Gulf Transit Company Office Building FL

L & N Marine Terminal Building, Pensacola Florida
Date added: February 04, 2024 Categories: Florida Train Station Office Building Louisville and Nashville Railroad

The Gulf Transit Company office building or the Louisville and Nashville Marine Terminal, as it is also known, served as the focal point for the L & N's export trade during the peak years before World War I. This two-story office building recalls the days of Pensacola's peak in the Gulf trade as well as of the company that constructed it, one of the leaders in that trade.

Pensacola's importance as an import/export center expanded during the nineteenth century. With the growth of the railroad network outward from Pensacola, the community came to serve as a regional trading center. Coal from Alabama, lumber from Florida and Alabama, as well as other commodities, were shipped from the port of Pensacola.

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad, the major rail carrier in the region, made a bid to enter the export trade in the Gulf of Mexico area. The Gulf Transit Company, chartered in 1895, was essentially owned and operated by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company. The Gulf Transit Company concentrated on the Pan-American trade and ports of call were primarily in the Caribbean area. Itineraries for the company's two steel screw steamers, the August Belmont and the E. O. SALTMARSH, expanded to include stops in Liverpool, Genoa, Venice, Antwerp, Havre, Bayonne, and Manchester.

The Gulf Transit Company and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad commissioned construction of a new office building in 1902. Engineers for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad designed the building; A. V. Clubbs, a Pensacola contractor, bid $11,500.00 and won the construction contract. The Louisville and Nashville Marine Terminal has stood as a reminder of Pensacola's prominence in the Gulf trade.

Building Description

When the Louisville and Nashville Railroad planned to construct a new office building on Commendencia Street Wharf in 1902 the local newspaper gave this report:

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company has in contemplation a project for erecting a magnificent two-story office building to be used chiefly by the Gulf Transit will be fitted with offices for the wharf master, stevedores, foremen, tally men, clerks, and if fact, all the employees needed to carry on the export business of the L & N.

The building will be of wood...with a slate roof, and will cost $10,000 to erect....
(Daily News, Pensacola, Florida, April 3rd, 1902)

The plans for this "magnificent" structure were drawn up by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad's chief engineer; the contractor was Alexander V. Clubbs of Pensacola. The building was constructed of wood and included many modern features: electric lighting, heat by stoves, and indoor plumbing. The grey-green terminal building opened in October 1903. The terminal is an impressive example of commercial architecture from the early twentieth century.

The Historic Pensacola Preservation Board gained possession of the building in 1969. The structure had to be moved from its original site, which is along the waterfront. Before this move, the structure remained substantially unchanged: no additions to the structure had been made, the facade had been altered only to provide an outside stairway to the second floor, even the interior configuration of the rooms and offices were untouched.

L & N Marine Terminal Building, Pensacola Florida (1940)

L & N Marine Terminal Building, Pensacola Florida (1910)

L & N Marine Terminal Building, Pensacola Florida Looking across Main Street (1971)
Looking across Main Street (1971)

L & N Marine Terminal Building, Pensacola Florida (1968)

L & N Marine Terminal Building, Pensacola Florida Looking northeast (1968)
Looking northeast (1968)

L & N Marine Terminal Building, Pensacola Florida (1972)