Ground was broken last month, and construction is expected to soon begin on the new Camp Gordon Johnston Museum, fronting the Gulf of Mexico on U.S. 98, across from the Carrabelle Beach Pavilion.
At a ceremony Sept 24, a line of dignitaries lined up with shovels to pitch the first dirt on the 1.3 acre tract, that will eventually house a one-story 4,000 square feet building containing the collection of the museum, that commemorates the sprawling World War II encampment that trained soldiers for the amphibious landings in the Atlantic and the Pacific theatres of war.
Among those on hand was 98-year-old county resident John Gilbert, who trained at Camp Gordon Johnston and later retired here. Also present was Mary Britz, a nurse during the war, who was escorted to the groundbreaking by Bob Dietz, also a World War II vet.
Taking part in the ceremony, which was led by museum board member David Butler, dressed in a vintage MP uniform of the era, were Jay Bostwick, from Sperry Building Systems; Carrabelle City Commissioner Cal Allen; Molly Mitchell, from Inovia; Tony Minichiello, a member of the museum’s building committee. Florida State Senator Bill Montford; Franklin County Commissioner William Massey; Carrabelle Mayor Brenda La Paz; Franklin County TDC Director Curt Blair; Capt. Chester Reese, a TDC member from Carrabelle; and Brian Mimbs, regional director representing U.S. Senator Marco Rubio.
Montford told the audience that he and State Rep. Halsey Beshears plan to seek state aid for the project, expected to cost about $400,000 for construction.
After buying the property for $280,000, the museum organization put up $150,000. The Tourist Developent Council has provided $250,000 for the project.
Construction is expected to begin soon, Bostwick said, once all the permitting is complete.