I graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology (Archaeology) in 2014. I recently started at Florida State University in pursuit of my Master’s Degree in Anthropology. My specialization is Historical Archaeology in the Southeast United States.
This blog shows tidbits from my thesis work researching an 1800s marketplace that was located along Water Street in between Panton and Centre Streets in Apalachicola, Florida.
The first cotton was transported from Apalachicola in 1822. The first steamboat arrived there in 1828.Beginning in 1835, the Apalachicola Land Company laid out a plan with six squares (based generally on a Philadelphia model) and published a map with Centre Street as its major thoroughfare extending from the river to the bay. The plan included twenty 30′ by 80′ lots which later held three story brick buildings with granite pillars in front along Water Street (picture can be found at top of blog). The bricks were imported from Baltimore, granite from Quincy, Massachusetts, and the framing from New York. The buildings were constructed in 1837. The design of the buildings is almost identical to those at South Street Seaport in New York City, which are still standing today.
While the buildings built on Water Street in the 1830s are frequently described as cotton warehouses, most of the first floors of these buildings were used to sell all types of groceries and merchandise. The second and third floors of these buildings were used primarily as offices for attorneys, cotton facts, commission, and forwarding merchants and their clerks.
Of the original three-story buildings only two survive today, one of which is City Hall and the other stands abandoned. Both of these buildings now have their third stories removed due to damage from storms.
The cotton receipts in Apalachicola moved steadily upward so that by the 1850s, Apalachicola shipped 90% of the cotton in the Apalachicola River drainage area and was the third largest port in Florida.
In 1844 a fire started the B.S. Hawley’s shop and spread over multiple stores. After this fire the building was leveled and the land was never developed again. This blog shows information and artifacts found from the property. The property was excavated in the early 1990s by Dr. Lou Hill.