The Carrabelle History Museum is a project of the local non-profit organization, Carrabelle CARES. It started as an idea of the Carrabelle Waterfront Partnership found in their document, "Charting the Course for the Carrabelle Waterfront: A Vision Plan". It is sponsored by the Carrabelle History Society and the City of Carrabelle with support from the Franklin County Tourist Development Council with a community partnership from the Franklin County Public Library. Our museum is located in the Old Carrabelle City Hall. It opened in April of 2009.
An anchor historical building in the heart of our historical downtown. The museum has 4 rooms to display its collections, a workroom/office for the volunteers to process the incoming artifacts and a nice long hallway for special seasonal displays. The City conducted its business here for 75 years. It was named in honor of the local brick mason who created each block and brick with hand-crafted local materials. It was built in 1933 during the Depression as a work program to employ locals. The structure is a two story brick vernacular style of that period. Mr. Justiss is often called the "Father of Carrabelle" since he built over 119 businesses and homes throughout the 1930's when the town was rebuilt at its current location after being ravaged by storms and fires. We are gradually rehabilitating the building with the help of the City and the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. The building has undergone extensive restorations and the museum plans to expand into the newly refinished upstairs exhibit area very soon.
Carrabelle’s Old City Hall wins a 2020 Florida Preservation Award
One of the most long standing efforts of the Carrabelle Waterfront Partnership over the past 12 years has been the restoration of Carrabelle’s Old City Hall and its reuse as the Carrabelle History Museum. The partnership between the City of Carrabelle and the Carrabelle Historical Society was recognized on Thursday, July 30, 2020 by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation with a 2020 Florida Preservation Award.
These Florida Preservation Awards recognize people, organizations and communities who have worked to protect Florida’s extraordinary history and heritage. The Florida Preservation Award “nominations were made by the public with recipients selected by a jury from around the state representing a variety of backgrounds and experiences” according to the press release from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. “Although we are living in unprecedented times, it was important to us to continue our work recognizing excellence in historic preservation in our state,” said Florida Trust Board President Friederike Mittner. “Thank you to our award winners for all they do for preservation in our state.”
Now home to the Carrabelle History Museum, Carrabelle’s original City Hall was constructed in the1930s Depression Era. “The restoration of this vital part of Carrabelle’s history was and is an important achievement”, says Tamara Allen, Director, Carrabelle Historical Society and Carrabelle History Museum. “The mission of the Carrabelle Historical Society is to preserve the history and culture of Carrabelle and to serve as an inspiration for the future. Rehabilitating the Old City Hall, such a significant anchor in the heart of our historical downtown, is a meaningful part of that mission.”
This project’s success was due to a true cooperative effort of many partners - the Carrabelle Waterfront Partnership, Carrabelle Historical Society, Florida Department of State–Division of Historical Resources, the City of Carrabelle, MLD Architects and Godfrey Builders. According to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, “The project promotes the concept that sustainability of a historic site begins with its ability to engage its community. The Historic Carrabelle City Hall is not only significant for its long-standing association with the history of Florida, but also because of its past and future legacy of a commitment to serve, teach, inspire and support both current and future generations.”