The City of Pensacola and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) will host a project kickoff ceremony at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 for the General “Chappie” James Jr. Museum and Flight Academy Project, a public and private partnership in the Eastside Redevelopment Area. This city-owned site is the historic home of America’s first African American Four Star General, Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., and was donated to the city by the James family. The residence, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was constructed in 1909 by Chappie James’ father; Daniel James Sr. and is located at 1608 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The museum will be established and operated by the Chappie James Museum of Pensacola, Inc., a not for profit organization. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) tutoring and youth flight academy workshops will be provided by the Chappie James Youth Flight Academy organization to help prepare community youth for potential careers in the field of aviation.
The museum board is seeking genuine artifacts related to General James’ life and is putting out a call for anyone who would like to record an audio account of their first-hand contacts with General James. Anyone wishing to donate artifacts or record their stories should contact Ross Pristera at the Pensacola Historic Trust at 595-5986, ext. 115.
Help us create a time capsule
In addition to the kickoff ceremony, the project team is inviting members of the community to contribute items representing our current era of military aviation to be included in a time capsule. Items should be brought to the groundbreaking ceremony and will be placed inside the time capsule at the event (as space allows).
The time capsule will become part of the display at the museum and is intended to be opened on or around the 10th Anniversary of the project's completion.
The Chappie James project was identified as a priority project by the Eastside Redevelopment Area Board in 2014. The Eastside Redevelopment Plan was amended the same year to add this project and funding was approved in the Eastside CRA budget.
Project activities include renovations to the 1,000 square foot historic structure to accommodate a museum dedicated to the life and career of General Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr.; constructing an addition for the youth flight academy which will serve as a permanent base of operations for the General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., Youth Flight Academy; and low-impact storm water improvements. Construction began in mid-November and is expected to take approximately fourteen months.