Monday, March 27, 2017

Historic Apalachicola #4

If you thought or hoped that we were done with our tour of Historic Apalachicola, you were mistaken… There were just too many beautiful historic homes and other structures to stop with 3 posts on the area.  If you recall, this huge National Historic District covers about 4,600 acres and it includes 652 buildings.

This is the Hays House.  It was built in 1908 using black cypress and heart pine harvested from just across the Apalachicola River in East Bay.

I found an old real estate listing for this huge home from back in 2011.  The home has 6,158 square feet of living space.  It has been broken up into rental units with private bathrooms and apparently some have full kitchens as well.  No price was shown as the home was subsequently purchased.  It now operates as a Bed and Breakfast and suites can be booked through   To learn more, go to

This was something different indeed… This is the Fort Coombs Armory.  It is reputed to be the oldest building in continuous use by a National Guard Company anywhere in the USA.  Construction of this building was completed in 1903.

The first armory in Apalachicola was built in 1898.  It was the home of the Franklin Guards, a company of Infantry that was formed in Apalachicola in 1884 by J.H. Coombs and Fred Betterfield.  On May 25, 1900, Apalachicola’s great fire destroyed it and much of the downtown area.  This structure replaced the original armory.  Fort Coombs is a unique example of fortress architecture in Florida, and has served as the military center of Apalachicola for more than a century.  Units stationed here have been mobilized for service in World Wars I and II, the Gulf War and the War with Iraq.  A number of Bronze plaques are mounted on the exterior front wall memorializing the names of Apalachicola and Franklin County citizens who have served their State and Nation.

This attractive home is called the Orman Cottage.  It was built in 2 parts… The first floor of this Greek revival home was built in 1850 by Thomas Orman for one of his sons.  The second floor was added in 1890. 

This home was purchased in 2016 for approximately $385,000.  It has been completely refurbished and updated.  At 2,908 square feet, it has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.

Moving from the cottage to the familiar looking but much larger Orman House…  Thomas Orman built this home in 1838.  The wood for this structure was cut to measure in New York and shipped by sailing vessel around the Florida Keys all the way up to Apalachicola.  It was then assembled on a bluff overlooking the Apalachicola River.

This home is now the centerpiece of Florida’s Orman House Historic State Park.  From here, Thomas Orman, could look out over the shipping industry that made his fortune.  When Orman moved here with his family, cotton planting was growing into a booming industry along the Apalachicola River.  In the 1830s the port of Apalachicola was a major beneficiary of this boom.
Riverboats stacked with bales of cotton came down from the upriver landings. The bales were transferred to ocean-going vessels at Apalachicola and they were shipped to the cotton mills of New England and Europe.  Thomas Orman dealt in cotton, buying large shipments as they came down river and then re-selling them and shipping the cotton to the mills. In the process he accumulated a fortune.

To learn more about this Florida State Park, you can go to

Here is one more striking and historic home within Apalachicola’s Historic District.  It’s not specifically listed on any documents that I could find.  However, I’ve included this home because it’s very striking and also because Laurie actually spoke to the owner who was responsible for rehabilitating this classic beauty.  We both love all of the rehab shows on TV!

That’s about it for now… Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Apalachicola is one beautiful place -and we have never been there. We must add it to our 'long' list. ha....

    Love those big old homes.. One of them reminded me of my Great Aunts home in Bristol, VA... Their old home had a wrap around porch. I was a child but I remember being in that large home several times. I remember the high ceilings, the particular musty smell, big clocks in several rooms... Such great memories... Thanks for sharing your Apalachicola posts...


  2. What a beautiful place, Dave! I love your photos and the history here. Thank you so much for sharing.