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98 Real Estate Group
Apalachicola Bay Inn
Apalachicola River Catfish Tournament Trail
Ausley & McMullen, P.A.
Bay City Lodge, Inc.
Bay Point Marina
Beach Realty of Cape San Blas, Inc.
Ben's Photos
Bluewater iNet Group, LLC
Bluewater Outriggers
Bottoms Up Fishing Tournament
Burke & Co. Real Estate Group, LLC
Cape San Blas Inn
Cape San Blas Lighthouse
Cape San Blas Realty
Cape San Blas Vacation Rentals
Cape Trading Post
Capt. Clint's Pontoon Boat Rentals
Captain's Containers, LLC
Captain's Cove Marina
Carpet Country
Carrabelle Boat Club
Century 21/Collins Realty, Inc.
Charisma Charters
City of Port St. Joe
Coastal Concierge LLC
Coastal Design & Landscaping
Coastal Marina Management
Collins Construction and Sewage Treatment Services
Collins Vacation Rentals, Inc.
Columbus Marina
Crest Enterprises and Land Development, Inc.
Durens Piggly Wiggly
F&B Builders, Inc.
Family Life Church
First Baptist Church of Mexico Beach
First Prebyterian Church of Port St. Joe
Florida Catfish Classic Tournaments
Forgotten Coast Property Management & Rentals, LLC
g3 Realty Group
Gamble & Associates Construction, Inc.
Grady Market
Gulf Coast Property Services, LLC
Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship
Gulf Coast Vacation Rentals
Gulf County Supervisor of Elections Office
Gulf County TDC
Gunn Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.
Happy Ours Kayak & Bike Outpost
Harmon Realty Vacation Rentals
High Cotton Affairs
Indian Pass General Store
Indian Pass Raw Bar
Joe Mama's Wood Fired Pizza
Johnene Marcum, CPA
Joyce Estes, Artist
Kaci Rhodes, Realtor
L.L. Lanier & Sons
Lady J Charters
LaPrades Marina at Lake Burton
Lighthouse Utilities
Long Avenue Baptist Church
Mariner Investment Properties, Inc.
Mentor Gadsden
Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association
Mexico Beach Harmon Realty, Inc.
Mexico Beach Marina
Mexico Beach Offshore Classic Fishing Tournament
Mexico Beach Sundance Realty
Michael Billings, REALTOR
Miss Mary
My Key Photography
NAPA - St. Joe Auto Parts
Natalie Shoaf, REALTOR
Natural Element, Inc.
No Worries Vacation Rentals
Opportunity Florida
Orange Beach Billfish Classic
Orange Beach Grand Slam
Organization for Artificial Reefs
Panache Tent + Event Rentals
Panhandle 360
Paradise Coast Vacation Rentals
Pirate's Cove Marina
Port St. Joe Marina
Port St. Joe Port Authority
Pristine Properties Vacation Rentals, LLC
Pristine Properties, LLC
Raffield Fisheries, Inc.
Reeves Furniture & Refinishing Shoppe
Roberson and Associates, PA
Robinson Brothers Guide Service
Robinson Real Estate Company
Sally Childs, Realtor
Screened Onsite
Shallow Reed
Southeastern Consulting Engineers, Inc.
Spirit of Caregiving, LLC
St. George Island Real Estate
St. George Island Realty
St. James Episcopal Church
St. Joe Natural Gas Company
St. Joe Rent-All, Nursery & Supply
St. Vincent Island Shuttle Service
Star Publishing Company
Sugar Beach Rentals, Inc.
Suncoast Realty and Property Management
The Appliance Solution
The Invitational
The Port Fine Wine & Spirits
The Wharf Boat & Yacht Show
The Wharf Marina
Turtle Beach Inn
Ulrich Construction
Ward's Lawn Care & Pressure Washing
Waste One
Water's Edge RV Park
Zach Ferrell
George L. Chapel
Apalachicola Historical Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 75
Apalachicola, Florida 32329

Reprinted by Permission

Chapter 1 - The Indians
Chapter 2 - The Spanish
Chapter 3 - The English
Chapter 4 - Scottish Traders
Chapter 5 - The United States
Chapter 6 - The Settlements
Chapter 7 - Apalachicola
Chapter 8 - The Civil War
Chapter 9 - Cypress
Chapter 10 - World War II
Chapter 11 - Seafood
Selected Bibliography
Chapter 11 - Seafood

Commercially sold in Apalachicola as early as 1836, oysters were not harvested in any quantity until the 1850's. Intensive efforts to exploit the beds in Apalachicola began in 1870 with John C. Messina and Company, Yent and Alexander, John Miller and Joseph Segree. John G. Ruge was an important figure in the local shellfish industry. Born in Apalachicola in 1854, the son of Herman Ruge, who had migrated from Hanover, Germany in the early 1840's, John and his brother George worked for their father in his machine shop and hardware store until they changed the name of the firm from Herman Ruge and Sons to the Ruge Brothers Canning Company in 1885. Taking advantage of pasteurization, they became Florida's first successful commercial packers (under the "Alligator" brand). John Ruge was among the first to advocate planting oyster shells near the natural beds for juvenile oysters (spat) to settle upon. In 1918, William Popham, a land promoter in Apalachicola and St. George Island, further advocated the deliberate cultivation of oysters in Apalachicola Bay. Stephen Rice and Joseph Messina also helped establish shellfish sales. Rice, born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1838, moved to Texas, commanded a Confederate infantry unit in the Civil War, and moved to Apalachicola in 1882. He and his two sons, Stephen, Jr., and Rob Roy, founded a large and successful oyster packing company. Locally born Joseph Messina gained control of the Bay City Packing Company in 1896 and marketed a variety of seafood products under the "Pearl" brand. From the mid-1870's to the early decades of the twentieth century, Apalachicola was part of Florida's sponge industry. The local sponge trade came to rank third in the state. By 1895, between 80 and 120 men were employed in it, and the city had two sponge warehouses. Later, as the major Greek sponge operations moved down the coast to Carrabelle, Cedar Key and Tarpon Springs, shrimp and sponge operations continued in Apalachicola with the Greek sailing fleet and Democritus Manglomanus (Demo George). The Apalachicola Northern Railroad came into Apalachicola in 1907 and ran an "oyster special" to Atlanta with oysters packed in ice. By 1915, some 400 men manned 117 oyster boats under sail, 250 shuckers worked in various oyster houses, and a number of other workers worked in two canneries. The Bay City Packing Company in 1915 was shipping canned shrimp to Boston and other markets as well as trading in fresh shrimp. Each spring, large sturgeon appeared in the bay to spawn upriver. Captain Anderson and his crew would catch as many as 70 in a 24-hour period to meet the demand for caviar, as well as general consumption. This process was disrupted in 1935 with the construction of the Jim Woodruff dam. Pole fishing, of course, was always a local pastime. In the 1980's and 1990's, habitat incursions, urban development and market demands brought severe pressure on the fresh seafood industry.

Today, Apalachicola is the headquarters of a United Nations Biosphere Reserve and Estuarine Sanctuary of 196,000 acres.

Bottoms Up Fishing Tournament Many thanks to another of our fine sponsors:

Bottoms Up Fishing Tournament