ST. JOSEPH: GHOST CITY
A cemetery, lying in a thicket of pines and oaks, is all that remains
to mark the spot where St. Joseph stood, once the largest city in Florida
and in its heyday designated the "wickedest city in the Nation." Twisted
creepers and scrub palmetto crowd about the scattered bricks and stones.
A few awry headstones are the only emblems of an almost forgotten era--
ghostly relics that tell of a lost community built by the spirit of revenge.
Devoid of human dwellings today, the landscape presents the same
beauty that induced the builders of the Ghost City to settle there more
than a hundred years ago. Winds ruffle the delicately-patterned dunes,
and the beach curves on the mainland of St. Joseph Bay. It faces the blue
depths of an almost landlocked harbor that sparkle with the ever-changing
colors of the Gulf of Mexico. Spreading sea-grapes, dark green in color,
weave a carpet for acres of silver-leaved lupines, and sea-oats toss their
plumes. Pelicans, gulls, herons, and other waterfowl feed in the shallow
inlets, and in the background towering pines, decorated with moss and
vines, give shade and shelter from the sun and rain.
Long ago it must have been an ideal camping ground for the
Indians who roamed through western Florida. Just who were the first
white men to see this spot is unrecorded, but it is possible that in 1528, the
Spaniard, De Narvaez, and his followers came this far west of
Apalachicola Bay, where they had encamped after a disastrous over-land
march from Tampa Bay.