Our First City in Florida to be Highlighted is.... Apalachicola
(at the 'bend' of the Panhandle- - on the Gulf Coast)

Alalachicola. *The word probably comes from the Hitchiti Indian words "apalahchi" (on the other side) and "okli" (people). Together word may mean "those people residing on the other side or shore". The city is in the County of Franklin, *named for Benjamin Franklin, scientist and author.

The rich floodplains of the Apalachicola River attracted many settlers during the 1800's and were important in the development of the town of Apalachicola. In 1821 a customs office was opened, and by 1833, Apalachicola was a flourishing port on the Gulf, ships carrying cotton back to Europe and New England. A young physician arrived in 1833 by the name of John Gorrie. Over the next twenty years he served as mayor, postmaster, city treasurer, council member, bank director and founder of Trinity Church. He made a significant contribution during an outbreak of yellow fever. His concern for patients ill with the disease led him to develop a method for cooling their rooms. Gorrie invented a machine that produced ice, the forerunner for modern refrigeration and air-conditioning. Gorrie died in 1855, unable to market his invention and see the far-reaching effects of his discovery.

In the 1850s Apalachicola's cotton trade was affected by the coming of the railroads. The Civil War blockade that sealed off the harbor further shattered the town's economy. The town was captured by Union ships on April 3, 1862. The Cape St. George Lighthouse keeper's dwelling was used as a smoking and lounging saloon by the Union ship crews. The economy was affected until ten years after the war, when a thriving lumber industry developed and revived the town's income. This boom lasted until 1930, when the Apalachicola River floodplain was stripped of cypress.

The town then began developing their readily available natural resource, the Bay. Since the early settlement days, it had been a source of sponges and seafood, and seafood canning became the town's main industry.

Today, Alalachicola leads the state in the production of oysters and serves as a chief supplier of crabs, shrimp and fish. The Apalachicola River has a delicate balance of fresh and salt water, and provides a breeding ground for many marine species. With the town's future economic stability depending on the protection of the river system, preservation of the river has become an important statewide issue.

* name origins - http://www.dos.state.fl.us/flafacts/city.html
(information from - http://www.hometown.com/apalachicola/index.html

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