On March 5, 1954, Universal International Pictures released Creature from the Black Lagoon.
The creature emerges from Wakulla Springs, ca. 1953
The film’s plot centered around an Amazonian expedition gone awry when a scientific team encountered the mysterious “Gill Man.” The creature became enamored with a member of the team, played by Julie Adams, and kidnapped her after escaping from the scientists’ grasp.
Film crew with 3-D camera at Wakulla Springs, October 18, 1953
The filmmakers visited Wakulla Springs, south of Tallahassee, while scouting locations for the film. They were introduced to a young FSU student and part-time lifeguard at the springs named Ricou Browning. Director Jack Arnold eventually cast Browning to play the part of the creature during underwater scenes. Browning parlayed this experience into a subsequent career in film and television.
Ricou Browning becoming the creature, Wakulla Springs, ca. 1953
The filmmakers used Florida’s natural beauty again as a backdrop while filming the sequel, Revenge of the Creature (1955). Revenge featured footage shot at Silver Springs, Marineland, and along the St. Johns River. Scenes from the third and final installment in the series, The Creature Walks Among Us (1956), were also filmed in the Sunshine State.
Ginger Stanley in the grip of the creature, Silver Springs, ca. 1955
On March 4, 1824, Governor William P. Duval designated Tallahassee as the capital of the Florida territory.
“View of the City of Tallahassee,” by Norris, Wellge & Company (1885)
The map above, published by Norris, Wellge & Company in 1885, provides a bird’s eye view of the city fifty years after its designation as capital of the Florida territory. According to a census taken in 1825, 996 peopled lived in Leon County. The city’s population at that time probably did not exceed 200.
By 1890, Leon County’s population reached nearly 18,000, while the city limits contained about 2,200 residents. Like many other communities in the late 19th century South, the majority of Tallahassee’s population lived in the rural areas surrounding the city.
Today, the City of Tallahassee is home to almost 182,000 people, with a metropolitan area population of about 375,000.
On March 3, 1845, the United States Congress approved the act establishing statehood for Iowa and Florida. This map shows Florida about the time it entered the Union as the 27th state.
Map of Florida by S. Augustus Mitchell (Philadelphia, ca. 1849)