Collections & Exhibits

This exhibit space tells the story of Carrabelle’s earliest history from prehistoric to Carrabelle’s boom time. Some of our most fascinating, local artifacts are housed here including our Native People's exhibit; a diorama of the local skirmish during the Civil War created by one of our talented artists, Fred Aman; a large, original Civil War-era salt kettle; the founding of the Town of Carrabelle; the history of the railroad in Carrabelle; the actual surveying equipment used to produce the 1957 map of the City of Carrabelle; and fossils like sharks' teeth and ancient oyster shells.

Especially of note in this room is our growing collection of artifacts from Carrabelle’s “first people” who lived here over two thousand years ago. The Apalachee tribes were a prehistoric people who had many villages along the shore of St. George Sound and all the local rivers in those times. Their Council House and Temple Mound was located in the Tallahassee area near Lake Jackson. Over 40,000 members of the tribal family lived between the Apalachicola and Aucilla Rivers. Archaeologists have found evidence of villages, middens (garbage piles) and burial grounds within the city limits of Carrabelle and several others in the area. Carrabelle is thought by some to have been an important trade port during that time, as it was after the Civil War, because of its natural deep water port at the confluence of three rivers.

This room features many photos of Carrabelle families and artifacts actually used by “Miss Ruth” Varner, “Miss Janie” Brown and other local treasures. One of the highlights of this room is the photos of families from the pioneer days to the present. Photos, scrapbooks, and genealogy records about many of Carrabelle’s families. A butter churn, an icebox and an old wash board are reminiscent of earlier times when home life was hard without modern inventions.

The Carrabelle High School exhibit highlights high school sports trophies across the decades, starting from the 1930s, including football and girls’ basketball. Vintage cheerleader outfits, letter sweaters, stadium cushions, band jackets and cafeteria trays show the transition from Carrabelle Mullets to Green Devils and finally the Panthers. High school yearbooks, school team and activity photos, and school portraits are featured as well.

Also displayed in this room are iconic Carrabelle businesses from years past including Burda’s Drug Store, Julia Mae’s, and White Kitchen Café to name a few. Photos, menus, a large commercial mixer, old Coca-Cola bottles bottled in Apalachicola, a vintage cash register, a slot machine, and more are filled with nostalgia for the beloved restaurants and shops.

Here we find a room filled with artifacts and photos of various industries such as seafood, logging, naval stores, mechanics and gas stations that have supported the economy of Carrabelle through the years. Highlights in this room include a shrimp net with a turtle excluder, oyster tongs, handmade nets, sponge diving helmet, and oars. Interesting equipment from Jackson's Standard Station, Ganders Hardware and Bragdon's Garage each have a story. Milton Cox's cat face cutter was use to get the rosin out of pine trees to make naval stores such as turpentine, tar and pitch.

This exhibit is filled with items and photographs of the people, places and events important to the residents of Carrabelle. We have items such as the medical bag of the beloved midwife "Miss Tillie" Miller. Local heroes are highlighted, like famous baseball icon, John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil. Buck was a famous first baseman and manager for the Kansas City Monarchs, was one of the first black scouts in Major League Baseball, and was the first black coach in the Major Leagues with the Chicago Cubs.

A special display pays tribute to several local men who served, some of whom also sacrificed, in our country’s Armed Forces. The exhibit honors several men from Carrabelle who served in the military representing WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

In addition, the original "World's Smallest Police Station", featured on The Today Show, Ripley's Believe It or Not, and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, can be found here.

The SS Tarpon was a huge steam-powered cargo and passenger ship that traveled from Mobile, AL to Carrabelle, FL every week in the early 1900s. It sank on September 2, 1937 during one of her weekly voyages. At the time of her sinking, this 160-ft steam ship had made the journey every week for over 30 years - over 1,500 voyages - with the same captain, Captain Willis G. Barrow. This exhibit shares the harrowing story that cost at least 18 people their lives, and the heroic efforts of a crewman, whose bravery and determination saved many others.




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