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Room 119E Election 2000 Audio Transcript

The exhibits in this room are about the Election 2000 controversy. The Historic Capitol was at the epicenter of the events happening in Tallahassee. While watching history literally take place around them, historians at the Historic Capitol went out and collected the signs and banners that now make up the large wall mural. Also in the exhibit you can see one of the infamous butterfly ballots. We were the first museum in the world to put one on exhibit. Also on display is a voting machine from Palm Beach County, some t-shirts from the period, most with political sayings and some period newspapers. A short video highlights some of the important events surrounding the controversy as the United States stood still for six-weeks waiting the outcome of “Election 2000.” An interesting side note about the news coverage during that time is that reporters preferred to film interviews and reports in front of the Historic Capitol, rather than filming in front of the new Capitol building. Reporters and camera men even went so far as to erect flood lights on the Historic Capitol for better camera lighting, even though the building had no actual significance in the election process itself.

When you enter this room from the Supreme Court Chamber, inside the wall on your left is the original 1845 exterior wall. Part of the 1902 Capitol expansion, this room was an office for one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of Florida. One of those Justices was Charles B. Parkhill. As a child he moved with his family to Florida in the 1820s. His father, a wealthy Leon County plantation owner, died in the Civil War. There is also a monument on the front lawn of the Historic Capitol that is a memorial to one of Parkhill’s ancestors who was killed in 1857, in the Third Seminole War. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Charles Parkhill practiced law in Florida, and served as a State Senator and then Circuit Court Judge. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1905, serving until 1911. He died in 1933, in Tampa, Florida. Justice Parkhill once recounted the time when as a young boy watching his father prosecute a case, a fight broke out in the courtroom. Young Charles joined in and when later admonished by the judge he responded, “Your Honor, if any one beats up on my Pappy, I’m gonna beat up on him.”