PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — The National Park Service has designated the City of Pensacola and Escambia County as one of 18 American World War II Heritage Cities.

According to NPS, only one city from each state or territory can be designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as an American World War II Heritage City, making the City of Pensacola and Escambia County the only designee for the State of Florida.

“This designation is a testament to Pensacola’s rich history, and it will open the door for new opportunities to promote our history on a statewide and national level,” Pensacola Mayor D.C. Reeves said. “I look forward to continuing to share our stories as America’s First City, while also looking toward the exciting things to come for Pensacola’s future. Thank you to the staff from the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, and all of our partners who worked hard to achieve this monumental accomplishment for our community.” 

The city said the application for the designation was a joint effort by the City of Pensacola and Escambia County, with support from local elected officials, Naval Air Station Pensacola, Gulf Islands National Seashore, University of West Florida Historic Trust, Florida Department of State Division of Historical Resources and veteran-related groups.

The American World War II Heritage Cities Program honors the contributions of local towns, cities, counties and their citizens who stepped into the workforce to support America’s war effort during World War II, according to NPS.

Pensacola and Escambia County are now featured on the National Park Service website as an American World War II Heritage City, highlighting the area’s military history during World War II. Historical highlights for Pensacola and Escambia include the most dramatic example of increased military presence in Florida during World War II, along with the largest number of Army Air Fields and Naval Air Stations in the state.

All 18 cities chosen are below:

  • East Hartford, Conn. 
  • Pensacola and Escambia counties, Fla. 
  • Savannah and Chatham counties, Ga. 
  • Evansville, In. 
  • Wichita, Ka. 
  • New Orleans, La. 
  • Springfield, Mass. 
  • Pascagoula, Miss. 
  • Lewistown, Ma. 
  • Paterson, N.J. 
  • Los Alamos County, N.M. 
  • Montgomery County (City of Dayton), Ohio 
  • Pittsburgh, Penn. 
  • Oak Ridge, Tenn. 
  • South Texas Bend area and Corpus Christi, Texas 
  • Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and West Richland), Wa. 
  • Manitowoc, Wi. 
  • Casper and Natrona counties, Wyoming