Miraflores Burial Ground Study
In June 2021, human remains of two individuals were discovered by a local Boy Scout troop in the crawl space underneath the Boy Scout Building at Miraflores Park. Local authorities were contacted and a field investigation revealed that the remains were older than 75 years, meaning they were not from a modern, forensic case. A skeletal analysis conducted by University of West Florida biological anthropologists indicated that one individual is female and the other is likely male. Ongoing research has identified multiple historic documents including newspaper articles, meeting minutes, legal records, and a map indicating that Havana Square was used as an African American or Creole burial ground during the 19th century. In historic Pensacola, Creole refers to an individual that is of European, namely Spanish or French, and African descent.
Mayor D.C. Reeves appointed a Community Advisory Group to assist the City of Pensacola in the assessment, interpretation, and commemoration of Miraflores Park. The group is tasked with gathering feedback from the community and to help generate ideas for eventual reinternment of the two individuals. This group will hold public meetings, with opportunities for public input and engagement throughout the process.
The Advisory Group is seeking the community's input on the Miraflores Burial Ground Study. Please click the image below to complete the Citizen Input Form. All feedback is welcome and appreciated.
If you would prefer to share your input via phone, a dedicated phone line has been established at 850-435-1836 for you to call and leave a message about the Miraflores Burial Ground Study. Feel free to share stories, personal connections to Miraflores Park, or just general input about the study.
The City of Pensacola has been selected to receive a $22,160 grant from the National Park Service to fund a ground penetrating radar survey at Miraflores Park. The grant funds will also assist the city with on-site interpretation of the survey results and archival research.
This grant award is part of $21 million awarded by the National Park Service to 37 projects in 16 states through the Historic Preservation Fund's African American Civil Rights grant program, which funds preservation projects and efforts of sites tied to the struggle of African Americans to gain equal rights.
TerraXplorations, Inc. conducted a historic human remains detection dog survey (HHRDD) and a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey of the park Monday, November 27 through Wednesday, November 29. The public was invited on Wednesday, November 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to learn more about geophysical survey techniques and the Miraflores Burial Ground Study. The HHRDD and GPR surveys indicated multiple lines of evidence for unmarked historic burials within the park. TerraXplorations, Inc. will provide a full report to the city in the next 30-45 days and we look forward to sharing results with the public. A Community Advisory Group meeting will be scheduled in early 2024 to discuss the results.
For more information about the Miraflores Burial Ground Study, view this ArcGIS StoryMap.
For more information about the history of land ownership in and around the park, view this Miraflores Land Ownership pdf presentation by Jennifer Melcher, RPA, UWF Archaeology Institute Faculty Research Associate.
Pensacola Energy conducting exploratory Ground Penetrating Radar data collection
Community Advisory Group Members:
- Barbara Albrecht, Coastal Communities Coordinator for the University of West Florida, Director of the Panhandle Watershed Alliance
- Teniadé Broughton, District 5 City Council Member, President of the John Sunday Society
- Rand Hicks, Parks and Recreation Board Chairman
- Angela Kyle, Vice President of Sustainability Business Development at JLL, Mayoral Transition Team Focus Area Leader for Strategic Planning
- Michelle MacNeil, Principal at Architectural Affairs
- Allison Patton, District 6 City Council Member
- Margo Stringfield, Research Associate and Historic Cemeteries Specialist for the University of West Florida Archaeology Institute
- Bianca Villegas, Planning Board Member
- Lonnie Wesley, Pastor of Greater Little Rock Baptist Church, Mayoral Transition Team Focus Area Leader for Citizen Engagement
- Dr. Lusharon Wiley, Vice President of Corporate Culture at Innisfree Hotels, Mayoral Transition Team Focus Area Leader for Employee Engagement and Culture
Thank you to the following agencies and departments:
- Pensacola Police Department
- District 1 Medical Examiner's Office
- University of West Florida Anthropology Department
- Florida Division of Historical Resources
- State Archaeologist
- University of West Florida Archaeology Institute
- University of West Florida Historic Trust
- Florida Public Archaeology Network