St. Joseph: Ghost City

St. Joseph: Ghost City


  • St. Joseph: Ghost City

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 11]
It was left for two other elements, air and water, to complete the
devastation of anything that had escaped the leaping tongues of fire. In
the summer of 1844, it was the center of a hurricane, whose wind velocity
reached 130 miles an hour. For three days, accompanied by torrents of
rain, it spent its savage force along St. Joseph Bay, and in its wake rose a
tidal wave, 70 feet in height, that swept far inland and, in receding, carried
out to sea brick and marble, along with every vestige of debris that the
conflagration had left behind.

The clear heavens and the shining sun, that come after one of these
furies of Nature, looked down on a wasteland. Tropic growth soon
commenced again and covered the scars left by the storm.

Various tales are told of gold hidden by wealthy men of the city
when they were fleeing from the yellow death. Attracted by these stories a
few venturesome fishermen prowled about the place from time to time.
Here and there heaps of earth give evidence of hopeful activities in the quest
for treasure. There are legends; based on persistent rumors, of men who
slipped quietly into the harbor in search of the buried treasurers, and
immediately went north, where they began to spend money freely-all gold.

Save for these occasional visitors, the site of St. Joseph lay
unnoticed until 1922, when people from all over the rapidly-growing State
gathered there for the dedication of a marble monument, commemorating
the spot where the first constitutional convention of Florida was held. The
rise and fall of St. Joseph is remembered as one of the strangest chapters in
Florida history.