In Wednesday’s meeting, the City Commission unanimously voted to add Jake Gaither’s house to the local register of historic places.
The house is currently owned by Cornelius Jones, who has spent more than $100,000 to restore it. Jones bought the house back in 2013 with the intention of reselling. He restored the house once he realized the house belonged to Gaither.
Jake Gaither was the head coach for FAMU’s football team from 1945-1969. During that time, Gaither earned a .844 winning percentage with a 204-36-4 record and has six Black College National Champions as head coach.
Thirty-six players from Gaither's teams were All-Americans, and 42 went on to play in the National Football League. Gaither was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975.
During the meeting, local resident Ronald Williams took to floor to reiterate the importance of the house and the impact Gaither had on the FAMU community, and the nation.
“It is an important historical landmark for the city of Tallahassee, the state of Florida and including the United States of America since Coach Gaither’s influence on his players, students and fellow coaches has been felt all over the nation,” Williams said.
The Gaither House is located at 212 Young St, featuring personal memorabilia belonging to the Gaithers: awards, footballs, photographs, programs and trophies from Gaither’s storied tenure.
Gaither and his wife, Sadie, lived in the house for more than 40 years.
During the summer, Jones was denied a $125,000 state grant by Gov. Rick Scott. Jones would have used the money to make improvements to the house and start a scholarship fund.
Mayor Andrew Gillum shared his gratitude to Jones for all the work he has done to make sure that the Gaither house remains an asset to the community.
“Mr. Jones did an exceptional job on the refurbishing of the old Jake Gaither house and it really is a true asset to this community,” Gillum said.
Jones partners with FAMU students to help run the day-to-day operations of the house. Students training in the Meek-Eaton Black Archives assist with historical research and creating exhibits for the home. Students training in the FAMU School of Business and Industry help operate the facilities management component of the home.