John Appleyard

194 years ago Friday, the United States flag was hoisted over the new territory of Florida. One of the ceremonies was in what’s now downtown Pensacola.

Spain had re-acquired west Florida after defeating the British at the Battle of Pensacola in 1781, beginning what’s called the “Final Spanish Period.”

Pensacola historian John Appleyard says the area had been overseen by a series of governors, and the Spanish had become increasingly uncomfortable when the United States entered into the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, effectively boxing in Spanish interests.

UWF Historic Trust

  On this Christmas, WUWF is digging into the archives to revisit a 2006 conversation with historian and story-teller John Appleyard about what the Christmas holiday was like in the Pensacola area around the turn of the 20th century. 

About 100 years ago, Pensacola was a bustling, prosperous city with a diverse population of about 25,000 people. Appleyard says the different customs of the city’s residents became amalgamated in the overall celebration.