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Smokey Hollow Community lives on: Here's how

Posted at 5:34 PM, Aug 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-18 17:34:40-04
  • Video shows the newly restored Smokey Hollow Barbershop.
  • The barbershop is the remaining piece of the Smokey Hollow Community that used to live here.
  • Symbolizing an African American neighborhood that was displaced in the 60's, the barbershop is now getting statewide recognition.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Preserving a piece of history!

"That is the last evidence of a commercial property that was in Smokey Hollow," said Althemese Barnes.

Off Franklin Boulevard is where a barbershop is the remaining landmark for a community gone but not forgotten. Now, it's earning Tallahassee statewide attention!

"A thriving area with over 80 families there, commercial buildings, three churches and a school," said Barnes.

Althemese Barnes had relatives who used to live in the Smokey Hollow Community. A long-standing African American neighborhood just east of the state capitol that got it's name from, "The train ran right through Smokey Hollow," said Barnes. "I remember when we would visit there and I would hear this rumbling because it ran right by my relative's bedroom."

The community was displaced in the 1960s as more urban construction and government buildings came along. Now, Cascades Park sits in its place.

However, one piece still remains; the Smokey Hollow Barbershop.

"That is the last evidence of a commercial property that was in Smokey Hollow," said Barnes.

Barnes said the barbershop used to be where the Florida Department of Transportation building is now.

With the help of Leon County Government, City of Tallahassee, Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency and Lively Technical Center, they restored the barbershop and put it back in the Smokey Hollow Community.

"We worked with a group of former people who used to live in Smokey Hollow to develop the commemoration to it as well as historians and interested people like the John G Riley Center & Museum," said Calder.

Blueprint Director Autumn Calder tells me she's proud to see the project being widely recognized; winning a statewide historic preservation and restoration award.

"People who live here get excited about their own history and culture," said Calder. "People who live here and people who don't live here see that and they say oh wow what a cool place Tallahassee-Leon County is."

Barnes said the barbershop is just the first step in preserving more history.

"It was a model story and project and as a result we have other trails that have developed," said Barnes.

"It's called the history and culture trail and it's set to celebrate the culture and history of the neighborhoods that are along FAMU Way," said Calder.

With projects like these, Barnes is happy to see that the story of her relatives and the Smokey Hollow Community live on.

"The history of of blacks and African Americans was not really documented very much in color for so long, so this is very important," said Barnes.

The barbershop is open for educational tours upon request with the City's Parks and Recreation department. But you can learn more about the Smokey Hollow Community anytime just steps away at Althemese Barnes park.