"America's First Christmas" may help Tallahassee bring in tourism dollars

Tallahassee officials hope "America's First Christmas" pays off
Posted at 5:40 PM, Jan 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-30 13:24:21-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) --  While it's already the end of January, the holiday season is big money.

Local leaders think they have a way to cash in all year round.

Back in 1539 Archaeologist believe Spanish conquerer Hernando DeSoto was in Tallahassee on Christmas day. Making it "America's First Christmas."

Bert Pope is trying to make the come to life. Pope says, "This site here is an undiscovered gem of Florida history and of the nation."

Bert Pope believes this undiscovered gem near Myers Park is the perfect place  for people to come visit.

Bert Pope says, "I'm passionate about trying to bring that to fruition to create a tourist friendly facility here to share with the world."

So at a legistlative dialogue meeting a group will try to figure out the best way to get money from the state legistlature.

Their plan, to turn the area into a place where tourist come and celebrate "America's First Christmas"

Rick Minor with the City of Tallahassee says, "Just think about we could have here. Church congregations and pastors coming from across the nation travelling coming here to celebrate Christmas where it was first observed. They will stay in our hotels, eat in restaurants and making a strong contribution to the local economy."

When he came to Florida to establish a colony, Hernando DeSoto never knew his story would be used to help generate tourist dollars in Tallahassee.