Jan. 10, 2023
City of Pensacola to Conduct Study of Burial Ground at Miraflores Park
As a result of research following the discovery of human remains at Miraflores Park in June 2021, the City of Pensacola will be conducting a burial ground study of the park’s grounds with a goal of assessing, interpreting and commemorating the site.
The human remains were discovered by a local Boy Scout troop in the crawl space underneath the Boy Scout Building at the park. Local authorities were contacted including the Pensacola Police Department, the District 1 Medical Examiner’s Office, biological anthropologists from the University of West Florida as well as the Florida State Historic Preservation Office and the State Archaeologist. The field investigation indicated that the human remains were associated with historic fill and originated from a historic, disturbed grave context. They were likely disturbed during the construction of the Boy Scout Building in 1934.
Biological anthropologists from the University of West Florida conducted a skeletal analysis that indicated there were two individuals present, one female and likely one male. It has also been determined that the jurisdiction of leading the study of the burial ground is the City of Pensacola.
The investigation determined that the remains are older than 75 years, meaning they are not from a modern, forensic case. Ancestry is difficult to determine with partial skeletal remains but features of the female individual suggest there are traits that align with the various known populations in historic Pensacola such as African, Creole, and European.
Mayor D.C. Reeves has announced the creation of a Community Advisory Group to assist the City of Pensacola in the assessment and future commemoration of Miraflores Park. The City of Pensacola will be working with the Community Advisory Group, partners and community stakeholders as the study moves forward and research continues at the site.
Miraflores Park was originally known as Havana Square before being renamed in 1965 as part of Pensacola’s Fiesta of Five Flags celebration. Ongoing historic research has identified multiple historic documents including newspaper articles, meeting minutes, legal records, and a map indicating that Havana Square was used as a burial ground primarily for people of African American or Creole descent.
Moving forward, historic research will continue, along with assembling the Community Advisory Group and exploring options to conduct a ground penetrating radar survey. The noninvasive ground penetrating radar survey will help to determine if other potential burials are present and delineate the boundaries of the potential burial ground for future preservation and protection.
The Community Advisory Group will be tasked with gathering feedback from the community on how they would like to see the park interpreted and commemorated, 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.
Mayor Reeves will announce members of the Advisory Group next week.
Updates about the Miraflores Park Burial Ground Study will be posted on the City of Pensacola's website at cityofpensacola.com/miraflores (webpage link will go live the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 10).