Apalachicola is a charming historic riverside town with a wonderful selection of local seafood and diverse architectural heritage. The area fishing is second to none – with a choice between “deep sea”, bay or river. In Apalachicola, time seems to run at a slower pace… The days just seem to ease by without the worries of the world.
The name Apalachicola means “people on the other side of the water” in the language of the native Creek Indians.
Apalachicola was incorporated in 1831. Shipping was Apalachicola’s big industry and it soon became the third largest port on the Gulf of Mexico. Cotton was exported to the Northeast and to Europe. Manufactured and luxury goods were imported from Europe. France was one of the major trade partners, shipping sizeable volumes of silk and Cognac. By the 1850s, the waterfront was lined with brick warehouses and broad streets to handle the loading and unloading of cotton. Steamboats laden with cotton came down the River and were unloaded. Then small shallow draft schooners moved the cargo to larger ships offshore. The larger ships sailed to Europe and the Northeastern states. In the 1830s, a Consulate of France and a Consulate of Prussia were established.
As the railroads expanded throughout the United States, a new industry took shape in the city. Since the area is home to large cypress forests, Franklin County developed several big lumber mills in the late 1800s. By the end of the 19th century, oysters and seafood became an important industry.
Today, Apalachicola offers lifestyles usually available in much larger cities. Well supplied grocery stores, where vintage port and Champagne Cuvees can be found in the company of smoked salmon, Camembert and rack of lamb. It is also a thriving artists’ community. Restaurants abound, with diverse and talented chefs. Architecture is a daily pleasure to residents. Here, time has a way to flow a bit slower; and time is infused with a unique quality. In short, Apalachicola has a lot of a Key West in the days of Hemingway…
The park was redesigned and improved in the late 1990s. It has become a favorite wedding place. The park has a pier, a gazebo, picnic tables and two children playgrounds. It is located in Apalachicola on Avenue B between 13th and 15th Streets. The gazebo makes a great location for a wedding or other special event. The pier is great for fishing or just to relax watching the sunset into the bay.
Battery Park and the Old City Marina
It features a boat launch, a pier, one of the two city marinas, a park with picnic tables and a playground. Battery Park is located in Apalachicola below the tall bridge crossing the river; on Bay Avenue between Fourth and Sixth Streets. It is also the location of the annual Seafood Festival, held on the first weekend of every November. In earlier days, it was home to batteries protecting the entrance to the River.
Chestnut Street Cemetery
It is one of the more significant cemeteries on the Gulf Coast. Established in 1831, the stones tell the history of Apalachicola. Immigrants buried there were born primarily in Italy, Ireland and Germany. Funerary art reflects the ethnic diversity of the community, religious beliefs and burial customs trade patterns. Located on Highway 98 between 6th and 8th Streets. Around Halloween, each year, an interesting re-enactment of the lives of some of Apalachicola’s long-departed soul blends story-telling and history. Rich tradesmen and even Jesse James will come back to haunt you, should you be bold enough to attend some of these events…
Chapman Botanical Garden
A great place to take a relaxing stroll through canopy walk ways, and to view local flowers. Named after one of the town’s celebrities: Dr. Alvan Chapman. In the early 2000s, the neighboring Vietnam War Memorial Park was integrated into the Botanical Garden, creating a larger setting, ideal for peaceful strolls and meditation.
Built in 1838 by Thomas Orman, the wood for this two-story home was cut to measure near Syracuse, New York. It was then shipped to Apalachicola by sailing vessel around the Florida Keys; then assembled on the bluff overlooking the broad estuary and bay of the Apalachicola River. Legend has it that it was built by a wealthy local merchant for his mistress. Today the house still resonates with a genteel aura and warmth of the past. Before being purchased by the State of Florida to become a museum, it belonged to a local lawyer, Doug Gaidry, and his Austrian wife, Anna.
Apalachicola National Estuary Research Reserve
The Apalachicola National Estuary Research Reserve encompasses over 246,000 acres and is the second largest estuarine research reserve in the United States . Nature trails and bird viewing areas are at the same time breathtaking and fascinating. A more modern center was recently built in Eastpoint, at the foot of the St. George Island bridge, in order to house exhibits, and an aquarium with local fish and turtles.
John Gorrie Museum
Dr. Gorrie was the inventor of the ice machine. His original purpose for to treat his patients suffering from malaria. We know that his invention would be promised to a brilliant future. The museum is located at Sixth Street and Avenue D.
Many churches are worth a visit. Among the ones with historic significance are Trinity (Episcopal) on Sixth Street and Avenue D; St. Patrick (Catholic) on Sixth Street and Avenue C; the Methodist Church on Highway 98 and Fifth Street; and the original Baptist Church on Highway 98 and Eighth Street. Like Prague, Apalachicola could be called the city of hundred steeples, for this little town of 2,700 souls has over twenty churches to fulfill residents’ and visitors’ spiritual needs.