St. Joseph: Ghost City

St. Joseph: Ghost City


  • St. Joseph: Ghost City

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 6]
published in the two towns, though echoes of it appeared in all Florida
papers of this period. Usually St. Joseph was the aggressor.

A railroad, the second in Florida, was built from the head of Lake
Wimico to St. Joseph in 1835-36 and in 1837-38 a third was constructed
from St. Joseph to Iola, a town on the Apalachicola River, about 70 miles
north of Apalachicola. This railroad was built because the shallow waters
of Lake Wimico made navigation uncertain. Prior to this much thought
had been given to the dredging of Lake Wimico and the digging of a canal
from there to St. Joseph. A charter was granted to construct such a canal
but nothing further was done, though it is probable that St. Joseph would
have been more successful in diverting commerce from Apalachicola if this
plan had been carried out.

The business of the new railroad, in spite of the sparsely-settled
country, grew in leaps. The St. Joseph Times asserted that at the beginning
of March 1838 there were 18,155 bales of cotton in the warehouses of the
city. This was denied by the Journal of Apalachicola. The Times also
stated that by December 23, 1839, the cotton shipments would exceed
50,000 bales. Twenty trains operated daily between Iola and St. Joseph
and banking houses, brickyards, wholesale houses prospered. In January
1838, Calhoun County was created and St. Joseph became the county seat.
The greatest triumph of the new city came when the legislative council
chose St. Joseph as the convening place of the State Constitutional
Convention. Here representatives met on December 3, 1838, to frame a
State Constitu-