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City seeks further recognition for pioneering Adderley brothers, Gaither Golf Course and Old Lincoln School

Lush green trees reach up to meet clear blue skies at the Jake Gaither Golf Course (April 7, 2022).
Craig Moore
WFSU Public Media
Lush green trees reach up to meet clear blue skies at the Jake Gaither Golf Course (April 7, 2022).

The Jake Gaither Golf Course has been nominated for placement on the National Register of Historic Places and commissioners want to see a similar recognition for the old Lincoln High School.

Wednesday, the Tallahassee City Commission gave the Gaither effort its backing in a formal vote. The space opened in the mid-1950s amid segregation when Black people weren’t allowed to play on other courses.

“To see you preserve something this momentous to the community is honorable. It’s honorable," said local activist Stanley Sims.

Another local landmark with historical and cultural significance is the original Lincoln High School for Black students. It was closed in 1969 during integration. Today, the site houses a state historical marker. Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey is asking city staff to look into adding the original Lincoln to the local and national historic registers.

“I think it's appropriate to ask staff to formally move forward with both of those initiatives,” Dailey said. He said commissioners recently received an email requesting the placement for Lincoln. The structure still stands near the corner of West Brevard Street and Macomb, but it hasn’t been occupied in years, leading to concerns about structural stability. The building is condemned and the cost to save it is in the millions.

“That building, it really should have been torn down by now,” said Commissioner Curtis Richardson in response to a question from Commissioner Diane Williams Cox.

“It’s in terrible condition, it’s even being propped up right now.”

At one point, said Richardson, Eldercare Services was interested in occupying the building due to its location in Frenchtown. but that was years ago, and Richardson says even then, “it was in such horrific condition that I don’t know if it can be used for any other purpose at this point.”

While the historic Lincoln High school may eventually only exist in the form of a marker and memories, the commission is planning more commemorations—this time, to honor the musical legacies of Nathaniel and Cannonball Adderley. Commissioners raised the prospect of either a street naming or potentially naming the Cascades Park Amphitheatre stage after the jazz legends.

The brothers moved to Tallahassee when their parents began teaching at Florida A&M University and later attended FAMU. They performed with Ray Charles and Miles Davis and had long musical careers. The brothers are both buried at Tallahassee's Southside Cemetery.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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