Mission San Luis
2100 West Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, FL, USA
Mission San Luis Tallahassee Reviews
The Land of the Apalachee Dec 06, 2015
After checking out of our hotel we went to this historic Mission which was the western capital of Spanish Florida from 1656 to 1704, and re-constructed on its original site - on 63 beautiful acres. We wanted to see Tallahassee's National Historic Landmark which offers a natural setting in which history and archaeology can be discovered.
When we checked in at the Visitor Center we paid $3 per person which is the admission fee for Senior citizens ($5 for adults and $2 for children). At the suggestion of the receptionist we watched a short film on the history of the Mission at the small but comfortable theater. It was a good presentation to prepare us for the tour of the grounds.
Before entering the site itself we looked around the small museum which contains many relics and artifacts of the Mission's settlement. There are brief descriptions of the exhibits on display. They were all quite interesting as I am a "born again" history buff.
Upon entering the compound we see the central plaza of the village of San Luis which was the main hub of commerce and activities for both the Spanish and Apalachee community. Adjacent to the plaza is a replica of the church where besides Sunday Mass, baptisms, marriages and funerals were held.
Next, we visited the Friary where a young man dressed in the robes of a friar showed us around the place. He emphasized to us how the friars, in keeping with their vows of poverty, lived a simple and austere life. It is believed that at least 5,000 native Apalachee Indians were converted to Christianity and baptized by the friars.
On the way to the Spanish Fort we dropped in at the Blacksmith workshop where we actually saw a re-enactor in a blacksmith outfit forging metal at a fireplace. The only giveaway was he was wearing spectacles and had a wrist watch on his hand!
At the Fort, two young men dressed in soldiers' uniforms greeted us. One of them explained in detail the life of the Spanish soldiers at the fort. He said that the actual strength of the Spanish military garrison stationed there was only about 45 soldiers. The rest were made up of native Apalachee militias who received training in the use of firearms from the Spaniards and served as sentries and guides. We were also told that in 1704, When British forces prepared to attack San Luis, the fort was the last building to be burned and destroyed in order to prevent the British from occupying it.
Our next visit was the Spanish House where another re-enactor in period costume guided us around her residence. One could see that the place was unlike the sparsely furnished rooms where the friars lived. No doubt, for most of the Spanish rulers they lived a far superior and comfortable life than the natives, and although some of the Spanish soldiers married Apalachee women, the attitude of many Spaniards toward the native Indians was generally unfavorable.
The Council House was our last stop, where Apalachee religious and ceremonial activities, including dances, rituals and discussions on community business were held. This historic Apalachee complex was believed to be one of the largest Indian structures in the southeastern United States.
If you want to experience life as it was centuries ago, a trip to the Mission San Luis will transport you back in time to a 17th century community where Apalachee Indians and Spaniards were drawn together by religion, as well as military and economic purposes.
Open everday from 10 am to 4 pm, except Mondays.
Part of the Another road trip in Florida travel blog
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