Thursday, January 17, 2008
St. Andrews Bay on the Eve of the Civil War
This image is a section from an 1840 map of Florida in the National Archives. It shows St. Andrews Bay (today's Panama City) as it appeared on the eve of the Civil War.
The bay was then a resort area for families from the interior counties who came down to fish, swim and enjoy the cool sea breezes.
The small resort community of St. Andrews, seen here near the center of the map, had developed on the bay front during antebellum times. A number of comfortable homes had been built here on the low bluff overlooking the water and some of the most prosperous planters and businessmen from the interior counties of Northwest Florida frequented the resort, especially during the hot summer and "sickly" months.
In addition, the bay was the scene of a small amount of commerce. A large lumber mill had been constructed here during the years before the war and barge traffic also came down Econfina and Bear Creeks, bringing cotton and other agricultural products to the bay, where they were placed aboard small ships for transport on to Pensacola, New Orleans and beyond.
The Union blockade quickly brought this commerce to an end and by the end of the war the beautiful little community of St. Andrews had been burned to the ground.