The Orman House is a moderately-sized but fascinating plantation-era house that is operated as a public museum by the State of Florida in coordination with local volunteers. It has a beautiful setting on a small hill overlooking the Apalachicola River. Local entrepreneur Thomas Orman built the house for his family in 1838 in the Greek Revival style. His son William served as an officer in the Confederate Army, and was later a Representative in the United States Congress. During the twentieth century, the house ran into some tough times, and for a while was operated as a bed and breakfast, but it has now been carefully restored, and the rooms are very nicely furnished with a variety of early to mid 19th century pieces. Highly recommended.
Apalachicola was the home of noted inventor John Gorrie (1803-1855), inventor of the first commercially successul Ice Machine. The Gorrie Museum is a state-operated site that commemorates this early ice pioneer. A nearby historical markers attests to Gorrie's accomplishments:
"He was granted the first US patent for mechanical refrigeration on May 6, 1851. Dr. Gorrie moved to Apalachicola in 1833 after the completion of his education at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Western District of New York in Fairfield, NY. Motivated by a severe Yellow Fever epidemic in the summer of 1841, Dr. Gorrie and his predecessors felt the fever was caused by heat, humidity, and decaying vegetation. He sought to effect a cure by introducing an element of cold in the form of refrigeration. Dr. Gorrie noted 'Nature would terminate the fever through the changing of seasons.' In May 1844, he constructed the the refrigeration that would receive the patent. The mechanism produced ice in quantities, but leakage and irregular performance impaired its operation. At various times he served as a physician of the Marine Hospital Service, President of the Apalachicola Branch Bank of Pensacola, Secretary of the Masonic Lodge, and founding vestryman of Trinity Episcopal Church."
This old-fashioned museum contains displays about the sigificance of Gorrie's life and work, as well as material relating to life on the Gulf Coast in the 19th century.
st. george island is located southeast of apalachicola in the gulf of mexico. st. george island is home to st. george island state park and is one of the most beautiful beaches in northwest florida. for more information see my st. george island page.
the trinity episcopal church was chartered in 1837. the building that houses trinity episcopal church is the earliest prefabricated building in america. in 1840 the framework of the church was shipped to apalachicola from new york by schooner.
this historic theatre opened in 1913 as a vaudeville house. in 1915 it was converted into a movie theatre. today the dixie hosts theatrical productions, cinema, and music concerts. the dixie is home to the apalachicola music fest. for performances and times see their website.
pictured is the grady block in apalachicola's historic downtown. there are numerous restaurants, bars, and gift shops in the downtown area. find a parking space near the gibson inn and explore on foot this interesting area.
dr. john gorrie (1802-1855) is apalachicola's most famous resident. dr. gorrie studied tropical diseases. he urged the government to drain swamps to stop the spread of malaria and thought that cool air was good for patients. since ice had to be shipped to florida from the great lakes gorrie invented the artificial ice machine in 1851. this invention was the forerunner of refrigeration and air conditioning.
the town of apalachicola is located on the apalachicola river and bay. this area is famous for it's oysters and other seafood. pictured are some shrimp boats at the city dock.