Between the Bayous: The Maritime Cultural Landscape of the Downtown Pensacola Waterfront

Kendra Ann Kennedy

          From 1740 to 1940, the downtown Pensacola waterfront between Bayou Chico on the west and Bayou Texar on the east changed dramatically. The small Spanish colonial outpost of Panzacola was transferred to the British, back to the Spanish, and finally to the United States. During the American period, the port became a major shipping entrepôt, but declined in the mid-20th century as local natural resources, like lumber and red snapper, became depleted. This study examines the history and archaeology of the Pensacola waterfront within a maritime cultural landscape (MCL) framework as defined by Westerdahl (1992). A social theory perspective, based on the work of Bourdieu (1977) and Giddens (1984), addresses questions of power, authority, practice, human agency, and resistance. The resistance and agency of sailors and other maritime workers, such as stevedores and baymen, is examined alongside the power and authority of local officials and businessmen, including timber merchants and fish house managers. The final two chapters—the first chapter a case study of the investigation of two seemingly prosaic ballast rock piles (8ES3366 and 8ES3367) on the waterfront—demonstrate how the tense interplay between employer and worker produced a waterfront that still resonates in the MCL of modern Pensacola.

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