St. Joseph: Ghost City

St. Joseph: Ghost City


  • St. Joseph: Ghost City

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 5]
States. The harbor looked as though a continuous regatta were being held as sails
filled the crowded port. In the heat of summer the bay provided surf bathing,
while in the evenings dancing and neighborly gatherings in the elaborate homes
made living a round of gaiety. Many saloons and places of amusement were
established and gambling went unmolested. Some Florida papers referred to the
St. Joseph of this period as the "wickedest city in the Nation."

In a short time St. Joseph had a population of 6,000. It was
becoming the metropolis of Florida. The citizens were cosmopolitan in
character, energetic, active, and progressive. Despite the commercialism
and reputed wickedness, the city constructed churches, schools, parks, and
a co-educational institution of higher learning, the St. John Male and
Female Academy. In these days there were not many public schools and
few of the private schools were co-educational, but this departure from the
rule won support and approval. Because of cultural institutions, the wide
streets and beautiful homes, St. Joseph was often referred to as the "Pearl
of the South." Its growth was all the more remarkable when it is taken
into consideration that it was during the era of wildcat banking schemes
and the Indian Wars. That the Indians confined their actions to attacking
lonely settlements and plantations was probably due to the fact that troops
were garrisoned in the city. In January 1852, the legislature was induced
to change the location of the county seat from Apalachicola to St. Joseph,
but this act was immediately prohibited by the Congress of the United
States and an era of intense rivalry between the two cities began. This
rivalry was most strikingly indicated by the newspapers