History of Scenic Highway

In the fall of 1995, local residents formed a corridor advocacy group in order to pursue the designation of the “Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway” as a Florida Scenic Highway. The advocacy group worked with the City of Pensacola and Escambia County to document the intrinsic natural, historical, archaeological, recreational, and scenic resources found within the corridor (land adjacent to Scenic Highway from the Highway 90 Bridge over the Escambia River south to the Bayou Texar Bridge). The designation process took almost three years to complete and included the preparation of a corridor management plan (CMP) approved by both the City of Pensacola and Escambia County along with their agreement to include appropriate elements of the CMP in their respective comprehensive plans. The Florida State Scenic Highway Advisory Committee met on April 13, 1998, and voted unanimously to recommend designation of the Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway as the first Florida Scenic Highway in the state.



I     Ancient History – through the year 1559

  • Initial settlement by the Yamassee Indians
  • Fortified settlement in 1559 by the Spanish

II   1560 through the late 1800’s

  • Permanent establishment of Spanish settlement of Pensacola in 1698
  • From the 1820′s to 1860′s brick production at its peak
  • Timber era 1800′s through the 1920′s
  • 1882 establishment of the railroad along Escambia Bay
  • 1883 resort and picnic pavilion built along Magnolia Bluffs

III   Early 1900’s to present time

  • 1929 Scenic Highway paved as a tourist attraction
  • 1973 Scenic Highway designated a “State Scenic Parkway by the State Legislature through the efforts of the Pick-N-Poke Garden Club
  • 1980 James and Patricia Brittman saved a portion of Magnolia Bluffs area from residential development.  The grassroots effort spurred the City of Pensacola and the State of Florida to purchase the land for Bay Bluffs Park
  • 1995 Citizen’s group forms to obtain designation as scenic highway under the new U.S. Department of Transportation National Scenic Highway program
    1996 Scenic Highway Foundation (250 members) incorporated as a 501 (C) (3) organization
  • 1998 Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway dedicated Florida’s First Official Scenic Highway
  • 2001 Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway Master Plan completed