is an Indian word translated to mean "Land Beyond" or "Friendly People." Here in this picturesque riverfront town, we think it means both.
Established in 1831, Apalachicola is a town rich in history and maritime culture. Both elements compliment the area's bountiful natural resources. The Apalachicola River and Bay provide great fishing opportunities for fresh and saltwater fishing buffs. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the endless bays and waterways by kayak, canoe, riverboat or sailboat. History buffs can stroll the tree-lined streets and gaze at beautifully restored Victorian homes reminiscent of the days more than 150 years ago when Apalachicola was considered the third largest shipping port on the Gulf Coast.
Apalachicola was established in 1831. Shipping cotton by paddlewheel steamboat was Apalachicola's first big industry. By the 1850s, the waterfront of this riverfront town was lined with brick warehouses and broad streets to handle the loading and unloading of cotton. Steamboats laden with cotton came down the River and were unloaded where they were reloaded onto shallow draft lighters, which carried the cargo to larger ships offshore. The hey day of Apalachicola's cotton boom lasted from 1829 to the Civil War. At one time, Apalachicola featured a racetrack, the Mansion House, which provided balls, socials and gambling, an opera house, a newspaper, two banks and many businesses lining the streets. Two of the cotton warehouses still stand along Water Street today as testament to Apalachicola's boom era.
As the railroads expanded throughout the US, and Civil War loomed, the shipping industry diminished only to be replaced economically by the timber industry. By the late 1800s, Franklin County boasted several big lumber mills. Lumber magnates built many of the magnificent historic homes that line our streets.
Following the timber industry boom, seafood began to emerge. Soon, oysters and seafood became an important industry, which continues here still. Today, Franklin County harvests a majority of Florida's oysters. Shrimp, blue crab and finfish are also very important commercially to Franklin County's economy.
Today, this quaint port town draws visitors from all over the U.S. as they step back in time to stroll this historic City. An annual featured event in Apalachicola is the Trinity Episcopal Church Tour of Historic Homes. Held the first Saturday in May, the tour generally features between 10 and 15 historically significant private homes and businesses - allowing visitors a rare glimpse into life here more than 150 years ago. Many folks looking to relocate to Apalachicola take this opportunity to "shop" for a second home or investment property as several of the town's available historic homes are featured as "open house" properties the day of the tour.