The Smokey Hollow Historic American Landscapes Survey was undertaken during the winter of 2014 to commemorate and remember the African American community of Smokey Hollow. This HALS project began through informal discussions by a diverse civic group of Tallahassee citizens concerned about appropriate ways to honor the people and the places of Smokey Hollow.
Smokey Hollow came into existence within sight of the Florida state capitol following the Civil War and the emancipation of slavery, when Jim Crow laws compelled African Americans to live in racially segregated enclaves. The Great Depression was marked by population growth in Smokey Hollow and crowded conditions, as hardships brought rural people into the community for economic opportunity and seeking the help of family and friends. A vibrant community offered churches, grocery stores and juke joints, as well as laundries, auto-repair, barber and beauty shops. The demise of Smokey Hollow began in the late 1950s, with the construction of Apalachee Parkway through the community, and was completed in the early 1960s as the State Capitol Complex master plan implemented “slum clearance” through urban renewal to expand government offices and parking. The project destroyed the community, forcing the residents to vacate their homes. By 1965, most of Smokey Hollow had been condemned.
More information on Smokey Hollow’s history and the efforts to document it can be found in this article from the Fall 2015 edition of The Alliance Review.