The University of West Florida celebrated the opening of History Hall at One Palafox Place with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 7. History Hall, a hallway in the recently revitalized Blount building, located at Garden and Palafox streets, features a mural wall of Pensacola’s storied past, adjacent to a History room with UWF Historic Trust artifacts on display.
One Palafox Place, LLC, an investment group made up of Charlie, Bobby and John Switzer and Billy Lovelace, purchased the Brent and Blount buildings in 2015 and started the revitalization and historic preservation project in collaboration with the UWF Historic Trust thereafter.
“I’m excited about telling a cohesive story downtown and teaching people about our rich history,” said Charlie Switzer, treasurer of the UWF Historic Trust Board of Directors. “This building is central to Pensacola’s history, so it was the perfect place to establish History Hall.”
UWF President Martha D. Saunders spoke at the event and thanked the Switzer family for their commitment to historic renewal and our community. The Switzer brothers, the great grandsons of F.C. Brent, collected photographs from the UWF Historic Trust Archive that tell the story of the Blount and Brent Buildings and share the legacy of the Brent families in Pensacola.
“You have to know your history, and History Hall at One Palafox Place gives you that opportunity,” said Bobby Switzer. “These are the shoulders we’re standing on and the people that made this town. It’s our responsibility to keep it going.”
Collier Merrill, prominent local business leader and chair of the UWF Historic Trust Board of Directors, worked with the Switzers for years to see this project come to life.
“I am really impressed with what the Switzers have done with this project, not only by preserving the building but also with the development of History Hall, which further showcases Pensacola and its historical background,” said Merrill. “Charlie Switzer serving on the UWF Historic Trust Board of Directors has brought the legacy of a lot of old Pensacola families. My hope is that other businesses along Palafox will follow in their footsteps, further steering visitors and locals to live Pensacola’s history in Historic Pensacola.”
The collage will change and rotate over time and share the many narratives of Pensacola.
“We are grateful to the Switzer family for their interest in activating history in downtown Pensacola,” said Amy Bowman-McElhone, assistant vice president of the UWF Historic Trust Museums and the director and chief curator of the Pensacola Museum of Art. “Through collaborative partnerships like this project, our collection comes to life and is shared with the community.”