ARTS AND CULTURE
In Franklin County, easternmost in the Panhandle, Apalachicola is the best-known city. Once the third-largest port on the Gulf of Mexico, reminders of those halcyon days of steamers and schooners, railroads and lumber mills remain. The city’s historic district has nearly a thousand historic buildings and sites from a bygone era. Along the waterfront, structures that once served as commercial fishing factories and warehouses have evolved into seafood houses and galleries, and old shrimp boats now reside for eternity.
Nearby Cape St. George Lighthouse had been lighting the way for mariners since 1852, until it collapsed into the water in 2005. Now it’s been rebuilt with a new museum. It’s no longer a working lighthouse (blame GPS), but you can’t tell the story of this region without relating the history of this structure.
Panama City has four very interesting neighborhoods in which to roam. Downtown is filled with galleries and arts facilities such as the Martin Theatre, the City Marina, the Visual Arts Center and the CityArts Cooperative. Historic St. Andrews still resembles the quaint fishing village it was in the “old days.” Downtown North serves as the cultural hub of Panama City’s African American community and Millville is named for its once-thriving paper-manufacturing and shipbuilding industries.
Holmes County has a population of only 20,000, however it boasts one noteworthy historic residence. The Keith Cabin is an authentic 19th-century rural homestead on which William Thomas Keith grew cotton and tobacco . . . and expanded his land holdings from 10 acres to 190.
The Beaches of South Walton are home to a vibrant arts community, anchored by the local Cultural Arts Alliance, and enhanced