Avenue B: The Place to See

Carrabelle History Museum hosts Avenue B: The Place to See
Cultural, Educational, Historical & Natural Expo

The Carrabelle History Museum is excited to again be hosting a fun, historical, cultural and natural resources expo on Avenue B as part of the 31st Annual Carrabelle Riverfront Festival. This exhibitor’s expo will be held on Saturday, April 23, from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm on the street in front of the Carrabelle History Museum in Carrabelle, FL. Natural resource experts, regional history exhibits, live animals, educational activities and displays, plus Florida folk musician, Frank Lindamood, will be featured. Admission is free and open to the public. This popular avenue full of family-friendly activities is made possible through a sponsorship by Coastal Cottage Living in Carrabelle. Admission is free and open to the public.

Visitors will have the opportunity to get up and personal with some animals like “Stormy” the alligator and “Sadie” a diamondback terrapin turtle native to the Carrabelle coasts from 11 am–2 pm with Jerry Walls, a professional naturalist. Jerry will also have several other local native animals such as a king snake and a beautiful red rat snake also known as a corn snake. Periodically, one of the animals will be brought out to safely touch and feel. Only from 11 am–2 pm! While on Avenue B guests can also learn about the area’s diverse marine life from FSU Coastal and Marine Lab and see shark jaws, coral, and more. Families can also learn about animals like Echo, a Sulcata tortoise (also known as an African spurred tortoise) from Florida Wild Mammal Association.

In addition, natural resource specialists will be on hand to share information about area’s native resident and migrating birds, fire education, our state forests, Master Gardener Program, and the wonderful natural resources of our area’s state parks. Plus this year, Franklin County 4-H will be sharing current projects including their youth archery program.

There will also be many opportunities to discover fascinating regional history. Festival goers can learn what life was like in as a pioneer in the Florida Panhandle between the 1820s and the 1940s; about the sawmills of Franklin County; the unique, historical architecture in Carrabelle’s very own downtown; how Carrabelle was transformed into a WWII training camp including a WWII military vehicle; and about the pre-Historic Native peoples and the early settlers who lived right here on the Carrabelle Harbor. Plus enjoy the sounds of Florida Folk Music from the one and only Frank Lindamood from 11 am – 1 pm in front of the Carrabelle History Museum.

All this and more can be found within the Avenue B experience. Free and fun for all. Hosted by the Carrabelle History Museum as part of the Carrabelle Riverfront Festival. Generously sponsored by Coastal Cottage Living. Funding in part by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council and the Carrabelle Community Redevelopment Agency. For more information, contact the Carrabelle History Museum at 850-697-2141 or carrabellehistorymuseum@gmail.com.

Special Exhibit: “Carrabelle in the 1930’s”

Ferry between Apalachicola and Carrabelle. 1930s (circa). Owned and operated by Captain A. L. Wing.

Ferry between Apalachicola and Carrabelle. 1930s (circa). Owned and operated by Captain A. L. Wing.

The Carrabelle History Museum is excited to announce a special exhibit on “Carrabelle in the 1930’s” will be opening on Sunday, May 1 and be on display through Saturday, May 28, 2022. There is no charge for admission but donations are gladly accepted. The museum and exhibit are open Wednesdays 12-5 pm, Thursdays thru Saturdays 10 am – 5 pm and Sundays 12 – 5 pm.

All month long, the Carrabelle History Museum will be celebrating the anniversary of the original opening of the now historic City Hall Building, which currently houses the Carrabelle History Museum. Carrabelle’s Historic City Hall first opened to the public on May 2, 1938. This building was the result of a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project and was described at the time of its construction as “one of the finest buildings in the state for a city of this size.” The structure is a two story brick vernacular style of that period. Carrabelle’s original City Hall was constructed by Marvin N. Justiss, a local mason of note who is said to have built half of Carrabelle. Mr. Justiss hand made the concrete blocks in wooden forms. Each one weighs over 60 pounds.

In addition, this exhibit will also explore what Carrabelle and Franklin County were like during that era. Fun, cultural highlights will be shared as well as serious items of note happening in the world to provide context to 1930s Carrabelle. Visitors are invited to come to the museum to learn about Captain Wing’s ferry between Carrabelle and Apalachicola, the opening of the first bridge across the Apalachicola Bay connecting Carrabelle to Apalachicola by road, and the sinking of the Steamship Tarpon. This was the era of steamships, ferries, brand new bridges, and big band swing and jazz music, all the while the Nazis were already consolidating power and World War II was brewing.

This exhibit will consist of a newly restored original jail cell door, a display on the construction methods of the City Hall building, historic photos of Franklin County from the 1930s, historical newspaper articles, plus artifacts and music from the 1930s.


2022 Carrabelle Culture Crawl

Art, Music, Heritage, Fun!

The Carrabelle History Museum hosted the Carrabelle Culture Crawl on Saturday, March 19, 2022. This annual event is a free celebration of amazing local culture, art, music, history, food, and fun in the heart of downtown Carrabelle. It's a wonderful opportunity to have fun as you experience the wonderful local culture that Carrabelle has to offer. 

Live music outdoors to the streets of Carrabelle included a variety of Florida folk music, classic country, modern songs, and favorite oldies. Musicians like Frank Lindamood, Lewis Christie (with his keyboard), and Kevin Andrew and the Rockulla Performers, and other young talent performed.

This year, delicious food offerings were a highlight. A variety of Carrabelle’s local restaurants served up signature special items in honor of the Crawl, most at a wonderful promotional price including fresh-caught fish with a twist, an unmatched seafood gumbo from a secret recipe, award-winning crab cakes and much more. 

Art was a main feature at the Carrabelle Culture Crawl with local artists painting “plein air” allowing visitors to see the creative process is action. The Carrabelle Artist Association hosted a fun activity for families making and decorating fans out a variety of materials. In addition, the always popular public art drawing and coloring activity will be hung in storefront windows. There was art to view at a variety of shops and galleries including a special art showcase at The Gallery at Rio Carrabelle. Visitors spotted fun, costumed characters from the Fishy Fashion Show wandering the streets. These walking photo ops are a fan-favorite at the Crawl. And many enjoyed seeing Carrabelle’s newest public art, a stunning building-sized mural!

Returning again this year was a Carrabelle Scavenger Hunt. For each of location, a clue was provided. Each participant received a small prize just for playing. The Scavenger Hunt is a great way to learn fun facts about Carrabelle’s history you may have never know. Guests started at the Carrabelle History Museum, SE 106 Avenue B, Carrabelle, FL and walked to as many of the wonderful locations as they wanted.

ALSO AT THE CRAWL:

  • Many Crawl patrons learned about the culture, natural resources, and local history of the area by visiting the exhibitors on Avenue B.
  • Florida Public Archaeology Network was there with information on Florida’s fascinating archaeological heritage.
  • People found out how Carrabelle was transformed into a training camp during WWII at the Camp Gordon Johnston WWII Museum booth.
  • We learned about Carrabelle’s rich nautical history at the Crooked River Lighthouse display.
  • Ken Horne showed how he uses native plants to manufacture string and cordage.
  • Moonlight, the Great Horned Owl, an ambassador from the Florida Wild Mammal Association graciously attended.
  • Participants went on a foraging walk around central Carrabelle with the Native Plant Society, and learned about local plant species that were utilized by local Native American tribes and early Florida settlers.
  • Plus, retired Florida State Park Services Specialist, Bonnie Allen, joined the Crawl to show artifacts from and discuss Franklin County’s last turpentine camp.
  • George Weymouth, who has worked at Wakulla Springs, Florida State Museum of Natural and History, and Tate’s Hell State Forest, shared his knowledge and collection of archaeological finds.

For more information, contact the Carrabelle History Museum at 850-697-2141 or carrabellehistorymuseum@gmail.com. The Carrabelle Culture Crawl was founded by the Economic Development Team of the Carrabelle Waterfront Partnership. A big thank you to the sponsors of the Crawl: Carrabelle CARES, Centennial Bank, Celeda & Lewis Christie, City of Carrabelle CRA, Coastal Cottage Living, Coastal Realty Group, Duke Energy, Marian Morris, and Rio Carrabelle. Funding in part by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council.

A huge heartfelt thank you to those who volunteered for the Carrabelle History Museum during the Carrabelle Culture Crawl!! This event would not have happened without your hard work and assistance.
• Bonnie Allen
• Tamara Allen
• Kevin Andrew
• Celeda Christie
• Lewis Christie
• Mark Collins with HI Photography
• Carole Cooper
• Perry Cox
• Greg Daniels
• George Finn
• Rod Gasche
• Vicki Harris
• Lisa Keith-Lucas
• Tim Keith-Lucas
• Cliff Land
• Lydia Long
• Joan Matey
• Phoebe McFarlin
• Marian Morris
• Kathleen Oman
• Kathy Swaggerty
• Carol Zuraka
• Jennifer Bowers, Carol Cox, Jeanne and David Dale, Tom Goodwin, Joan Matey, Geri Mueller-Savell, and Rodney Reeves for being part of costumed "Fishy Fashion" characters
• Franklin’s Promise - Conservation Corps of the Forgotten and Emerald Coasts Crew


In-Kind Sponsors & Event Partners of the Carrabelle Culture Crawl

They provided free or discounted services or goods.
Thank you so these wonderful In-Kind Sponsors:
• Celeda Christie (for donating the ice cream gift certificates for the Scavenger Hunt participants)
Lost Treasure Vintage Art Gallery (who designed and printed of the fabulous restaurant map)
Plus our fabulous Restaurant Partners:
Carrabelle Junction
Fathom's Steam Room and Raw Bar
The Fisherman's Wife Carrabelle
Forgotten Coast Barbeque
Marine Street Grill
Seafood Shack
Sopchoppy Pizza Company
A Taste of Korea, Carrabelle
Two Brothers - Dockside

 

We also want to express our appreciation to a few of our In-Kind Sponsors of the Carrabelle Culture Crawl. These individuals and businesses donated or discounted services or goods to the Crawl to help make it a success. And we could not have done it without them!

First we want to thank the folks that brought us fabulous live music and entertainment.
• Kevin Andrew and the ROCKULLA MUSIC Performers
• Lewis Christie
• Frank Lindamood
• Jack Zurawka
Please say an extra thank you to Kevin Andrew for running sound all day during the Crawl and Lewis Christie for helping with coordinating all the music for the Crawl.

We also want to give a big thanks to Joan Matey for bringing us some of her fabulous characters from FISHY FASHION SHOW.
And last but definitely NOT least, we want to show our appreciation to these generous venues.
• Marine Street Grill for hosting most of the Crawl musicians
• Rio Carrabelle for providing live music during the Crawl as well as hosting the work of additional local artists during the Crawl.

We also want to say a big thank you to Millender’s Seafood for their generosity in supporting this year's Carrabelle Culture Crawl and the Carrabelle History Museum. They not only allowed us use of their green space along Marine Street for the Cast net demo but when bad weather threatened the success of the whole event, they opened the doors (literally) and allowed use of their building on Marine Street to house 4 exhibitors and activities. Their generosity was a crucial part in the ability to hold this year's Carrabelle Culture Crawl!
Millender’s Seafood has been a part of the business community of Carrabelle since 1942 when Braxton Millender originally opened Millender & Sons Seafood. The business is still family owned, now going on four generations, and is owned by Braxton’s great grandsons, David and Stephen Millender.

We want to thank another sponsor, Mayor Brenda La Paz and Greg Kristofferson.

C. C. Land Turpentine Camp

Spring 2022 Exhibit

The Carrabelle History Museum is excited to announce a new special exhibit on “C. C. Land Turpentine Camp”.  This exhibit will be on display from Wednesday, March 2 through Saturday, April 30. There is no charge for admission but donations are gladly accepted. The museum and exhibit are open Wednesdays 12-5 pm, Thursdays thru Saturdays 10 am – 5 pm and Sundays 12 – 5 pm.

Clifford C. Land, known as C. C. Land, founded turpentine operations in Tate’s Hell in the 1930s, starting at High Bluff and moving to Greenpoint, between Eastpoint and Carrabelle. Turpentine camp workers needed exceptional strength to wield the heavy hand tools and had to master skillful techniques to maximize the amount of sap they could get from a pine tree without destroying it. C.C. kept the company going until wage labor laws made it no longer feasible, and this was the last operating turpentine camp in Franklin County. In the late 1940s, the business converted to logging and cattle raising.

The exhibit shows the difficult process of gathering sap and distilling it into resin with many photos, artifacts, letters and documents from the C. C. Land Turpentine Company. An impressive array of tools unique to the turpentine trade and old hand-made wood and tin tool carriers are on display. There are bark hacks, scrapers, axes, odd-shaped galvanized buckets from the late 1930s and a collection of different types of pots and trays used to collect the pine sap. The historic photos of the camp workers on the job reflect their skill and strength and illustrates the challenges of this long-ago profession. Aluminum tokens, known as scrip used for purchases at the camp commissary are also part of the display, as well as samples of the many medicinal products made from pine derivatives.

This amazing collection of authentic artifacts is on loan from Bonnie Allen, granddaughter of Clifford C. Land and retired Park Services Specialist. She will be at the Carrabelle History Museum on Saturday, March 19 from 10 am – 3 pm to further interpret her collection and discuss the turpentine industry in Franklin County. Bonnie Allen is from Apalachicola and worked with the Florida Park Service for over 35 years, at St. George Island State Park, St. Andrews State Park, and most recently with Tallahassee-St. Marks Area Parks.


Funding in part by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council.

 

Talking Turpentine

SPECIAL PRESENTATION

History of the Turpentine Industry in North Florida

The Carrabelle History Museum presented a new educational program entitled, “History of the Turpentine Industry in North Florida” featuring Barbara Clark, Director of the North Central Region for Florida Public Archaeology (FPAN). The program was held on Saturday, February 12, 2022, from 10 am - 12 pm in the upstairs room at C-Quarters Marina, 501 St. James Ave (Hwy 98), Carrabelle, FL.

Guests to this sold out event learned about the turpentine and naval stores industry in Florida and the impacts it had on Florida’s history and our local area’s economy. The presentation included the beginnings of the industry in the Southeast, through the convict leasing program during Reconstruction, and insights into causes that led to the end of the industry in Florida.

Barbara Clark is a Registered Professional Archaeologist who specializes in historic archaeology of the 19th and early 20th century. Her interests include the turpentine and lumber industry, specifically focusing on the social aspects of "camp life".


Programs are sponsored by C-Quarters Marina, Sunset Isle RV Resort and Shaun Donahoe Realty with promotional funding provided by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council.

Shipwrecks of Dog Island

SPECIAL PRESENTATION

The Carrabelle History Museum presented a fascinating history program about the Shipwrecks of Dog Island on Saturday, January 15, 2021. This program explored Dog Island’s rich maritime history, and especially focused on those shipwrecks that resulted from the Category 5 direct hit, the “Carrabelle Hurricane” in 1899. In prehistory, Dog Island was used as a campground by Paleo-Indians. It served as a safe harbor for European explorers and smugglers and later for fishermen and lumber tradesmen. Dog Island served as an amphibious training site during World War II. Most recently, Hurricane Michael uncovered parts of two ships that were shipwrecked during the 1899 event.

Chuck Meide is a maritime archaeologist and the Director of Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) for over 15 years. LAMP is a program by the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum to conduct research and maritime archaeology in St. Augustine and the State of Florida. Chuck has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Anthropology with a focus in underwater archaeology from Florida State University and has undertaken Ph.D. studies in Historical Archaeology at the College of William and Mary.


Sponsored by C-Quarters Marina, Sunset Isle RV Resort and Shaun Donahoe Realty. Funding in part by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council.

Right On Time: Buck O’Neil and Black Baseball

SPECIAL PRESENTATION

The Carrabelle History Museum presented a fascinating history program entitled, “Right On Time: Buck O’Neil and Black Baseball”. This program featured author, Wes Singletary and baseball aficionado, Josh Weaver and was held Saturday, November 20, 2021.

John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil was born in Carrabelle, FL on November 13, 1911. He became a famous first baseman and manager for the Kansas City Monarchs, a Negro Leagues team. In 1956 he joined the Chicago Cubs as one of the first African-American scouts in Major League Baseball. Then the first African-American coach in the Major Leagues in 1962. Buck also founded the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.

 


ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Wes Singletary is the author of numerous books and articles including ones on John Henry "Pop" Lloyd, Al Lopez, the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords, and Apalachicola native Jimmy Bloodworth. A USAF veteran, Wes earned a Ph.D. in history from Florida State University, and is currently AP United States History Professor at Lawton Chiles High School. He has taught as an adjunct history professor at Tallahassee Community College for 27 years.

Joshua Weaver's passion is baseball. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Joshua’s profession is social work, but dreams of becoming a baseball historian. He has authored the children's book, A Visit to Oriole Park at Camden Yards with the Orioles Mascot. Joshua has traveled to all 30 active Major League Ballparks. He has visited several baseball museums around the county including National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The museums all feature exhibits on Buck O'Neil. He is currently assisting in the expansion of the museum's Buck O'Neil exhibit.


Sponsored by C-Quarters Marina and Shaun Donahoe Realty. Funding in part by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council.

Sponge Diving in Carrabelle and the North Gulf Coast of Florida



There is no charge for admission but donations are gladly accepted. The museum and exhibit are open Wednesdays 12-5 pm, Thursdays thru Saturdays 10 am – 5 pm and Sundays 12 – 5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Carrabelle History Museum is located, one block from Carrabelle Harbor, at 106 SE Avenue B, Carrabelle, FL.  For more information, contact 850-697-2141.

Funded in part by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council.

The museum is honored to be the recipient of a welcome surprise of the loan of a fascinating artifact for the exhibit. A turn-of-the-century Greek sponge diving suit complete with helmet and weight belt has been loaned to the museum and is a fabulous addition to the sponge diving exhibit. The Sponge Diving exhibit also includes a recently donated authentic, brass sponge diving helmet used by a former local diver as well as a diorama of the sponge docks, early images and historical photos of Carrabelle’s sponge boats and local sponge divers plus a fascinating video of sponge diving.

After the sponge industry in Greece collapsed in the late 1800s, Greek divers brought their practices to Florida and created an extremely lucrative industry. Apalachicola, Tarpon Springs, and Key West emerged as top sponge trade ports. By 1900, Apalachicola was home to two sponge warehouses and employed around 100 men. Carrabelle developed a large sponge fleet of its own during that time. “By 1879, Carrabelle had the largest sponge fleet in Florida next to Key West”, according to David Shubow in the Tequesta: The Journal of the Historical Association of Southern Florida.

Small sailboats embarked on month-long harvesting trips in the northern Gulf. Each vessel carried several small dinghies. A pair of men worked each dingy with one man rowing as the other looked for sponges using a glass viewing box pressed against the surface of the water.

The arrival of diving technology in the early 1900s, the diving suit, brought more efficiency to harvesting. The diving suit enabled the men to walk along the sea floor to more quickly harvest sponges. By around the 1930s a combination of overharvesting, blight, and the invention of synthetic sponges led to the depletion of the sponge industry which virtually closed in this area at that time. In recent years sponge harvesting has made a bit of a comeback and locally-sourced sponges can once again be found in Franklin County.

Florida’s tough, soft sponges were considered to be some of the best in the world. Sponges from the northern Gulf were denser than other Florida sponges because of the colder water. Many of them were harvested just off of Dog Island.

Eventually “new” diving technology revolutionized the industry. Heavy brass helmets, diving suits, and weights – weighted belts and lead in the shoes would enable divers to walk along the sea floor. They would breathe through a long tube connected to the boat above. While this enabled divers to stay down longer and harvest more sponges it was also much more dangerous.

This exhibit will explore the history of sponge diving in Carrabelle and the area. Come and learn about the migration of Greek sponge divers to and from Carrabelle. This exhibit will include history photos of Carrabelle sponge boats and local sponge divers, an old, brass sponge diving helmet and more.

World’s Smallest Police Station

SMALL BUT MIGHTY

In 1947, Albin Westberg became Police Chief and the only day policeman in Carrabelle. He and his night officers had to protect the citizens, answer calls, pump water for the tugboats at the City Dock, catch speeders on US 98 (old 319) and tend to all prisoners in the jail at City Hall. They needed help. In 1953 the phone company installed a phone in call box bolted to the wall of the building on the northeast corner of Tallahassee Street and the Highway. The officers could answer the calls while out walking the beat. Then they began to have problems with folks making unauthorized long distance calls on the police phone. The vandals loved to mess it up, too.

Johnnie Mirabella, St. Joe Telephone and Telegraph's lone Carrabelle employee at the time, first tried moving the call box to another building, but the illegal calls continued. He also noticed the policeman would get drenched while answering phone calls in the rain. So when his company decided to replace a worn out phone booth with a new one, he decided to solve both problems at once by putting the police phone in the old booth.

On March 10, 1963, Mirabella and Westberg, with the help of Deputy Sherriff Wilburn “Curly” Messer, moved the phone booth to its current site on U.S. 98 under the chinaberry tree. The Chief hired a man to do the lettering to mark it as the City of Carrabelle Police Station. It worked well and increased the efficiency of the two man police force. They could park the patrol car in the shade, do required paperwork, listen for the phone while watching for speeders and other suspicious characters. The booth did protect the officers from the elements, but some people still snuck into it to make long distance calls. Eventually the dial was removed from the phone, making it impossible for folks to call out. It continued to serve the police of Carrabelle for decades.

Sarah Purcell, the host of the television shows “Real People,” was visiting her father and discovered it. She had to feature it on the show in 1991 where they dubbed it as the “World’s Smallest Police Station.” Later that year Johnny Carson had a lively interview with then Carrabelle Police Chief Jessie Gordon Smith on the “Tonight Show.” It has been featured on other television shows, " That’s Amazing,” "Ripley's Believe It or Not", "The Today Show” and in the movie "Tate's Hell".

Collections & Exhibits

NEW EXHIBIT NOW OPEN IN UPSTAIRS GALLERY

The Carrabelle History Museum is excited to announce the opening of a new exhibit, “Shipwrecks of Dog Island”. 

This exhibit explores Dog Island’s rich maritime history, and especially focuses on those shipwrecks that resulted from the direct hit of the 1899 “Carrabelle Hurricane” through amazing photographs. Dog Island was a safe harbor for European explorers, smugglers, fishermen and lumbermen. In 2018, Hurricane Michael uncovered parts of two ships that were wrecked during the 1899 event. Learn why these ships were visiting Carrabelle and which of our exports they took back to Europe.

An original video featuring expert underwater archaeologist Chuck Meide describes the process of identifying the sunken ships. It informs visitors about what to do when they come across an artifact on public land whether that's a piece of a shipwreck, an arrowhead, or a piece of pottery.  READ ABOUT OPENING DAY HERE.

This exhibit was funded in part as a heritage education project by the Florida Department of State, Division of Historic Preservation and the State of Florida.

This exhibit, created by curator Joan Matey, is the first to be installed in the museum’s refurbished upstairs. Please note that the upstairs currently can only be accessed by stairs and is therefore temporarily not accessible to those with mobility issues. An elevator has been funded through a grant and through dedicated fundraising efforts and will be installed by next summer. A special video program will also make it possible to learn about the Shipwrecks of Dog Island exhibit from downstairs to accommodate all visitors during this transition period.