Pensacola, Florida
Early 1900s
Home of the F.C. Brent family

The Blount and Brent buildings - looking down Palafox Street with the 7-story Blount Building on the corner of Palafox and Garden Street and the Brent Building behind the Blount Building, about 1907 - 1910. These two buildings were part of what was known as the Brent Block. The block bordered by Palafox, Garden, Baylen and Romana Streets was developed by F.C. Brent, who, along with his brothers, Danny Gonzalez Brent and Robert William Brent, managed, over several years, to acquire the separate pieces of property that made up the block, although F.C. Brent was the purchaser of most of the properties. The purchases took place between 1874 and 1905. The brothers were involved in the banking and lumber business. William A. Blount Sr. was a lawyer and he had his offices in the Blount Building.

F.C. Brent retired from his position of president of the First National Bank in early 1905. His wife, Mary Ella, had developed cancer and F.C. most likely needed to spend more time with his family as well as devote himself to all his real estate holdings. On the 1st of November 1905 one of the buildings in the Brent Block caught fire in the middle of the night - The Great Halloween Night Fire - and despite the best efforts of the fire fighters and concerned citizens, most of the block was totally destroyed.

Work began soon after to replace the buildings - the Blount Building now became a 7-story building and the Brent Building, 3 stories high, stretched down the street behind the Blount Building. After F.C.'s death in 1914, the Brent Block remained in a trust controlled by the Brent heirs until the late 1970s. By this time much of the downtown business had moved to a new mall in another part of town and trying to upgrade the buildings with air conditioning, new elevators, etc., was more than the family could afford. In 1980 it was sold to Crawford Rainwater and partners, doing business as Durnford Enterprises.

As I write this page, in 2016, the Brent Block has been sold to the Switzer family and is undergoing restoration. Known as One Palafox Place, the property will be developed with retail, offices and apartments. The Switzer brothers are the sons of Robert I. Brent, one of the youngest sons of F.C. Brent.

The San Carlos Hotel, on the corner of Palafox and Garden Streets, across from the Blount Building. This photo, looking north down Palafox Street, was taken on 3 September 1911. The caption says, "the start." This referred to the beginning of an automobile trip by Dr. S.R. Mallory Kennedy, F.C. "Tino" Brent, the son of F.C. Brent, A.M. Avery Jr. and Frank L. Mayes, the owner and editor of the Pensacola Journal, which would take them from Pensacola to Chicago, Illinois, on an 1149-mile "pathfinding" trip. The purpose of the trip, among other things, was to publicize Pensacola as a tourist destination. Two more photos of the car and travelers are below.

The Speedwell automobile which was headed to Chicago with three of the men aboard. Tino Brent, son of F.C. Brent, is sitting in the back. The Speedwell automobile was produced from 1907 to 1915 in Dayton, Ohio.

The Speedwell with two of the group heading to Chicago from Pensacola in 1911.

The San Carlos Hotel, built in Pensacola in 1910. The hotel was on the corner of Garden and Palafox Streets, across from the Blount Building. If the photograph continued on the left, the Blount Building would be in the picture. The business at the far left reads Chas. A. Born, Plumber on the sign between the two upper windows. This building was next to the Blount Building.

Looking down Palafox Street, undated photo.

Related Links
Francis Celestino Brent
Children of F.C. Brent and Mary Ella Shuttleworth
Thomas William Brent, father of F.C. Brent

Photographs from old albums passed down in the family.

Anne Healy's Genealogy, Created October 2002
Photographs and web page content,Copyright 2002-, Anne Field, all rights reserved.
Please feel free to link to my web page. For permission to use any pictures or content on my web pages, please email me at

3 Feb 2017
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