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The Council House

The council house served as the city hall, ceremonial center, and lodge for the more than 1500 Apalachee residents at Mission San Luis. Archaeology and reconstruction revealed the Apalachees’ sophisticated knowledge of geometry and their retention of native architectural and material traditions even after three generations of missionization. At 120 feet in diameter, five stories high, and using rafters measuring 72 feet long and weighing more than 1000 pounds each, the reconstruction of the Apalachee council house required lumber from out of state and the largest crane available in Florida.


Excavating a major support post to determine its depth and diameter.

Reconstruction of the council house begins.

Zulus from South Africa used more than 100,000 palm fronds to do the first thatching of the reconstructed council house.

Interior view of the finished structure
that held 2,000 to 3,000 people.

The late Chief Gilmer Bennett of the Apalachee Indians, along with one of his sons and grandchildren, on the chief's bench
inside the council house.

Young students learning about Apalachee lifeways and traditions.