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Apalachicola City Hall

This granite and brick Greek revival building, presently serving as the Apalachicola City Hall, was the first of more than fifty identical three-story warehouse structures built here on Water Street in the 1830’s to accommodate the burgeoning Port of Apalachicola. These warehouses were constructed on land purchased from the Apalachicola Land Company, in accordance with the “New York Contract.” This term referred to the Apalachicola Land Company’s parent company, the New York Land Company, which developed nearly identical warehouses, which are still standing on New York’s Water Street as part of New York’s South Street Seaport area.

With the decline of this Port in the late 19th century, all but this building and the Harrison-Raney building at 218 Water Street were lost due to fire, hurricanes and the lack of maintenance. William Murtagh, the first U.S. Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places, on seeing these remaining 1830’s buildings, wrote: “These two remaining buildings are crucially important, because they are the remaining skeletons of what started this town.”

Over the years, this warehouse was used as a commission store, office space, saloon, and cannery storage. Since its purchase by the City of Apalachicola more than 60 years ago, the warehouse has been used as the fire station, police station, jail, and City Hall. In 2005, with the assistance of funding from the Florida Secretary of State, Division of Historical Resources, the first two floors of this building were restored.

Apalachicola Cotton Warehouses

The Harrison-Raney Cotton Warehouse is one of the two remaining granite and brick Greek revival buildings built along Apalachicola’s Water Street. Originally, there were more than fifty three-story buildings, with granite posts and lintels defining the entrances, similar to buildings still found today on Water Street in New York. They continue to be a visual reminder of the close economic and social connection between this once thriving cotton port and the Port of New York. The end of the cotton era in Apalachicola caused the vacating of the buildings, most of which eventually were destroyed over time by hurricanes, fires, and non-use.

Harrison and Raney, who had commercial interests in Apalachicola, built this building in 1836, following the purchase of one of the 30 x 80 foot lots laid out by the Apalachicola Land Company after the Forbes Purchase title settlements. Eventually, an impressive row of wharf-front brick and granite buildings resembling those at the New York City waterfront was built to support the cotton trade that brought prosperity to Apalachicola. Bales of cotton often filled Water Street. The first floor of the building was used to store bales of compressed cotton received from inland cities for shipment to New York, Boston, and foreign ports, as well as a place to sell other wares. The other two floors supported the business aspects of the Port of Apalachicola’s trade. Over the years, the warehouse was also used as a ship’s chandlery, saloon, hardware store, honey warehouse, and for general-purpose storage.

The first Keeper for the National Register of Historic Places, William Murtagh, wrote in 1993 that the cotton building presently used as the City Hall, as well as this building, are important because “they are the only remaining skeletons of what started this town.” Funding from the Florida Communities Trust Preservation 2000 Funds gave the City the opportunity to acquire this 176-year-old building from a private party in 2005.