Historic Sites

Historic Bank Building in Marianna

Historic stone building with tall columns built in 1902.

Cape San Blas Lighthouse at pond Cap San Blas Lighthouse

The Cape San Blas Lighthouse was built more than 130 years ago when Congress appropriated $8,000 to erect the original structure. It was designed to guide vessels around the shoals running out from the Cape using the sole beacon that could be seen for up to 10 miles offshore.

Rich with history, including an attack by Union Troops in 1862, the structure has survived a series of blows from storms, winds and high surf throughout the years. Mother Nature continued her own onslaught and Tropical Storm Isaac reclaimed the remaining shoreline forcing the lighthouse to close temporarily in 2012.

In honor of its historic and iconic presence, the City of Port St. Joe successfully moved the lighthouse to its protective shores on St. Joseph Bay to preserve and maintain the beloved structure.

On July 15, 2014, hundreds of people watched as the Lighthouse, its two Keepers’ Quarters and Oil House made its journey into Port St. Joe. The convoy, which was over 900 feet long and two lanes wide, was moved from the Gulf shores of Cape San Blas to its new location. The choreographed moving process took an entire day and required multiple power lines and a traffic light to be moved to accommodate the convoy on their safe journey. Locals and visitors alike were applauding with relief and pride as it came to its final stop in George Core Park. Hundreds gathered once again on July 24 to observe the Lighthouse as it was erected onto its new platform.

On the weekend of September 12, 2014, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the 18th Annual Florida Scallop & Music Festival, 249 climbers came out to be the first to take in the new breathtaking viewpoint of St. Joseph Bay from the top of the historic Lighthouse.

The Lighthouse Gift Shop is currently located adjacent to the Welcome Center and the historic Maddox Park overlooking St. Joseph Bay. Housed with souvenirs that honor the Cape San Blas Lighthouse, visitors can also see antiquities from the Keepers’ Quarters and St. Joseph Telephone Company as well as register to climb the Lighthouse!

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Marianna

historic church with historic marker

brick sign of Apalachicola Arsenal and Powder Magazine
Federal Arsenal in Chattahoochee

The Federal Arsenal has been restored for use as a history museum and conference center. It was built between 1832 and 1839 to store arms for the U.S. War Department during the Indian Wars. The 5 feet thick walls were crafted by English artisans using bricks made on site.

 

Pavilion of Fort Gadsden historic site

Fort Gadsden Historic Site

Called the “Hill of Good Vistas” by the Spanish and “Achackweithle” by Native Americans, this site on the eastern bank of the Apalachicola River—so tranquil in appearance today—was the focus of a series of international conflicts that literally determined the destiny of nations. At various times Prospect Bluff hosted a Spanish settlement, a British Fort, a Negro Fort, and the U.S. Fort Scott and Fort Gadsden. Conflicts involved escaped Negro slaves; Creek, Choctaw, and Seminole Indians; British and American forces; and Confederate and Union troops. This site is a National Historic Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Facilities include an information kiosk with historic dioramas depicting early settlements and major battles, picnic tables, nature trail, and restrooms.

 

Florida State Hospital BuildingFlorida State Hospital Grounds in Chattahoochee

From 1834-1839, the  Federal Arsenal, also known as the Apalachicola Arsenal, was built on high bluffs settled by the Creek and Seminole Indians. It originally consisted of a number of buildings surrounding a four-acre parade ground, connected by a 30-inch thick brick wall. Andrew Jackson was sent to take command of the American armies during the Second Seminole War from 1835-1842. Jackson stayed in the Arsenal Quarters, one of two structures still standing today. In 1869, the United States gave the land and buildings to the State of Florida. It then became a prison but was changed to a mental institution in 1876, known as the Florida State Hospital.

 

Laura Ingalls Wilder historic marker
Laura Ingalls Wilder Home Site

On October 1, 1890, three of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s relatives began a trip from Stockholm, Wisconsin down the Mississippi River on a sailboat named “Edith” to find a new place to settle. Located in the North Florida piney woods, this is the home site of Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder, Almanzo James, their daughter, Rose Wilder, Peter Franklin Ingalls, and his wife, Mary Edith McGowan Ingalls. They lived here from October 1891 – August 1892, when they returned north due to Laura’s inability to tolerate the humid environment. Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, later wrote a short fictionalized story entitled “Innocence” about the time the family spent here in Florida. Laura’s first book, Little House in the Big Woods, was published in 1932 when she was 65 years old. She eventually published 13 other books, including Little House on The Prairie in 1935.

 

Mission San Carlos De ChacatesMission San Carlos de Chacates

Located at the Woodruff Dam Overlook, this Spanish Heritage Trail stop provides a stunning view of the Woodruff Dam and Lake Seminole. As noted at the interpretive kiosk, it is also the site of Jackson County’s last Spanish Mission. Discovered by archaeologists prior to the construction of the dam, Mission San Carlos de Chacatos was built between 1680-1694 to serve the Christian members of the Chacatos, a Native American group was living between the Chipola River and Holmes Creek when Spanish missionaries first arrived in the area in 1674.

 

historical metal sign describing Nicolls Outpost.

 

Nicolls Outpost and Indian Mound

 

Built in the fall of 1814, this British fort was armed with two small cannons and garrisioned by 180 Royal Colonial Marines of both free and liberated slaves from Spanish Florida. It sat atop a large residential Indian Mound built in the Fort Walton Period (1450-1650 AD) that overlooks the Apalachicola River. The site, located in Clyde Hopkins Park, has interpretation, benches, and great views.

 

Tombstone for USS Chattahoochee

USS Chattahoochee Marker

This is the monument to the men who died in the accidental explosion and sinking of the C.S.S. Chattahoochee, a gunship that operated on the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers. The Chattahoochee often docked at the arsenal wharf, which no longer exists. The ship sank following a boiler explosion near Blountstown, Florida. The men killed in the explosion were brought back upriver to Chattahoochee and were buried near the arsenal. The remains of the ship can be seen today in the Port Columbus National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, Georgia.

 

picture of Man, Witt Campbell

“Great Floridian 2000 Plaque” honoring Witt A. Campbell

Across the street from the Stevens School is a small white frame building with a blue” Great Floridian 2000 Plaque” honoring Witt A. Campbell, who served as the financial officer for the Good Shepherd Lodge of the Order of Emancipated Americans until his death in 1996. Born in Quincy he served the Gadsden County school system for 44 years. During the 1960s civil rights movement, Campbell registered voters in Gadsden County. In 1983 he was elected to the Gadsden County School Board.

 

Pender’s Store

The store has served Greenwood and the surrounding rural area since its construction in 1869. A one and one-half story frame vernacular building, the site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Remnants of the past are everywhere—hat boxes, patent medicine bottles, hooks for harnesses and mule collars, catalogs of dresses, hats, and shoes, and ledgers recording decades of purchases of Jackson County citizens. People came to Pender’s Store from 15 to 20 miles away on mules and wagons. Notes were held on livestock and crops but not land. A single hog was enough to open an account which is a perfect analogy of the sign of the times.