Leon County, Florida Article

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Leon County, Florida
Leon County Courthouse (looking at SW corner).JPG
Leon County Courthouse
Flag of Leon County, Florida
Seal of Leon County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Leon County
Location in the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
FoundedDecember 29, 1824
Named for Juan Ponce de León
Seat Tallahassee
Largest cityTallahassee
 • Total702 sq mi (1,818 km2)
 • Land667 sq mi (1,728 km2)
 • Water35 sq mi (91 km2), 5.0%
Population (est.)
 • ( 2017)290,292 [1]
 • Density435/sq mi (168/km2)
Congressional districts 2nd, 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC−5/ −4
Website www.leoncountyfl.gov

Leon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2017 Census estimates, the population was 290,292. [2] The county seat is Tallahassee, [3] which also serves as the state capital. The county is named after the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León.

Leon County is included in the Tallahassee metropolitan area. Tallahassee is home to two of Florida's major public universities, Florida State University and Florida A&M University.


Originally part of Escambia and later Gadsden County, Leon County was created in 1824. [4] It was named after Juan Ponce de León, the Spanish explorer who was the first European to reach Florida. [5] During the 1850s and 1860s, Leon County was a "cotton kingdom" and ranked fifth of all Florida and Georgia counties in the production of cotton from the 20 major plantations. Unique among Confederate capitals east of the Mississippi River in the American Civil War, Tallahassee was never captured by Union forces, and no Union soldiers set foot in Leon County until Reconstruction.

'0 Plantations of Leon County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 702 square miles (1,820 km2), of which 667 square miles (1,730 km2) are land and 35 square miles (91 km2) (5.0%) are water. [6] Unlike much of Florida, most of Leon County has rolling hills, part of north Florida's Red Hills Region. The highest point is 280 feet (85 m), located in the northern part of the county.

National protected area

Bodies of water

Adjacent counties



Major highways

The sign for Leon County on State Road 20


Geological make-up of Leon County.

Leon County sits atop basement rock composed of basalts of the Triassic and Jurassic from ~251—145 million years ago interlayered with Mesozoic sedimentary rocks. The layers above the basement are carbonate rock created from dying foraminifera, bryozoa, mollusks, and corals from as early as the Paleocene, a period of ~66—55.8 Ma. [8]

During the Eocene (~55.8—33.9 Ma) and Oligocene (~33.9—23 Ma), the Appalachian Mountains began to uplift and the erosion rate increased enough to fill the Gulf Trough with quartz sands, silts, and clays via rivers and streams. The first sedimentation layer in Leon County is the Oligocene Suwannee Limestone in the southeastern part of the county as stated by the United States Geological Survey and Florida Geological Survey. [9]

The Early Miocene (~23.03—15.7 Ma) sedimentation in Leon County is Hawthorn Group, Torreya Formation and St. Marks Formation and found in the northern two-thirds of the county.

The Pliocene (~5.332—2.588 Ma) is represented by the Miccosukee Formation scattered within the Torreya Formation.

Sediments were laid down from the Pleistocene epoch (~2.588 million—12 000 years ago) through Holocene epoch (~12,000—present) and are designated Beach ridge and trail and undifferentiated sediments.

Terraces and shorelines

During the Pleistocene, what would be Leon County emerged and submerged with each glacial and interglacial period. Interglacials created the topography of Leon as it is known now.

Also See Leon County Pleistocene coastal terraces

Also see: Florida Platform and Lithostratigraphy

Geologic formations


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2017290,292 [10]5.4%
U.S. Decennial Census [11]
1790-1960 [12] 1900-1990 [13]
1990-2000 [14] 2010-2015 [2]


As of the census [15] of 2010, there were 275,487 people, and 108,592 households residing in the county. The population density was 413.2 people per square mile (159.5/km²). There were 123,423 housing units at an average density of 185 per square mile (71.4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 63.0% White, 30.3% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 2.2% from two or more races. 5.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.


There were 108,592 households out of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% were married couples living together, 13.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.8% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county, the population was spread out with 20.0% under the age of 18, 26.3% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.57 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.03 males.


The adult citizens of Leon County enjoy the highest level of education in the state of Florida followed by Alachua County with a total of 67.8%.

Level of Education
Level Leon Co. Florida U.S.

Some college or associate degree 28.5% 28.8% 27.4%
Bachelor's Degree 24.0% 14.3% 15.5%
Master's or Ph. D. 17.7% 8.1% 8.9%
Total 70.2% 51.2% 51.8%

Source of above: [16]


The median income for a household in the county was $37,517, and the median income for a family was $52,962. Males had a median income of $35,235 versus $28,110 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,024. About 9.40% of families and 18.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.20% of those under age 18 and 8.20% of those age 65 or over.



Voting trends

Leon County courthouse in Tallahassee; 2007.

Leon County is a traditional blue county and has usually voted Democratic. This is likely due to Florida State University and Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, as well as the concentration of government employees in the capital city.

  • On December 31, 2007 there were 85,546 Democrats and 42,744 Republicans. Other affiliations accounted for 22,284 voters.
  • On March 1, 2009 there were 103,334 Democrats and 48,507 Republicans. Other affiliations accounted for 28,191 voters. [17]
  • As of November 2, 2017 there were 108,281 Democrats and 57,132 Republicans. Other affiliations accounted for 40,375 voters, for a total registered voter population of 205,788. [18]
Presidential elections results
Presidential election results [19]
Year Republican Democratic Other
2016 34.98% 53,821 59.83% 92,068 5.19% 7,992
2012 37.54% 55,805 61.13% 90,881 1.34% 1,985
2008 37.40% 55,705 61.60% 91,747 1.00% 1,483
2004 37.85% 51,615 61.50% 83,873 0.65% 891
2000 37.88% 39,073 59.57% 61,444 2.55% 2,637
1996 36.99% 33,930 54.59% 50,072 8.42% 7,715
1992 32.87% 31,983 49.12% 47,791 18.01% 17,520
1988 51.39% 36,055 47.71% 33,472 0.90% 631
1984 55.00% 36,325 44.94% 29,683 0.06% 38
1980 43.47% 24,919 49.63% 28,450 6.90% 3,957
1976 44.42% 23,739 53.76% 28,729 1.82% 975
1972 63.72% 27,479 36.07% 15,555 0.21% 92
1968 28.49% 9,288 32.02% 10,440 39.50% 12,878
1964 58.15% 15,181 41.85% 10,927
1960 46.53% 9,079 53.47% 10,433
1956 49.30% 6,828 50.70% 7,022
1952 41.19% 5,604 58.81% 8,000
1948 18.65% 1,149 58.55% 3,607 22.80% 1,405
1944 15.64% 835 84.36% 4,505
1940 9.65% 583 90.35% 5,459
1936 6.84% 277 93.16% 3,770
1932 7.87% 252 92.13% 2,950
1928 24.72% 630 74.07% 1,888 1.22% 31
1924 8.29% 92 85.32% 947 6.39% 71
1920 22.97% 452 71.75% 1,412 5.28% 104
1916 16.32% 191 74.79% 875 8.89% 104
1912 8.41% 56 81.98% 546 9.61% 64
1908 14.93% 143 72.86% 698 12.21% 117
1904 11.37% 84 87.82% 649 0.81% 6

Voter turnout

Leon County has had the highest voter turnout of all counties in Florida. For the 2008 general election, Leon County had a record setting early voting and vote by mail with a voter turnout of 85%. [20]

County representation

Leon County Government
Position Name Party

Commissioner, At-Large Nick Maddox Democratic
Commissioner, At-Large Mary Ann Lindley Democratic
Commissioner, Dist. 1 Bill Proctor Democratic
Commissioner, Dist. 2 Jimbo Jackson Democratic
Commissioner, Dist. 3 Rick Minor Democratic
Commissioner, Dist. 4 Bryan Desloge Republican
Commissioner, Dist. 5 Kristen Dozier Democratic
Supervisor of Elections Mark Earley NPA
Tax Collector Doris Maloy Democratic
Property Appraiser Akin Akinyemi Democratic
Court Clerk Gwen Marshall Democratic
Sheriff Walt McNeil Democratic
School Superintendent Rocky Hanna Democratic

Consolidation with Tallahassee

Voters of Leon County have gone to the polls four times to vote on consolidation of Tallahassee and Leon County governments into one jurisdiction [21] combining police and other city services with already shared (consolidated) Tallahassee Fire Department, Tallahassee/Leon County Planning Department, and Leon County Emergency Medical Services. Tallahassee's city limits would (at current size) increase from 98.2 square miles (254 km2) to 702 square miles (1,820 km2). Roughly 36 percent of Leon County's 250,000 residents live outside the Tallahassee city limits.

Leon County Voting On Consolidation

1971 10,381 (41.32%) 14,740 (58.68%)
1973 11,056 (46.23%) 12,859 (53.77%)
1976 20,336 (45.01%) 24,855 (54.99%)
1992 37,062 (39.8%) 56,070 (60.2%)

The proponents of consolidation have stated that the new jurisdiction would attract business by its very size. Merging of governments would cut government waste, duplication of services, etc. However Professor Richard Feiock states that no discernible relationship exists between consolidation and the local economy. [22]

U.S. Congressional representatives

Leon County is split into two congressional districts along racial lines. The northern and eastern portion of Leon County, including 61% of Tallahassee, is located in the 5th Congressional District, a black minority majority district, which is currently represented by Al Lawson ( D). The remainder of the county (the southeastern corner and 39% of Tallahassee),is in the 2nd Congressional District currently represented by Neal Dunn ( R).

State Representatives

Rep. Loranne Ausley ( D), District 9, represents the northern half of Leon County including most of Tallahassee. Rep. Halsey Beshears ( R), District 7, represents the southern portion of the county. Rep. Ramon Alexander ( D), District 8, also represents a west-central portion of the county.

State Senator

All of Leon County is represented by Bill Montford (D) District 3 in the Florida Senate.

Public safety

Leon County Sheriff

The Leon County Sheriff's Office provides police patrol, detective service, court protection, coroner service, and county prison operation for the unincorporated part of Leon County. Fire and Emergency medical services are provided by the Tallahassee Fire Department and Leon County Emergency Medical Services respectively.

Tallahassee Police Department

Tallahassee is the only incorporated municipality within Leon County. Its policing is provided by the Tallahassee Police Department. Established 1826, TPD is recognized as being the third longest accredited law enforcement agency in the country. [23]


Public schools in Leon County are administered and under the operation of the Leon County School District. LCS is operated by a superintendent, 5 board members, and 1 Student Representative. There are:

  • 25 Elementary Schools
  • 10 Middle Schools
  • 7 High Schools
  • 8 Special / Alternative Schools
  • 2 Charter Schools

High schools


Leon County has 7 branches that serve the area.

  • Leroy Collins Main Library
  • Northeast Branch Library
  • Eastside Branch Library
  • Dr. B.L. Perry, Jr. Branch Library
  • Lake Jackson Branch Library
  • Woodville Branch Library
  • Jane G. Sauls Fort Braden Branch Library

The official name of the library system is the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Libraries System. The name was changed on September 17, 1993 from the original name of the Leon County Public Library in honor of LeRoy Collins, the 33rd Governor of Florida. [24]

History of Library Services

The Carnegie Library of Tallahassee provided library services to the black community prior to desegregation. This library was the first and only public library in the city of Tallahassee until 1955. The philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie offered the city of Tallahassee money to build a public library in 1906. According to an article written in Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies, The library was built on the campus of Florida A&M University because the city refused the donation based on the fact that it would have to serve the black citizens. "The facility boasted modern amenities such as electricity, indoor plumbing and water supplied by the city. In later years, the Library served as an art gallery, religious center, and in 1976, became the founding home of the Black Archives Research Center and Museum. By functioning both as a repository for archival records and a museum for historical regalia, the center continues to render academic support to educational institutions, civic, political, religious and Museum. By functioning both as a repository for archival records and a museum for historical regalia, the center continues to render academic support to educational institutions, civic, political, religious and social groups, as well as, public and private businesses throughout Florida and the nation." [25] The building was designed by noted architect William Augustus Edwards and was built in 1908. On November 17, 1978, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The Carnegie Library of Tallahassee which only served the black community became the only free public library in the city until 1955. According to the Leon County Public Library's website, the American Association of University Women formed the Friends of the Library organization in 1954. The formation of the Friends of the Library was in direct response to the fact that "Tallahassee was the only state capital in the United States not offering free public library service." [26] One year later, the library was established in May by legislative action and was developed by citizens and civic groups. In 1956 the first Leon County free public library opened on March 21. The first building used to house the library was The Columns, one of the oldest remaining antebellum homes in the Leon County area located at Park Avenue and Adams street (the building today is home of the James Madison Institute).

In order to expand library services the Junior League of Tallahassee donated a bookmobile to the library. The vehicle was later donated to the Leon County Sherriff's Office to be used as a paddy wagon for its Road Prison. In 1962 the library moved to the old Elks Club building at 127 North Monroe Street. Public transit in the city of Tallahassee was desegregated by 1958, yet it would several more years before the public library system would experience integration.

In the early 70's Jefferson and Wakulla counties joined the Leon County Public Library System, forming the Leon, Jefferson, and Wakulla County Public Library System. According to the library's web site, "Leon County provided administrative and other services to the two smaller counties, while each supported the direct costs of their library services and their share of Leon's administrative costs." [26] In 1975 the system started a branch library in the Bond community, a predominantly black community on the city's Southside. Wakulla County left the library cooperative in 1975 to start its own library system and in 1978 the main library moved to a location in Tallahassee's Northwood Mall. Jefferson County left the library cooperative in 1980 and the library reverted to the Leon County Public Library. In 1989 "ground breaking was held on March 4 for a new $8.5 million main library facility with 88,000 feet of space. The site was next door to the library's original home, The Columns, which had been moved in 1971 to 100 N. Duval." [26] The new library had its grand opening in 1991 and was renamed in 1993 in honor of former Governor LeRoy Collins.

The James Madison Institute (The Columns) first home to Leon County Free Public Library

1908 photo of the Carnegie Library Tallahassee

FAMU's Carnegie Library

1957 Bookmobile donated by the Junior League of Tallahassee Old Elks Club at 127 N. Monroe. Home to the Leon County Public Library in 1962 Photo of the Northwood Centre in Tallahassee circa 1978 Photo of the current LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library. The system's main branch.

Points of interest


Three sites within Leon County have yielded fossil remnants of the Miocene epoch. The article Leon County, Florida paleontological sites includes the Griscom Plantation Site, Seaboard Air Line Railroad Site, and Tallahassee Waterworks Site with fossils by genus and species.



Census-designated place

Other unincorporated communities

Defunct entity

See also


  1. ^ https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/leoncountyflorida/PST045217
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. ^ Publications of the Florida Historical Society. Florida Historical Society. 1908. p. 32.
  5. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 185.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  7. ^ "Tallahassee's airport goes international". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  8. ^ Geology of Florida, University of Florida Archived 2009-12-28 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ USGS Publications, Florida
  10. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  11. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  12. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  13. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  14. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  16. ^ 2000 U.S. Census at EPodunk.com - An examination of all Florida counties
  17. ^ Leon County Supervisor of Elections updated registered voter counter Archived 2014-08-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "Active Registered Voter Data". Leon County Supervisor of Elections. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  19. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  20. ^ Leon County Supervisor of Elections graphic Archived 2014-08-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ "Consolidation of City (Tallahassee) & County (Leon) Government" (PDF). Leon County Supervisor of Elections. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  22. ^ http://www.fsu.edu/~localgov/publication_files/Feiock&Park&Kang_Consolidation_K3.pdf Archived 2007-06-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ TPD web site
  24. ^ "Governor Thomas LeRoy Collins". LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  25. ^ "Carrie Meek - James N. Eaton, Sr. Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum" (PDF). Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies. 10 (2): 263–272. 2017.
  26. ^ a b c Leon County. (2002-2016). Library History. Retrieved April 09, 2018, from Leon County Florida Government: http://cms.leoncountyfl.gov/Library/LibraryInformation/Library-History
  27. ^ Bloxham, Florida. Google Maps. Retrieved 2013-09-04.

External links

Government links/Constitutional offices

Special districts

Judicial branch

Tourism links

LEON COUNTY FLORIDA Latitude and Longitude:

30°28′N 84°17′W / 30.46°N 84.28°W / 30.46; -84.28