Reprint of an Ocala Banner editorial opposing removal of the State Capitol from Tallahassee, 1900

Reprint of an Ocala Banner editorial opposing removal of the State Capitol from Tallahassee, 1900


[left column]

(From the Ocala Banner, Sept. 26, 1900)
Why all this Capital Hurrah?
The Capitol Building is as Suitable for
its Purposes as our Court House.--
Very Much Opposed to Removal.

To the Editor of the Banner:

All of us admire the hustler,
whether it be the individual, town,
county, State or nation; but to get
and merit our full admiration the
hustling must be done upon a common
sense business basis.
We can admire the courage exhibited
in the most harum-scarum
wildcat enterprises imaginable, just as
Mark Twain once said of the western
male buffalo that place himself
upon the railroad track to contest the
right of way with the first locomotive
he had ever seen. He, Twain,
admired his courage, but censured
his (d-d) judgment.
Since the Democratic State Convention
met in Jacksonville and
passed resolutions permitting the removal
of the State Capital from its
present site - Tallahassee - upon certain
conditions, there has been a
great deal of commotion, agitation
and hustling by certain towns in favor
of removing the Capital from Tallahassee
and securing the seeming
prize. Now, is this hip, hurrah, hustling
done for the best business and
financial interest of the State at
large? I mean for the masses. I
think not.
The press of the State is stirred
from centre to circumference, but as
yet the people outside of the towns
interested are not the least bit agitated,
and can't see just where they,
individually or collectively, are going
to be benefited by this masterly effort
and scheme, set on foot by the
politicians and jobbers, which will, if
carried through, increase the taxation
of the already overburdened, toiling
masses. It is unnecessary, and would
certainly be a costly job.
When I say this would be an unnecessary
and costly job I speak advisedly.
A short time ago I visited our
State Capitol building, and, from my
point of view, saw nothing wrong
whatever with the building. It was
well located, built upon the old style
architecture, plain, substantial and
strong. The halls were large and
airy; executive rooms well furnished

[middle column]
with comfortable soft-bottom chairs,
sofas, etc. The halls, or legislative
rooms, had all the comforts and conveniences
that were in any way necessary
for the latest, up-to-date business
man to have. The offices have
fire proof safes and vaults in which
to store all public documents. The
only thing that is claimed to be
needed about this building is a few
more committee rooms. These committee
rooms would be used, for only
two months every two years.
The last Legislature had a bill up
before it for some time authorizing
the appropriation of funds for the
purpose of adding the supposed necessary
rooms and making any necessary
repairs. This bill was voted
down, by the influence and work of
representatives such as Mr. Clark,
who went to Tallahassee to work for
the interest of corporations like
Jacksonville, and not for the good of
the laboring classes.
The least estimate that I have
heard placed upon the cost to the
State for the removal of the Capital
is one and one-fourth million of dollars.
This is the conservative figures.
The fact is none of the advocates
of removal will mention the
matter of cost of building unless
forced to do so. All will figure
down to a fine point the cost of our
legislators' railroad fare to Tallahassee
once every two years-(a mere
bagatelle) - but as to cost of building,
etc., they are particularly chary.
Why? They know that when the
average tax-payer sees these figures
and realize that it will cost the State
more to build the new Capitol than
the present indebtedness of the
State, no vote will be gotten from
the tax-payer, sanctioning and saddling
an additional amount of taxation
upon himself. The same spirit
and motives in the State are behind
this removal of Capital that ever and
anon prompts some foreman of our
county grand jury to demand a new
court house as an actual necessity
for Marion county.
Our present court house may
need, from time to time, some slight
repairs, in way of roof painting, etc.,
and probably does need a small safe
room in which to store our public
records, but, in a general way, the
building itself is adequate for all
county purposes.

[right column]

Our State Capitol building is in
every way just as well suited for the
State purposes as the court house is
for our county uses. Both buildings
are, with repairs mentioned above
good for at least fifty years yet.
Then, why, should the majority of
tax-payers voluntarily shoulder an
additional burden for the benefit of
some other town in the State, in
which they are in no way particularly
interested? The majority of the
taxpayers in the State would be affected
adversely by the removal of
the Capital, because should the Capital
be removed, only one place can
get it. Say, for the sake of argument,
that the lucky place be Ocala.
How are the majority of the counties
in the State to be benefited by this
change to Ocala? Arguments that
have been presented in favor of
Ocala, such as healthfulness, saving
of legislators' railroad fees, etc., have
all been claimed by the other contesting
points. Then what have
nine-tenths of the tax-payers gained
by the removal of the Capital to
Ocala? Absolutely nothing. But,
on the contrary, they have assumed
an indebtedness that will take at
least one generation to liquidate.
Now, bring this matter home to
our Marion county people. Suppose
Jacksonville or Gainesville should
outbid Ocala for the Capital site,
then what! Are we, as a people,
benefitted [sic] in any way?
Even if the place that might get
the Capital would agree to pay the
cost of removal in toto, should we
take the Capital from Tallahassee?
This is no grudge or spite work.
Should neither of the competing
points agree to assume the total cost
of removal (and they will not) then
we tax payers would certainly be out
a good sized amount, that we would
not be, if the Capital remains where
it is.
Some conservative party who figured
that the removal would cost
only one and one-fourth million dollars,
says we can pay this amount
very easily in thirty years by collecting
each year eighty thousand dollars
from the "prosperous" State of Florida-
forty thousand to be paid each
year as interest and forty thousand


State Library of Florida: Florida Collection, BR0049


A reprint of letter to the Editor of the Ocala Banner from E. L. Chaney favoring the State Capital to remain in Tallahassee rather than moving it to Ocala, Florida.