Over 250 years ago, a city plan was developed for Pensacola by Elias Durnford that still inspires today! The EGD project will showcase a landscaping, streetscaping, and planting plan unique to the City of Pensacola, and befitting of the garden lots originally planned by Durnford for Garden Street.
In 1764, shortly after the British took control of West Florida from the Spanish, Elias Durnford, a British military officer and civil engineer, was appointed Commanding Engineer and Surveyor-General of the new British West Florida. One of Durnford’s charges was to survey Pensacola and lay out a new plan for the city. Durnford’s plan for Pensacola featured a traditional street grid as well as a large public square with a star-shaped stockade fort at its center. Durnford’s public square reached east to west from today’s Palafox Street to Alcaniz Street and north to south from Intendencia Street to the Pensacola Bay. As Pensacola grew, much of Durnford’s public square was converted to residential and commercial lots, but the two marching grounds from the military fort remained as the City’s two public squares, now known as Plaza Ferdinand VII and Seville Square.
In Durnford’s plan, the Southern border of the City was Pensacola Bay, and the northern border of the City was Garden Street, then called Conway Street. South of Garden Street, Durnford designed for the City’s commercial and residential building lots, and north of Garden Street, Durnford laid out larger garden lots that were issued as companion lots to a building lot once it was improved. These garden lots were cleared and then utilized by Pensacola families to cultivate and grow some of their food supply. The east-west thoroughfare that was established along Durnford’s stretch of garden lots was later appropriately named Garden Street.
Elias Durnford’s original vision for the garden lots north of Garden Street was growth, and in 1764, the land’s growth-use was aptly agrarian. Over two hundred and fifty years later, Durnford’s growth vision for the garden lots of Pensacola lives on, but now as the East Garden District.
Town lots 80 by 170 feet. Gardn lots 105 by 208 feet. Except the garden lots in the rear of Conway St which are only 80 feet in breadth, therefore are in length 278 feet wich vies the same number of square feet as in the others.
Explore Elias Durnford's 1764 city plan for Pensacola. You will find that throughout Pensacola's history, many of the street names changed with the Spanish, French, British, Confederate, and American occupations, but Durnford's plan for Pensacola has endured for centuries.
Thank you to the University of West Florida Historic Trust for sharing their maps, resources, and knowledge of Pensacola's history with the EGD.
Seville Orange Trees, native to Spain and most likely brought to Pensacola by the Spanish during their three occupations, can still be found growing in several locations in downtown Pensacola. Pensacola has been home to Seville Oranges for hundreds of years, and they are still used today by local chefs in their culinary creations.