What's Happening in St. Michael's

"Get in the Spriit" April 14, 2012

The University of West Florida and St. Michael’s Cemetery Foundation of Pensacola again present “Get in the Spirit” at historic St. Michael’s Cemetery in downtown Pensacola. This annual event features UWF graduate students sharing their research on the people of Pensacola’s past and the contributions they made to Pensacola’s history. Heritage families are on site to share stories about their families and the contributions they made to Pensacola. The purpose of “Get in the Spirit” is to raise awareness of the conservation and preservation needs of the cemetery. It is free and open to the public.

Participants can access the computerized Geographic Information System (GIS) to find the people of St. Michael’s Cemetery, learn about the cemetery’s changing landscape, watch demonstrations on cemetery conservation techniques and talk with UWF archaeologists, geographers and historians about the cutting-edge technologies used for the remote sensing survey project that mapped the cemetery’s unmarked burials.

Crinum bulbispermum - Jamaica Crinum or Orange River Lily by sisudave.At the 2009 event, for the first time heirloom Jamaica crinum bulbs were harvested from St. Michael’s Cemetery and offered for sale. The St. Michael’s Crinum is associated with tombstones dating from the late 19th Century to the early 20th century. These graceful white and pink lily-like plants have adapted to Pensacola’s sandy soils, are drought tolerant and forgiving. The sale of these heirloom bulbs helped support the ongoing conservation and preservation efforts at the cemetery.

St. Michael’s Cemetery is one of the two oldest cemeteries in Florida. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and is an official project of “Save America’s Treasures,” a historic preservation initiative administered by the National Park Service. A burying ground since the late 18th century, the historic site contains approximately 3,200 marked graves and a substantial number of unmarked graves. The cemetery is located at 6 N. Alcaniz St., in historic downtown Pensacola.