Pensacola in Escambia County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
The Life and Legacy of T. T. Wentworth, Jr.
“I Never Throwed Nothin’ Away”
The Early Life of T. T. Wentworth, Jr.
Theodore Thomas Wentworth Jr. was born July 26, 1898, in Mobile, Alabama, to Elizabeth Goodloe and T. T. Wentworth, Sr. In 1900, the Wentworth family moved to Pensacola.
Young Tom helped supplement the family’s income by selling newspapers on Pensacola’s streets and working as a telegraph messenger and office boy. At age 12, he managed his father’s grocery store. At age 16, he started his own bicycle repair business, which soon expanded into a bicycle sales and sporting goods store.
A Successful Run for Office
In 1920, at age 22, Wentworth, Jr. ran for office as Escambia County Commissioner, District 1. After winning the election, he became the youngest county commissioner ever elected in Florida. From 1928-1940, Wentworth, Jr. served as Escambia County Tax Collector.
During the 1920s, Wentworth, Jr. set up exhibits from his collection of historical items in the shop windows of his bicycle store. In 1933, he became one of the original incorporators of the Pensacola Historical Society.
Real Estate Ventures
In 1945, Wentworth, Jr. ventured into real estate, and the property-appraising skills he had acquired as tax collector contributed to his success. In 1960, he was named Realtor
Beginning in 1936, Wentworth, Jr delivered weekly talks over local radio station WCOA, and published articles, columns, magazines, and pamphlets filled with historical photos and documents. He teamed up with local artist and journalist Walter Overton to feature some of his museum items in Overton’s Southland Sketches.
The First Wentworth Museum
On April 7, 1957, the T. T. Wentworth, Jr. museum opened to the public in Ensley, just north of Pensacola.
Through the years, the museum expanded twice to hold the ever-increasing collection. In 1983, Wentworth, Jr donated his 150,000-item collection to the State of Florida. It was the largest historical collection ever donated by a private individual, and was valued at several million dollars. He signed it over on two conditions-that his collection be housed in a permanent location and remain in Escambia County.
Giving Back to Wentworth
The city of Pensacola donated the old City Hall Building, built in 1907, to be used as the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum. In 1988, at age 90, T. T. Wentworth, Jr. cut the ribbon, even as his health was failing. Less than a year later, ten days before his 91st birthday, Wentworth, Jr. passed away. He left his beloved Pensacola the gift of a lifetime
Erected by University of West Florida.
Location. 30° 24.517′ N, 87° 12.8′ W. Marker is in Pensacola, Florida, in Escambia County. Marker is at the intersection of South Jefferson Street and East Zarragossa Street, on the left when traveling south on South Jefferson Street. Click for map. Located in front of the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 330 S Jefferson St, Pensacola FL 32502, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gateway to Florida’s History (a few steps from this marker); Colonial Pensacola - Archaeology Brings History to Life (a few steps from this marker); Gen. Andrew Jackson (within shouting distance of this marker); The End of the Colonial Era in Florida (within shouting distance of this marker); William Dudley Chipley (within shouting distance of this marker); The Commanding Officer's Compound (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Pensacola Opera House (within shouting distance of this marker); John Wesley Hardin (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Pensacola.
Also see . . . Historic Pensacola. University of West Florida (Submitted on December 1, 2015.)
Categories. • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 134 times since then and 73 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on , by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.