Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Historic Apalachicola #1

I’d previously mentioned that Apalachicola’s Historic District, as listed in the National Register of Historic Places, included approximately 5,800 acres and 652 structures…

This is the first of a number of posts with photos of some of the historic homes and other buildings in Apalachicola.

The Greek revival style Raney House was built in 1838.  The 3 decades prior to the Civil War were boom years for Apalachicola.  Funds realized from cotton related commerce provided the profits needed to build several mansions in town.

The Apalachicola Area Historical Society operates this house as the Raney House Museum.  It features 19th century furnishings, decorations, artifacts and documents.  There isn’t any charge for admission although donations are accepted at the front door.  To learn more about the Raney House and the Apalachicola Area Historical Society, you can go to

This is a side view of the Raney House. (Shooting into the sun is not a good thing!)

Somehow we missed taking a photo of the 1860 Raney House Guest Cottage.  I think that we assumed that the small structure at the back of the house was the cottage.  After checking the Internet for information on the Guest Cottage, I discovered the real deal…  It’s located on the right, next door to the small extension off the Raney House.  The actual large and attractive Raney House Cottage is available for rental.  For photos and information, go to  

I don’t think that we’d ever seen or at least noticed this plant before.  It was in front of the Raney House.  This is a Sago Palm.  Actually it isn’t really a palm but rather a cycad.  Cycads date back to the days of the dinosaur.  A cluster like this includes both male and female plants, each with different reproductive cones. 

The Sago Palm can live to be hundreds of years old and it can survive as far north as St. Louis or New York City although it will stress out from the cold in those climates.  The pith of this plant yields an edible starch but it must be carefully washed and processed before use as it is very toxic…

The next house in today’s tour is the Messina House.  This classic revival style house was built in 1885.  Anthony and Catherine Messina lived in the house and raised their nine children here.  The house remained in the family for 100 years.  It now serves as the House of Tarts Guesthouse.  An adjoining carriage house is also available for rental.  To learn more, go to

The next home on our tour was the Fry Conter House.  Another Greek revival style house, this structure was built by riverboat captain Daniel Fry in 1845.  This home has been completely restored and until recently it served as the Apalachicola Museum of Art where temporary visual art exhibits could be viewed. 

However a little research revealed that on 6/23/16 this home was sold to the United States Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Service.  It now serves as new office and visitor’s center for the St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge.  The island is home to imported Sambar Deer and a breeding pair of Red Wolves.  To learn more about this nearby wildlife refuge, go to

The last home on today’s tour is the Witherspoon Inn.  It was built in 1871 for Captain Witherspoon and his family.  It was completely restored in the 1980s.  Although it served as an inn or bed and breakfast for a period, it is now a private residence.

That’s about it for today’s tour of historic Apalachicola Florida.  More will follow in the next couple of weeks.  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care,

Big Daddy Dave

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this tour, historic info and your photos are lovely, Dave! I especially love that last home!