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
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
Owens played Class D baseball and visited
Dobbins, also a baseball enthusiast, was instrumental in bringing players to the area, sometimes boarding them. The team recruited players from
Gorrie Furniture must have prospered because Falk, Owens’s son-in-law, said, “In the early days all the local communities had little furniture stores. We also had stores in Carrabelle and Sopchoppy.”
Falk managed the Carrabelle store. None of the furniture was manufactured locally.
Harry’s wife, Ida Falk, Owens’s daughter, remembered traveling as a child by train to
During the 1950s, when developers converted the officers’ quarters at
Falk said the store sometimes ordered pieces to be made to specifications, and those pieces were stamped with the name Gorrie Furniture Company, so the chair discovered by
After Owens died, the store passed to his daughters, Ida and Barbara, who sold it to Charles Marks, Sr. He turned it into an antique store and eventually, Coastal Telephone rented the upper floor for storage.
Cook said in the early 1970s, the store had become rundown, and the area around it frequented by drunks. It may have been a derelict who started the fire by which the building was destroyed in 1972.
The fire started at the back door. At around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 3, the Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department received a call about a warehouse fire on Avenue D and
Janice Martina remembers walking downtown to watch the conflagration, and Delores Roux said she and her husband drove over from Eastpoint.
An article in the Times reported that a number of young men who were not official firefighters pitched in to help extinguish the blaze. "That’s the way this little town is, when trouble comes, they all stick together,” a witness said.
Among those who joined the fight were Richard Zingarelli, Wayne Joiner, Terry Wyklingett and David Amison.
The fire was so hot it broke out windows of buildings across
Fire Chief Joe Zingarelli, among the first on the scene, said the cause of the fire appeared to be arson.
George Martina, who managed an antique shop on the first floor, said the second level was a total loss and most of his stock suffered water damage.
An estimated $33,000 in damage was caused by the fire, which in today’s dollars would be $184,000.