The USS Florida Presentation Silver Collection is among the most impressive of all the objects displayed in the mansion. The complete 47-piece sterling silver service represents an outpouring of public support for our servicemen by the people of Florida. School children of Florida and private donors raised most of the $10,000 needed to commission the service. The dedication ceremony took place in Pensacola, Florida on December 18, 1911. Governor Albert Gilchrist, accompanied by his military staff, reviewed a parade of over 100 marines and soldiers before presenting the silver to Captain Harry W. Knapp, commander of the battleship. In 1930, in compliance with the London Naval Treaty, the USS Florida was decommissioned and eventually scuttled. The silver was returned to the State of Florida in care of the governor and has remained in the mansion ever since.
Most states have battleship silver services which are decorated, such as ours, with the symbols of the history, flora and fauna of their state.
Our silver service was designed and made by the Gorham Company in the "colonial" style and is over 100 years old. The various pieces include the seals of the United States Navy and the State of Florida. Each piece was carefully crafted to accentuate motifs of Florida. You will notice alligators, oranges and seashells in abundance! The largest piece of the collection is a 12-gallon punch bowl.