THE ESCAMBIA COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR'S OFFICE
Right next to the Escambia County Courthouse is the Escambia County Tax Collector's Office. This old Victorian relic was built in 1894 and once housed a bank for most of the 20th Century. The bank was run by a gentleman named Mr. R who had complete control of the daily goings on of the bank and its clients. Mr. R was the only one who counted the tellers' money tills and had complete say in who would get loans. Many of the tellers prefered to count their own tills, but Mr. R had control of that and the tellers accepted this.
Mr. R was the bank manager for a long time and died in 1984. A year later, a customer came into the bank for a loan and filled out the application needed for the loan and would be notified if his loan application was accepted or not. It is said that when the time came to review the customer's loan, a huge gust of wind came and blew the papers around. It turned out this customer was a bad credit risk and his loan application was turned down. The bank employees felt that the spirit of Mr. R was in the building and was still reading loan applications and said that this customer was a credit risk and showed his disapproval by blowing his application around the bank offices.
After Mr. R's death, many tellers at the bank would complain about their tills being counted and moved around and thought Mr. R was still counting tills. Eventually the bank closed down and became the Escambia County Tax Collector's Office and continues to be today. Inside one can see the beautiful Victorian architecture and huge stained glass windows that are located high above the main room.
THE ESCAMBIA COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS BUILDING
Next door to the Tax Collector's Office is the Escambia County Board of Elections Building. Today it houses the building where most of us citizens of Escambia County cast our early votes for President and other political goings on in the area. But in the early 20th Century, the building housed a fine men's clothing store run by a man named Mr. White, who was beloved by his five employees and the city of Pensacola.
However, Mr. White saw the best in even the criminals of Pensacola and hired a man named William Williams, who had spent time in jail for drunkeness and theft. Suits and money kept disappearing from the store, and even with the other workers complaining to Mr. White about Mr. Williams being seen at some of the brothels and bars in Pensacola wearing about $175 in clothing at once, Mr. White refused to fire Mr. Williams. Finally one day Mr. Williams showed up at work one day really drunk and Mr. White was about to fire him. But Mr. Williams had a gun and shot his boss to death and when three other co-workers ran into the office to see what happened, Williams shot them, too. Two died instantly while one died at the hospital later. Williams was arrested and confessed to the murders of his boss and co-workers and apologized in tears when he sobered up. After a lengthy trial, Mr. Williams was convicted of the four murders and sentenced to life in prison where he died of old age. Stories go of William Williams' ghost lurking through the Board of Elections many nights.
Both the Escambia County Tax Collector's Office and the Board of Elections are open for business Monday-Friday from 8-5. If you want to check out the buildings during business hours, do so discreetly and not disturb the daily goings-on. Just look for the white building with the lion statue on the second floor and the black marble building next door.