Florida Guide > State Parks
CONSTITUTION CONVENTION MUSEUM
Constitution Convention Museum State Park was where Florida turned from a territory to a State; a long and well disputed process.
This park is in St Joe just off the US 98 in Floridas North West region. It covers just 14 acres, but if you are in the area well worth stopping by for its unique slice of Floridian history and its sad tale of boom and bust.
Around 1835 there was a lot of bad blood between the east Floridians and the wealthier Central Floridians, , who had opposing views on becoming Americas 27th state. Therefore St Joe was chosen as the centre for Floridas Constitution Centre. At this time the town was a thriving port and commercial centre and the population was 12000.
By 1840, it had started losing its place in the business world and was developed into a leisure park. Tragically, this town was one of the worst hit by the yellow fever epidemic and the population declined to 400 souls. Many of the houses were taken to Apachicola which was still a thriving centre and indeed some of the dwellings still stand today.
As if this was not enough for the beleagured town, a hurricane struck 4 years later and the town was completely destroyed, except for the cemetery.
The purpose of this museum is to track the history of Floridas transition from being a territory to becoming a state The whole process took 7 long years to achieve.
The residents of Central Florida wanted to become a state but the poorer folk of East and West Florida were strongly opposed to this as they though that Floridas(then) poor community would not be able to bear the costs.
You can take a self guided tour round this important part of Floridas history that explains how the process of achieving statehood works. The museum is open thursday to monday only from 9am to 12pm and then 1pm to 5pm. Closed Christmas Day, Thanksgiving and New Year.
If you prefer guided tours these take place thursday to monday at 9am, 12pm 1pm and 5pm.
The original Convention Hall was of course destroyed in the hurricane but it has been faithfully reproduced. It also leads you through life lived here in early 1800s.
There are life sized models of the delegates that are audio. active and give you a flavour of those long ago debates and how the constitution worked.
If you would like to visit the cemetery then it is 2 miles from the museum and a park ranger will direct you.
Also take a walk down tree lined walkway from the monument(erected in 1922) to the water.
200 Memorial Way
Tel 850 229 8029
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