UWF Historic Trust hosts grand opening of Voices of Pensacola presented by Gulf Power
Yesterday, UWF Historic Trust hosted the grand opening of “Voices of Pensacola” presented by Gulf Power, a multicultural center highlighting the city’s diverse history. Through a $605,000 gift from Gulf Power Company and Southern Company, the UWF Historic Trust transformed one of its downtown properties, previously known as the Beacon Building, into Voices of Pensacola.
“Voices of Pensacola not only highlights the numerous cultural groups that have shaped Pensacola’s history through dynamic, multifunctional exhibits, but also provides a place for local residents and visitors alike to gather, learn and tell their rich stories,” said Gulf Power President Stan Connally.
In addition to the exhibits, a digital recording station is available to record the oral histories of residents, visitors and others who have greatly impacted the region.
“Pensacola’s heritage is a cultural gumbo – a cornucopia of flavors from around the world: Africa, Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia, the West Indies and the Mediterranean,” said Jerry Maygarden, UWF Historic Trust board chair. “Our community is rich in diversity, and now we have a place to house and tell the stories of our people and past.”
The second floor houses newly renovated archives and the new Hilton-Green Research Room, which was made possible through a bequest from the late Henry L. Hilton-Green, Jr. The space, a visible and tangible recognition and permanently named memorial to the Hilton-Green Family, is used to create an environment for researching and showcasing the local history of Pensacola. A permanent and comfortable environment for reading, research and historical reflection, the space provides for technology to be used in research, furnishing and equipping the space with supplies, shelving and lighting that is necessary to create a superior space and archival environment for public use and record collection.
A biography about the late Henry L. Hilton-Green, Jr., written and published by the UWF Historic Trust, will be housed in the archives in the second floor Hilton-Green Research Room.
“Voices of Pensacola is going to allow the University an opportunity to engage with the community like never before,” said UWF President Judy Bense. “Pensacola’s rich history is preserved best in the stories of those who lived it.”
Voices of Pensacola, located at 117 East Government St. in downtown Pensacola, was built in 1912 by S. F. Fulgham & Co. for D. Kugelman & Co., a wholesale grocer. Since then, it has housed several other wholesale grocers, wholesale liquor companies and the Pensacola Cigar and Tobacco Co. The Pensacola Historical Society purchased the building in 1990, renaming it in honor of G. Norman Simons, the society’s deceased curator and well-respected local historian. Voices of Pensacola is scheduled to open to the public on Tuesday, Oct. 7.