The Apalachicola Area
Once the third largest port on the Gulf of Mexico, Apalachicola's diverse and colorful past remains visible today. There are over 200 historic homes and buildings on the National Register. Visitors are invited to stroll along the wide tree-lined streets where picturesque Victorian homes display the charm of years gone by. Apalachicola's rich history and a maritime culture are complimented by the area's bountiful natural resources.
The Apalachicola River and Bay provide great fishing opportunities for both fresh and salt water fishing buffs. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the endless bays and waterways by kayak, canoe, riverboat or sailboat. Visitors can also spend time browsing through the City's unique galleries, stores and antique shops or touring the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Center.
Apalachicola was established in 1831. Shipping cotton was Apalachicola's big industry and it soon became the third largest port on the Gulf of Mexico. By the 1850s, the waterfront was lined with brick warehouses and broad streets to handle the loading and unloading of cotton. Steamboats laden with cotton came down the River and were unloaded. Then small shallow draft schooners (lighters) shuttled the cargo to ships moored offshore.
As the railroads expanded throughout the United States, a new industry took shape in the city. Home to large cypress forests, Franklin County developed several big lumber mills in the late 1800s. Lumber magnates built many of the magnificent historic homes that line our streets.
By the end of the 19th century, oysters and seafood became an important industry. Today Franklin County harvests more than 90% of Florida's oysters and 10% of the oysters consumed in the nation. Shrimp, blue crab and finfish are also very important commercially, bringing in over $11 million worth of seafood to Franklin County docks annually.