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USS Mercedita helped capture Apalachicola in 1862.

Apalachicola is a city in Franklin Countymarker, Floridamarker on US 98 about 80 miles southwest of Tallahasseemarker. The population was 2,334 at the 2000 census. The 2005 census estimates gave the city at 2,340. Apalachicola is the county seat of Franklin Countymarker .


"Apalachicola" comes from the Apalachicola tribe and is a combination of Hitchiti Indian words "apalahchi," meaning "on the other side," and "okli," meaning "people". In original reference to the settlement, it probably meant "people on the other side of the river." Many inhabitants of Apalachicola, however, choose to translate the name of their town as "land of the friendly people."

Geography and Climate

Apalachicola is located in the northwest part of the state, at , on Apalachicola Bay and at the mouth of the Apalachicola river.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.9 km² (2.7 mi²). 4.9 km² (1.9 mi²) of it is land and 2.0 km² (0.8 mi²) of it (29.32%) is water.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 79 80 85 90 98 101 102 99 96 93 87 82
Norm High °F 62.4 64.8 69.9 76 83 88.3 89.8 89.4 87 79.9 72 65
Norm Low °F 43 45.8 51.4 57.6 65.1 71.6 73.9 74 71.2 60.5 52 45.3
Rec Low °F 9 21 22 36 47 48 63 62 50 37 24 13
Precip (in) 4.87 3.76 4.95 3 2.62 4.3 7.31 7.29 7.1 4.18 3.62 3.51
Source: [16415]


A trading post called Cottonton was located on the current site of Apalachicola. In 1827, the town was incorporated as West Point. Apalachicola received its current name in 1831, by an Act of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida.

Before the development of railways in the Gulf states, Apalachicola was the third busiest port in the Gulf of Mexico (behind New Orleansmarker and Mobilemarker). In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the sponge trade, led by Greek immigrants, was a major industry in the town. Apalachicola is still the home port for a variety of seafood workers, including oyster harvesters and shrimpers. More than 90% of Florida's oyster production is harvested from Apalachicola Bay. Every year the town hosts the Florida Seafood Festival. The bay is well protected by St. Vincent Islandmarker, Flag, Sand, St. George Islandmarker, and Cape St. George Islandmarker.

Trinity Episcopal Church.
Trinity Episcopal Churchmarker was incorporated by an Act of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Floridamarker on Feb 11, 1837. The building was one of the earliest prefabricated buildings in America. The framework was shipped by schooner from New York and assembled in Apalachicola with wooden pegs.

Botanist Alvan Wentworth Chapman (1809-1899) settled in Apalachicola in 1846. In 1860, he published his major work, Flora of the Southern United States. The former (now closed) elementary school is named in his honor.

In 1849, Apalachicola physician Dr. John Gorrie (1802-1855) discovered the cold-air process of refrigeration and patented an ice machine in 1850, as the result of experiments to lower the temperatures of fever patients, laying the groundwork for modern refrigeration and air-conditioning. The city has a monument to him, and a replica of his ice machine is on display in the John Gorrie Museum.On April 3, 1862, the gunboat USS Sagamore and 186 foot steamer USS Mercedita (relieving the USS Marion) captured Apalachicola.

Apalachicola is also home to the Dixie Theater, a professional Equity theater which is both a producing as well as presenting performance venue. It is considered the artistic center of Franklin County. Originally built in 1912, it was fully renovated beginning in 1996 and reopened in 1998.

The AN Railway, formerly the Apalachicola Northern Railroad, serves the city.


As of the census of 2000, there were 2,334 people, 1,006 households, and 608 families residing in the city. The population density was 479.3/km² (1,242.1/mi²). There were 1,207 housing units at an average density of 247.9/km² (642.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 63.41% White, 34.92% African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.47% from other races, and 0.64% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.67% of the population.

There were 1,006 households out of which 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.8% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.5% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,073, and the median income for a family was $28,464. Males had a median income of $22,500 versus $18,750 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,227. About 19.9% of families and 25.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.4% of those under age 18 and 15.0% of those age 65 or over.


Travel to Apalachicola continues to increase as tourists seek experiences of "Old Florida," as many describe the feel of smaller coastal communities in the state. Southern Living published a feature article 'Florida's Quiet Side' in February 2007. Wanda McKinney writes:
"Morning comes gently to Apalachicola. Oyster boats and shrimpboats begin their daily pilgrimages into the seafood-rich bay as the sun rises on the Northwest Florida coast. The lights twinkle on in this fishing village, its residents ready for another day in unspoiled paradise. If you ever wondered if such a place still exists, yes, old Florida lives here. A lone blinking yellow light directs the downtown traffic. Come and stay awhile in this wonderful, walkable, watery hamlet. Try the pace on for size."


Apalachicola is a part of the Franklin County School District system . As of the 2008-2009 school year, all students, except those attending charter schools, attend the K-12 Franklin County School. Apalachicola Bay Charter School is also located in Apalachicola.


  1. Estimated 2005 U.S. Census for Apalachicola
  2. Florida Heritage Facts
  3. Florida Department of State
  4. Bay Navigator, Brief History
  5. USS Mercedita history
  6. Franklin County Schools website

External links

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