Neighborhood History

The Lafayette Park Neighborhood definitely has a long history in its development along with the City of Tallahassee. In 1824 President James Monroe approved an act of Congress  granting the Marquis de Lafayette a township of land in any of the United States public domains for his services in the American Revolutionary War. An experienced land surveyor from Georgia was chosen as Lafayette’s surveyor and Lafayette decided on land in the territory of Florida where “ rapidly rising land values were foreseen” which was six square miles in what is now Leon County.  The Lafayette Park Neighborhood has an historical association with the Lafayette Land Grant located at the south side of the township.

 Prompted by financial pressures caused by France’s revolutionary war, General Lafayette sold twenty six and three quarters sections of this land (17,120 acres) on November 18, 1833 for $46, 520.  Lafayette died on May 20, 1834, never having seen the land grant, and ownership of his remaining six and three quarters sections of land was transferred to his heirs who lived in France. By 1855, the Lafayette family had sold all of their interest in the original land grant to various individuals.

Around 1900, the southern half of section 30 (the Lafayette Park Neighborhood) was cut into several large tracts.  Seventy acres located in the southeast half of the southwest quarter section belonged to Letitia Beard, the granddaughter of Robert Howard Gamble, one of Leon County’s largest plantation owners. Another owner in the southwest quarter section was Decater Anderson, whose ancestors were the Harberts who were early residents of this area.  Streets within the Lafayette Park Neighborhood have been named after the Beards and Harberts. 

Between 1911 and 1940 several local businessmen tried their hand at land speculation in what was to become the Lafayette Park Neighborhood.  By 1940 they transformed several parcels into thirteen subdivisions. The Eastview Addition triangular in shape was platted in 1911 as the first recorded subdivision in Lafayette Park but its development did not start until about 1925. This area was bordered by Miccosukee Road, North Meridian Street which was originally named Jackson Street and this subdivision now includes parts of East Georgia Street, East Carolina Street and  Cherry Street. Twelve more subdivisions were platted between 1914and 1940 from the pastures and farmlands that now form the Lafayette Park Neighborhood consisting of over 500 residential structures.

 On May 4, 1932, the City of Tallahassee purchased approximately 22 acres of the Meridian Heights subdivision from the Tallahassee Realty Company to develop into a park.  The development of the park became the Tallahassee Garden Club’s first priority and the members wanted to name it Botanical Gardens.  In 1934 the Tallahassee Historical Society interceded and requested that this area be named in the memory of the Marquis de Lafayette. Today, Lafayette Park is the centerpiece of the Lafayette Park Neighborhood and has played a major role in Tallahassee’s community activities.  The Lafayette Park Community Center was constructed in 1957 and on November 2, 2006 was renamed the Sue Herndon McCollum Community Center.  Mrs. McCollum served as the Center’s first Assistant Director and then Director from 1960-1967.

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