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A lovely brick courtyard separates the west side of the Historic Capitol from the new Capitol with its 22 story central tower, two side domes and two adjoining office buildings. Today, this beautiful courtyard is the scene of many public events.
Originally, Adams Street ran between what is now the Historic Capitol and today’s new Capitol. In the 1800s, just across that street, was the old City Hotel which stood where the House Chamber wing is located today. Known by many names, the City Hotel played an interesting role in the history of the Capitol. In the 1840s, politicians often stayed at the convenient City Hotel during sessions and many political deals were made there. Someone suggested that the owner Thomas Brown should run for office, which he did, becoming Florida’s second Governor. After the Civil War, Lt. Governor Gleason temporarily ran the state government from the City Hotel, claiming to be the official acting Governor.
Later, there were many residential homes located on the same side of Adams Street where the City Hotel once stood. In 1949, these homes were demolished and replaced by Waller Park, which separated the Historic Capitol from the Supreme Court Building. In 1972, construction started in Waller Park for the foundation of the new Capitol. At that time, archeologists found many interesting items relating to the Historic Capitol, some of the residential homes and even back to the old City Hotel.
In the late 1800s, the old Confederate monument was moved to the west side of the Historic Capitol. Monuments and other features help historians indentify the west side from the east side of the Historic Capitol in old photographs. In 1955, the site of the Governors’ inaugurations was moved from the east side of the Historic Capitol to the west side and continued there until 1975. After the new Capitol was finished in 1977, Governor Graham held his second inauguration in the courtyard in 1983 and Governor Martinez’s inauguration in 1987 was also held in the courtyard between the two Capitols.