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Florida Guide > Other Activities

JOHN GORRIE MUSEUM

John Gorrie Museum State Park is situated in Apolachicola on 6th street, one block east off the US 98. It is a pretty town with many 19th century homes and fishing boats tied up on the piers.

Apolachicola was once a thriving business centre that made its fortune from the shipping trade. Indeed it was the third largest port on the gulf coast and dealt largely with the ships carrying cotton to Europe.

In 1883 a young doctor called John Gorrie moved to the area and became a city treasurer and served on the council. In his time he also served time as the mayor and founded the Trinity Church.

John developed an interest in refrigeration and air cooling and the first patent for a fridge is in his name. The main reason for this mission was out of concern for the yellow fever sufferers who had a bad time on Floridas hot summers.

There is a replica of his very first ice making machine on display in the museum along with many Apaolachicola exhibits that track the social and economic history of this colourful town.

Rather sadly, Gorrie never saw the fruits of his labours since he died in 1885, before he had time to market his invention.

By this time, the fortunes of the town had suffered a downturn due to the effects of the Civil War that closed the harbour and the coming of the railway. Later, they had another economic boom when the lumber industry took off and the decimated the flood plain of its cypress trees.

Having exhausted this resource, they turned to the sea and started producing tinned seafood. This industry is still thriving today and indeed Apolachicola is the foremost supplier of canned shrimp and crab.

Apolochicola Bay impacts on 160 miles of fishing waters so great attention is being paid to maintainng the river waters and its balance of salt and fresh water. This provides the perfect breeding conditions for a wide varity of marine life that benefits the whole of that area.

The museum is open every day but tuesday and wednesday from 9am to 5 pm. They also do not open on Christmas and New Years Day and Thanksgiving.

If you are in this area, please do take time to visit this museum that tells the tale of a town that would not be beaten and survives to this day.

CONTACT DETAILS

John Gorrie Museum State Park
P. O. Box 267
Apalachicola, Florida 32320

Phone: 850-653-9347

Fax: Contact Park for Number

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Page added on: 5 February 2008
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