Panama City Florida
Panama City is the largest city between Tallahassee and Pensacola, Florida. It was incorporated in 1909. Panama City sits in Bay County, which was established from Washington County in 1913. Bay County gets its name from St. Andrews bay, which borders the county on the south. Before the was settled, it was a large community for Native Americans. The Spanish first made contact with the natives around 1500. At that point, the area was occupied primarily by the Chatot and Yucci tribes. Several hundred years later, the Creeks and Cherokees who had managed to avoid the trail of tears began to relocate to the area. By the mid 1800’s, an influx of caucasian settlers had forced the remaining natives into South Central Florida–into a new tribe that would eventually become the Seminoles.
The first European settlement in the area was near Beach Drive; approximately between Frankford Aveneue and Lake Caroline. At the start, the summer population hovered just over a thousand people strong. The town played a role in the Civil War as a supply port and came under attack numerous time by Federal troops; being eventually destroyed in 1863. in 1908, St. Andrews finally incorporated for the first time. It grew as a popular port for a number of years. Panama City became such an important port during the 20’s, that it ended up annexing St. Andrews, and three other small towns in 1927.
Panama city became an even more vital port during World War II and as it was used extensively for shipbuilding. Local restaurants, bars, shops, and fishing charters were frequented by many; including one of America’s biggest celebrities at the time, Clark Gable. The area had become a destination. In the 80’s however, Panama City’s economy suffered as Panama City Beach supplanted it as the destination of choice. Panama City recognized the need for improvements and began a revitalization of St. Andrew’s in 1989. St. Andrews went on to receive numerous grants from the State of Florida and has flourished into the beautiful area as we know it today.