Chasing Shadows: A Gorrie chair made to specifications

The Dreamland Theatre which later became the Gorrie Furniture Company.

The Dreamland Theatre which later became the Gorrie Furniture Company.

Florida Memory Project
Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 02:18 PM.

A chair from the Gorrie Furniture Company speaks to the history and commerce of the last century in the county.

Historian Valerie Sherlock, who has authored a biography of Dr. John Gorrie, inventor of air conditioning and the ice machine, was the first to respond to last week’s “Chasing Shadows” on the chair.

She said it had no direct connection to Dr. Gorrie. “Many Apalachicola businesses were named after Gorrie,” she said. “I have a bottle manufactured by the Gorrie Bottle Company.”

Next, Apalachicola native Frances Cook provided an important clue. She remembered the furniture company was at the corner of Avenue D and US 98 at the site of what is now “Up the Stairs” restaurant.

The furniture store occupied what had once been the Dreamland Theatre. Harry Falk, who worked at the store, remembered there were still hand-painted murals from the theatre at the rear of the building.

The building was built prior to 1900. Before it was the Gorrie Furniture Company, it was the Griffin Furniture Company. Cook remembered her mother bought furniture from Griffin in 1925, the year of her wedding.

Griffin sold the store to H. I. Flowers, who sold it to an employee W.S. Dobbins before retiring to Jacksonville . Dobbins operated it with his son-in-law William Owens who started out as an employee.

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