Wells In Colonial Pensacola, Florida

Margo S. Stringfield

          Water was a critical resource influencing settlement patterns in Pensacola, Florida during the colonial period. Descriptions of the superior bay system played a major role in the selection of Pensacola as the site for a Spanish foothold on the Gulf Coast in the sixteenth century, and the availability of fresh water influenced the placement of a permanent settlement in the mid-eighteenth century. Because the stream system surrounding the town supplied much of the water for the civilian and military populations, wells (features commonly found in settlements) were not a necessity and, therefore, not relied on for the majority of the water needs of the community. Three wells associated with the British (1763-1781), and Second Spanish (1781-1821) occupations are discussed in this study. Where they were located, how they were constructed, and the analyses of their contents link people and events to the colonial landscape.