|Location||North Avenue, NAS Pensacola|
|Construction Start Date||1826 (original)|
|Completion Date||1874 (rebuilt)|
|Size||8,000+ square feet|
|<googlemap lat="30.347935" lon="-87.268996" zoom="17" width="288" height="225">
30.347945, -87.268961, Quarters A </googlemap>
Quarters A is a stately three-story building located along North Avenue on Naval Air Station Pensacola. This eight bedroom home dates back to 1826, when it was first built as the primary residence of the Commandant of the Navy Yard and his family. In January 1827 a letter from Pensacola was written to the Charleston Courier that said, "The Navy yard here progresses but slowly; they are, I am told, building (a) home for the Commandant." It was burned by the evacuating [[Confederate] forces in 1862, leaving only the brick kitchen wing, and was rebuilt in 1874. The original cost of construction was $27,932.08.
The layout of the home has remained the same since the construction of the house in the 1870s after the civil war. Slight changes have been made to the home such as the addition of a garage and various appliances and heating and cooling accessories to bring the home up to date. Its very important, however, to stress that the homes functionality and use changes from family to family.
As you enter the home you are met by a large screened-in porch, very southern in style and very functional in use. You are greeted by a pair of large, double doors made of wood that have the feeling of history in their grains. If you are lucky enough to have come this far, you enter in through these doors to a grand foyer, 18 foot high ceiling throughout the home and wooden floors complete the grandeur.
Parlor and Drawing Room
To your right is a lavishly decorated drawing room with a large granite fireplace and beautiful furniture that is part of the home. Across the foyer in a parlor room with once again a fire place and a small niche, which makes a perfect area for an upright piano.
Dining Room and Kitchen
Back into the foyer, heading deeper into the house to the right, pass the parlor is a large dining room with a table as old as the home (circa 1870s) with original chairs stuffed with horse hair. Another niche is found in this room which usually (many small details depend on the family and its needs) a small dining table used for family dinners or for a buffet. Another fireplace is found in this room.
Another specialty of this home is that all the fireplaces are made of a different type of granite from around the world. At the very north end of the dining room is a large kitchen that, in southern style, looks somewhat detatched from the home. (This actually is a southern trademark of an older home. The kitchen was kept further, if not totally detatched from the house to keep the majority of the servants out of view and also a safety factor in case the kitchen caught fire)..
If one walks around a large staircase that rises to the second floor, and pass a head, you enter in to what is commonly used as a family room with a sun room that looks over the back yard. This room is connected to the Parlor and sits at the Northwest corner of the home.
Second Floor Ascent
The upstairs is set up in a very general way. Because the home never is occupied for a long amount of time (5 years on average) by the same family, each family sets up the house differently. Ascending up the first flight of stairs, from the foyer, you stop at a landing which also has a bathroom. Step further into the landing, prior to reaching the bathroom and their are two sets of stairs that go down into the kitchen and up onto the third floor. These stairs were built for use of servants.
A smaller set of stairs completes the journey to the second floor. As you reach the second floor there are four main rooms present. Two rooms on either side of a hall way, with a bathroom at the very end of the hall away from the stairs. Each of the two rooms on either side, are connected by a hallway. The two rooms on the right are connected by a bathroom and are usually used as bedrooms or one bedroom and a leisure room. Once again, depending on the needs of the family. Across the hall contains the master bedroom and a room which is usually used as the Admiral's personal office.
Third Floor and Above
Climbing another set of double stairs to the third floor reveals a set of four more bedrooms and also a large closet space in between two of the bedrooms. In the large space between the bedroom there is a stair case which leads to a cupola. There is a famous story with this cupola and it gives the house significant interest. As the story goes, Commodore Melanchton B. Woolsey was the first commandant to live here. He was terrified of contracting yellow fever, since an epidemic had already claimed thousands of lives and he didn't want to be the disease's next victim. He erroneously believed, as others did also, that disease carrying mosquitoes could only fly a few feet high. So, Woolsey moved into the third-story cupola. He got his meals, rum (which he claimed was a "tonic" against the fever) and tobacco for his pipe by lowering a basket on a rope from one of the cupola's windows. One day his servant forgot the rum! Woolsey died soon thereafter. As all residents of Quarters "A" know, his spirit stayed on in the house. Perhaps it is to stay with a lovely lady, transparent and clad in white, who also resides in Quarters "A", forever.
The grounds of Quarters A are very simple for the home's status. Along North Avenue and to the west of the home but to the south of the kitchen is a pond with a trellace that grows both roses on one side and wisteria on the other. Along with various other species of flora including gardenias, hibiscus, various roses, and large elephant ears.
Behind the home looking towards the large wall (which on the other side holds Chevalier Field) on either side are two large buildings that are used as storage sheds. Around the time the home was orignially built they held the horses and carriages for the Commandant. In the center of the yard a large fountain is held with four walkways going towards all the cardinal directions. Due to various storms, families and changes in landscaping the yard is ever changing.
The home currently is home to the Commander of Naval Education Training Command who is the senior Naval Officer on NAS Pensacola. Usually he or she is an Admiral, and in the past 50 years the rank has never fallen below a Captain. Amongst some of the more famous naval officers to have lived in Quarters A include Admiral Chester Nimitz, Admiral William Halsey, Admiral A. C. Read, Admiral John H. Fetterman, and Rear Admiral Gary Jones.
Current resident of Quarters A is RADM Joseph F. Kilkenny and his wife Marianne.