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Treasured past

Cascades is home to a number of culturally and architecturally signifiant structures, each with its own story to tell.

Former Leon County Health Unit

Built by the WPA in 1939 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2018, the former Leon County Health Unit was the first of its kind in the state. The Health Unit employed an interracial staff who provided a variety of health care services for residents, including many residents of the nearby Smokey Hollow neighborhood – one of the city’s most important African American enclaves. Beyond symbolizing a new progressive influence on public health, the building’s architecture reflects the Art Moderne style, a style that is nearly extinct from the fabric of Tallahassee.

The building was abandoned and left to decay for decades before being brought back to life by North American Properties (NAP) in 2019. Updates included a new roof, repairs to interior damages, refurbishment of the original flooring, new windows that closely match the original style, and new paint inside and out. Select interior walls and wood trusses were left exposed to showcase the craftsmanship, character, and beauty of the building’s original state. 

The space now serves as an interim construction office for NAP staff, but it will ultimately be leased to an office or retail tenant.

Old City Waterworks

Established in 1890 by Philadelphia-based American Pipe and Manufacturing Company, the Waterworks building served as the city’s first municipally owned water system. According to its National Register nomination, the building is “significant as the remnant of ‘modern’ civil engineering improvements implemented in Tallahassee during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. It is a visible symbol of the concern and sense of civic responsibility exhibited by many municipal governments of that period.”

North American Properties (NAP) purchased the abandoned building in 2018 and is working with the Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation to explore possibilities for refurbishment. 

Listed on both the Local and National Registers of Historic Places, the restoration of the Waterworks building will complete Tallahassee’s Four Corners of History, which meet at the intersection of East Gaines and South Gadsden Streets and include the Waterworks building, the Historic Caroline Brevard Grammar School, the former Leon County Health Unit and a future community-envisioned historical plaza commemorating the important events of the local Civil Rights Movement.

The Edison

Built in 1921, The Edison originally served as the city’s power and light plant until closing in 1952. In 2015, developers adapted the building for reuse as a restaurant replete with exposed brick and industrial finishes. A community favorite for local, fresh-from-Florida fare, The Edison offers a lively and inviting atmosphere with ample outdoor seating overlooking Cascades Park.

Caroline Brevard School

The Caroline Brevard School was built in 1925 to accommodate Tallahassee’s growing number of school-ahead children. Renamed by the state in 1966, the “Bloxham Building” today serves as offices for the Leon County School System. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in December 1987.