If you’re searching for a relaxing winter getaway with a unique historical flavor, look no further than Florida’s Forgotten Coast. Home to a rich coastal past, Florida’s Forgotten Coast is history buff heaven. Whether you’re a history aficionado or just an inquisitive visitor, there are tons of interesting artifacts and relics for everyone to explore here in Franklin County.
The Forgotten Coast’s fascinating past is reflected in the area’s museums and historic sites. Keep reading to learn about just a handful of these one-of-a-kind venues and destinations:
Apalachicola: A “Distinctive Destination”
Apalachicola is considered a “distinctive destination” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation based on the town’s character, charm and dedication to historic preservation. Once the third largest port on the Gulf of Mexico, Apalachicola echoes with maritime memories and old-fashioned charm.
The town is home to a handful of eye-opening museums, including the John Gorrie Museum State Park. This memorable museum contains a replica of the ice machine created and patented in 1851 by Dr. John Gorrie when he was looking for a way to cool off his yellow fever patients. His brilliant invention ultimately became the basis for the ice industry and air conditioning. The museum also features exhibits documenting the long-standing history of Apalachicola.
Apalachicola also boasts two historic antebellum museums, The Raney House and The Orman House. Both built in 1838, these exquisite homes showcase 19th century furnishings, documents and artifacts, offering a glimpse into Apalachicola life in the 1800s. Overlooking the Apalachicola River, The Orman House was built by Thomas Orman for both business and social gatherings. The Raney House, which was built for cotton commission merchant David Greenway Raney, is a Greek Revival mansion listed on the National Register of Historic Homes.
For a taste of the town’s deep-rooted nautical history, check out the Apalachicola Maritime Museum. Located in downtown Apalachicola, this museum offers a hands-on learning experience with sailing, boat-building, boat restoration and other educational displays. The main attraction is Quark: a 58-foot wooden ketch designed by L. Francis Herreshoff. The Quark has since been renamed the Heritage of Apalachicola to reflect its new mission of education.
If you prefer to take a pleasant stroll through Apalachicola’s past, grab a map for the Historic Apalachicola Walking Tour. More than 900 historic homes and buildings dating back to the 1830s can be seen on this self-guided walking tour. The route includes cotton warehouses, which housed Apalachicola’s cotton export during the 1800s, a sponge exchange, and a number of beautiful Victorian homes. Pick up a map at the Apalachicola Chamber of Commerce & Visitor’s Center or download the map.
Capturing Carrabelle’s Past
Carrabelle also offers some historical gems, including the colorful Carrabelle History Museum. This enlightening museum showcases personal memorabilia and local artifacts, which come together to tell Carrabelle’s story through the perspective of its long-term residents. Here you’ll discover everything from ancient pottery shards and fossils to arrest records, old yearbooks, newspapers and family photos.
For a glimpse into Carrabelle’s military history, visit the Camp Gordon Johnston WWII Museum.
Established in 1942 for the sole purpose of training amphibious soldiers and their support groups. The camp trained more than a quarter of a million men until it closed in June of 1946. Today, visitors can explore the organization’s handicap-accessible facility. Admission is available with a donation.
This is just a small selection of the many historical wonders the Forgotten Coast has to offer. For a full list of historical sites and museums, visit our museums page. Ready to travel back in time with a trip to the Forgotten Coast? Book your accommodations today!