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Group formed to keep history of Firestone, Bloxham buildings

from Tallahassee Democrat

Rev. H Steele at Firestone

Ashley White, Democrat staff writer

The Firestone building looks much different than it did when it was the Leon County Jail. But the memories still struck Rev. Henry Steele as he walked through the building Friday. He still remembers exactly where he slept on the floor when he was jailed at the age of 16 for participating in Tallahassee lunch counter sit-ins in 1958.

Steele is one of 12 community members – educators, historians and other Civil Rights leaders – chosen Friday to be part of the Community Historical User Group, which will help preserve the history of the Firestone and Bloxham buildings.

The site is being developed by North American Properties into a $158-million mixed-use project. The Community Historical User Group is being led by NAP with assistance from the Tallahassee Community Redevelopment Agency, will determine the historical and architectural significance of the buildings that stand on two blocks at East Gaines and South Gadsden streets near Cascades Park.

“We believe we’ll be able to keep a portion of these buildings,” Shawn McIntyre, the NAP Florida partner, said. “But we’re also going to work very hard to honor everything that took place here.”

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