Port St. Joe and Gulf County, Florida may not have many historic locations but the ones they do are absolutely magnificent.
Even though the history of Gulf County does not extend as far back as some parts of the country, that does not mean that it is not steeped in some of the most interesting history in Florida. Additionally, the historic sites it offers are some that not only shaped Florida history, but played a part in shaping the history of the United States too.
Cape San Blas Lighthouse
Cape San Blas, Florida was home to four of these gorgeous lighthouses between 1849 and 1885. Being slammed by hurricanes, thunderstorms, and coastal winds through the years caused a large amount of damage to the lighthouse, plus coastal erosion did not give it much chance to survive. Thankfully, it was given new life when it was to Port St. Joe in 2014 and is now a popular tourist attraction in Gulf County.
The Centennial Building
This beautiful art deco building is located near Downtown Port St. Joe, was the location of the signing of the State of Florida’s constitution in 1838, paving the way for the Sunshine State to gain statehood just a few years later. The building was added to the US National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
Old St. Joseph Cemetery
Off Garrison Avenue in Port St. is the lost city of St. Joseph and remnants of the cemetery that is there. The brick tombs that are still standing is no determinate of the number of bodies that are buried there. Many unmarked graves contain mass burial sites for yellow fever victims, many affluent and early settlers to the area.
Built in 1938 in Downtown Port St. Joe, the Port Theatre is a unique Art Deco building that has withstood many hurricanes and storms through the years. Unfortunately, Hurricane Michael completed gutted the theater. Thankfully, restoration has begun and hopefully it will not be much longer before patrons are back in the audience for a live show.
St. Joseph Catholic Mission Church
Sitting just a couple of hundred feet from the calm waves of the St. Joseph’s Bay, this small, beautiful Catholic church was built in 1925 and somehow remain standing in its original state today. Even Hurricane Michael, that totally decimated Port St. Joe a few years ago, could not take down the oldest church building still standing in Port St. Joe. Today the church does not have its own congregation, instead the beautiful space is now the Port St. Joe Garden Club that is used for weddings, birthdays, conferences, and any other special gathering. The building can hold 70 people for events.
Port St. Joe and Gulf County, Florida has one of the more interesting histories in the State of Florida. The town started as St. Joseph in 1835 but it was abandoned after a yellow fever outbreak in 1841 and that was followed by disastrous hurricanes in both 1843 and 1851. When the railroad came in 1909, the town founders decided on the name Port St. Joe.