Endangered Historic Sites

Old Leon Jail, George Firestone Building


Old Leon Co Jail-Firestone Building

Tampa-based architect M. Leo Elliott designed the building and T.A. Monk of Tallahassee was the building contractor. Although additions and alterations to the original structure occurred over time, the building’s Art Deco design is still visible. The flat roof with small coping, and the horizontal grooves over the vestibule give the building its horizontal emphasis. Also accentuating the horizontal lines are the rectangular windows that appear to be continuous around some corners. The concrete walls, originally painted white, were common to the Art Deco style and originally contrasted with black Carrara glass window panes etched with silver aluminum.

Significance of the site: The Leon County Jail is significant architecturally and there are few examples of Art Deco in Tallahassee/Leon County. More important is the association of the building, functioning as the Old Leon County Jail, with the Civil Rights Movement. The Old Leon County Jail is threatened by development pressure. The building was determined to be ineligible for the National Register due to the various alterations and additions and the City of Tallahassee has no current interest in local designation. Therefore, there is no protection or review afforded to the property in the redevelopment process. The City of Tallahassee has issued a request for proposal for the redevelopment of the site, increasing the immediacy of the threat. There is significant community support for the preservation of the Old Leon County Jail, hopefully listing it as one of Florida’s 11 Most Endangered Places will continue to raise awareness about the threat to this significant historic property.