West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc.

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West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc.
Established 1967
Executive director Richard Brosnaham
Board officers J. Earle Bowden, President
Lucy Rentz, Vice President
Carter Quina, Secretary
Morris Marx
Matt Currin
Patsy Langhorne
Jerry Maygarden
Collier Merrill
Website www.historicpensacola.org

West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc. (WFHPI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of the Pensacola area's historic buildings and other material culture. Established in 1967 as the Historic Pensacola Preservation Board, it has been managed and supported by the University of West Florida since 2001. Its operations include the T. T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum and the Historic Pensacola Village.



The Historic Pensacola Preservation Board (HPPB) was preceded and inspired by stewardship programs established in St. Augustine. A number of grassroots preservation projects had already been undertaken in Pensacola by volunteers, such as the Junior League's restoration of the Dorr House, led by Mary Turner Rule Reed.

Establishment & growth[edit]

Through the efforts of the 1967 West Florida delegation, including State Representative Jim Reeves and State Senator Reubin Askew, the Historic Pensacola Preservation Board was established by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Claude R. Kirk on July 5, 1967.[1] It was incorporated as Historic Pensacola, Inc. on May 29, 1968.[2] Charter members included Pat Dodson (a Republican political ally to Governor Kirk), J. Earle Bowden and T. T. Wentworth.

The first executive director was St. Augustine's Earle W. Newton. Newton orchestrated the acquisition of historic properties through open-space federal grants. Over time the group worked with the City of Pensacola to establish the Architectural Review Board and several historic districts.[3]

The organization lost its American Association of Museums accreditation in the 1980s after taking control of the massive T. T. Wentworth collection, due to the AAM's requirement that at least 80% of all collections be catalogued.[4]

Change of management[edit]

By 2001, Historic Pensacola was the last historic preservation board still operated by the state. It had garnered a collection of 22 buildings occupying eight acres of downtown property and valued at up to $8 million. A state budget proposed by Governor Jeb Bush threatened to eliminate the organization's $650,000 annual funding.

Facing extinction, Board Director John Daniels proposed a solution: the non-profit organization would be transferred to the University of West Florida, which would sub-lease the properties from the Florida Department of State. UWF President Morris Marx endorsed the proposal: "We're really excited about the potential. We can start thinking about all sorts of museum programs, as well as courses in preservation technology, preservation architecture and others. We'll be able to offer students priceless hands-on experience."[5]

It was presented to the legislature by West Florida delegates Jerry Maygarden and Durrell Peaden and passed the House without opposition on April 26, 2001.[6] The organization was officially renamed West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc. on August 29, 2001.[2]

Under its official name of West Florida Historic Preservation, Inc., the organization also maintains Historic Pensacola Village and the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum. The Village provides guided and self-guided tours Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.



  1. J. Earle Bowden. "Forty years later, history still at home in Pensacola." Pensacola News Journal, November 10, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 SunBiz.org record
  3. "Preservation baton is passed to UWF." Pensacola News Journal, May 19, 2001.
  4. "Brosnaham assumes helm as Historic Preservation director." Pensacola News Journal, April 28, 2006.
  5. "UWF plan could save history council." Pensacola News Journal, February 11, 2001.
  6. "UWF could become overseer of historic Pensacola." Pensacola News Journal, April 27, 2001.