APALACHICOLA,  FLORIDA

By  Mike Miller  Updated November 3, 2021

Apalachicola, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

Apalachicola, Florida is the county seat of Franklin County.  The population of this little town is about 2,500, and it is 80 miles southwest of Tallahassee on the Gulf of Mexico. 

It is located at the mouth of the Apalachicola River on Apalachicola Bay.

Apalachicola, FloridaDowntown Apalachicola Florida

HISTORY OF APALACHICOLA, FLORIDA

The name Apalachicola comes from the tribe of native Americans who inhabited the area thousands of years ago. 

The area was first called Cottonton because of a trading post that handled cotton, one of the agricultural staples of the area before the Civil War.

After that, it became known as West Point, and while Florida was still a territory in 1831 the town received its present name.

Vintage Postcard Apalachicola, FloridaVintage Postcard Apalachicola, Florida

In the pre-Civil War years before the railroad reached the Gulf states, Apalachicola was the third busiest port on the Gulf of Mexico, ranking behind only New Orleans and Mobile.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Greek immigrants established the sponge trade as a leading industry in town.

APALACHICOLA, FLORIDA TODAY

Apalachicola is today still very much a fishing town, with shrimp being the primary offshore catch.

Apalachicola Florida fishing fleetApalachicola Florida Fishing Boats

DEMISE OF APALACHICOLA OYSTER FISHERIES

Until recently, more than 90% of Florida oysters come from Apalachicola Bay. The town hosts the Florida Seafood Festival every year that attracts thousands of seafood lovers.

Today, in 2021, the oyster fishing industry is dead. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to shut down this iconic fishery after years of drought and pollution polluted the wild oyster beds.

It may be several years until the fisheries are reestablished.

Apalachicola River InnApalachicola River Inn

Apalachicola has done a wonderful job of preserving many of its old historic buildings. 

The city has more than 900 historic homes and buildings listed in its extensive National Register District.

Apalachicola ShrimpersApalachicola Shrimpers

Apalachicola has a strong sense of place.

Its vibrant history and rich maritime culture are still very much on display with a working waterfront including shrimp and oyster businesses mingling with gift shops and restaurants in restored historic buildings.

Apalachicola Florida Fishing FloatsApalachicola Florida Fishing Floats

An Apalachicola physician Dr. John Gorrie, discovered the cold-air process of refrigeration and patented an ice machine in 1850.

He was looking for a way to lower the temperatures of fever patients.

His invention became the basis for modern air conditioning. A replica of his ice machine is on display in the John Gorrie Museum.

Franklin County Courthouse, ApalachicolaFranklin County Courthouse, Apalachicola. Photo by Ebyabe.

Apalachicola is also home to the Dixie Theater that has become one of the artistic centers of Franklin County with community theater performances.

The theater building was built in 1912 and fully renovated and reopened in 1998.

Today's Apalachicola is one of the few remaining "Old Florida" places in the modern Sunshine State.

The State of Florida has recognized several Apalachicola landmarks as Heritage Sites.

Up The Creek Raw Bar, ApalachicolaUp The Creek Raw Bar, Apalachicola

APALACHICOLA, FLORIDA HERITAGE SITES

  • Apalachicola Historic District
  • Bald Point State Park
  • Cape St. George Lighthouse
  • Crooked River Lighthouse
  • Fort Gadsden Historic Memorial
  • John Gorrie Museum State Park
  • Ormon House
  • Raney House Museum
  • St. George Island State Park
  • Trinity Episcopal Church
Apalachicola Florida DowntownApalachicola Florida Old Fishing Boat

APALACHICOLA HISTORIC SQUARES PROJECT

An example of this city's dedication to its history is the Apalachicola Historic Squares Project.

A volunteer non-profit group (Historic Apalachicola Foundation) is currently spearheading a project to restore Apalachicola's original rectilinear grid of streets and town squares.


Apalachicola Gibson Inn
Gibson Inn
Photographic Destinations by Bob Kyle

INTERACTIVE MAP OF APALACHICOLA, FLORIDA


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