southwest corner of Jefferson and Zarragossa streets.

Tenth: 407 S. Jefferson Street: On February 29, 1908, the new police station, located on the Northwest corner of Jefferson and Main, was ready. At a cost of $4,011.67, it was turned over to the police officials at 11 AM. They immediately began moving furniture in. It had a front desk and lobby, two telephones, offices for policemen, a modern jail, a kitchen, and office facilities for the marshal and chief. A ten-foot wall was erected around the entire building so children could not see prisoners.

Eleventh: 40 South Alcaniz Street: Under Chief Hall’s direction, many changes occurred. On August 5, 1956, the new police headquarters and jail were opened for business. The location was 40 south Alcaniz Street on the south side of St. Michael’s Cemetery. The two-story building was described by the local news as a modern crime-fighting structure, complete with a detective bureau, a records section, and an entire jail facility which included a kitchen for cooking meals for the inmates. The north end of the building was occupied by the U. S. Navy Shore Patrol. 

Twelfth: 711 N. Hayne Street: The new demands for the department called for a new building design. It was time for a new station at a new location. The site chosen was one that was immediately available – under Interstate 110 between Jackson Street and Cervantes Street. An architect was hired, inquiries were made, and several key officers were consulted to come up with the best design so the construction could begin. Finally, in October 1987, officers and movers worked quickly relocating to the new building at 711 North Hayne Street. The two-million-dollar building was designed by Donald Lindsey and built by the Norton – DelGallo Company. As a part of Chief Lou Goss’ retirement ceremony on December 31, 1994, the building was officially named “The Louis Goss Police Headquarters.”


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