St. Joseph: Ghost City

St. Joseph: Ghost City


  • St. Joseph: Ghost City

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 7]
tion. A writer who attended this convention wrote: "It was then a
stirring, busy place, its citizens full of energy and hope, fine buildings and
hotels adorned the town and more were building. The fact of its being
selected for the meeting of the convention speaks loudly as to its existing
attractiveness. Before the city lay one of the most beautiful of ocean
harbors with crystal, flashing waters and snowlike beach crowded with
verdure to the water's edge; to seaward bounded by towering forest-clad
hills whose varied profile was made picturesque by the large ships lying
close to their base, was a vision of beauty ever varying with shifting light
and shadow."

Long wharves extended nearly a mile into the bay. The seashore near
the terminus of the railroad was dotted with long warehouses and a shipyard.
Back of these, facing the water, were the stores, hotels, billiard halls and other
places of amusement. Further back were the churches and public buildings;
while to the rear, away from the traffic of business, were expensive homes.

The city teemed with life as the year of 1841 began. Boats rode at
anchor in the harbor, wharves were piled high with bales of cotton,
Negroes shouted, wheels creaked, as wagonload after wagonload drove up
to discharge its ocean-bound cargo. But the crest had been reached and
with a startling, horrible rapidity, misfortune, as though designated by
Fate, opposed the promising future of the town.

In late June of 1841, a ship from one of the Greater Antilles
docked at St. Joseph. The captain was sick and quickly taken ashore for
medical attention. The illness was pronounced jaundice, but a few