Located near downtown Pensacola, the North Hill Preservation District served as a popular place of residence for the upper middle-class from the 1870s to 1930s. The district’s southern edge starts at Wright Street and extends to Moreno Street. The western edge starts at De Villers Street and stretches to Guillemard Street. The residences built in the North Hill Preservation District connect to a variety of industries that contributed to the prosperity of Pensacola. Several owners of these homes held prominent positions within the various lumber companies that operated in and around Pensacola and Escambia County. These residences represent an indirect connection to the Lumber Landscape.
Despite the growth and expansion of Pensacola during the colonial and territorial periods, the North Hill area remained relatively undeveloped with only farmers utilizing the vacant land. As inhabitants of Pensacola and Escambia County attempted to recover from the devastation of the Civil War, sawmill owners also began to rehabilitated their abandoned or destroyed mills and revived the lumber industry. The industry soon prospered and brought wealth and commerce to Escambia County. Wealthy Pensacolians took note of North Hill as an ideal location for residences due to its proximity to the businesses and wharfs of Pensacola.
As the popularity of the area grew, those who made their fortune in lumber sought to capitalize. Members from the Hyer and Knowles families, who owned the profitable Hyer-Knowles Mill prior to the Civil War, snatched up the Belmont tract and constructed a few dwellings such as those at 423 North Barcelona Street and 222 West DeSoto Street. In 1880, Henry Baars, the President of Baars Lumber Company, constructed a mansion that soon became a focal point of the neighborhood. After the establishment of the Baars mansion, others rushed to North Hill to make their mark. These individuals included W. B. Wright, a sawmill owner, C. A. Weis, a partner in the Weis-Patterson Lumber Company, and Marion A. Quina and Willock L. Bell, who both ran businesses contracting individuals to load and unload ships transporting lumber products.
The National Register of Historic Places added the North Hill Preservation District in 1983. The nomination embodied the effort of residents to prevent local history from becoming commercial development. The district contains 404 buildings. Current research revealed eight properties intertwined with the lumber industry. Future research may uncover additional connections between North Hill and the history of lumber in Escambia County.
National Register of Historic Places. North Hill Preservation District. Pensacola, Escambia, County, Florida. National Register 83001422.
National Register of Historic Places. Pensacola Historic District. Pensacola, Escambia, County, Florida. National Register 70000184.
Pensacola, Fla-Streets-Barcelona-Street Scenes. Unknown Date. John C. Pace Archives, Pensacola, Florida.
Author: Brianna Patterson
ORICD ID: 0000-0002-8037-3709