Eighty years ago, in 1937, the Panhandle had its share of celebrities. The renowned Oliver Gramling of Associated Press summered at Money Bayou while working on a historic book, and Ed Ball controlled the fate of much of the population. Gramling’s book was actually published under the title “AP the Story News” in 1940.

WHO’S HAUNTING YOU? Our Chasing Shadows question this week. Do you have a Franklin County spook story? Chasing Shadows is seeking to compile a few creepy tales for the October issues of the Times. Did your daddy hook a sea monster? Was you great aunt Tilda a weather witch? Do you know any stories about local hants, apparitions or fiends? If you can spin a weird tale, please call the Times at 653-8868 or email Lois Swoboda at lswoboda@starfl.com.


How ‘Bout a Weed Cutting?

Apalachicola citizens have always boasted of having one of the most attractive cities in the south, but surely such cannot be said now with much pride, with the weeds in their heighth of growth on vacant lots and streets.

For the sake of safety and health the weeds on vacant lots about the city should be cut. The health-giving qualities so rich in Florida sunshine cannot be very helpful unless these steps are taken at once. This cry is being heard everywhere, not only our own little town but constant requests are being made in other cities to clear out those unhealthy conditions. Only a little time and cost will do the work.

Weeds and shrubbery at corners of streets also afford a blind to drivers of cars and it is very difficult to see a car coming along a cross street until the thoroughfare is reached, which is sometimes almost too late to properly observe traffic rules.

If property owners do not heed to the necessity of clearing away vacant lots of weeds and debris, then the city should take it in hand—have it done and assess the property owner. In this way the “clean up” will be uniform and certain.

The cutting of weeds alone will add 100 percent to the attractiveness of Apalachicola – GET TO WORK.


Oliver Gramling writing book on vacation

Oliver Gramling, executive assistant of the Associated Press, is spending the month of August at Money Bayou writing a book which will be the basis of a featured motion picture on the history of the Associated Press and the part it has played in the development of the free American press.

The AP official, a nephew of H. L. Oliver, Apalachicola banker, arrived this week from New York. As assistant to Kent Cooper, general manager of the Associated Press is in charge of the membership department of the worldwide news gathering organization.

The book, part of which has already been completed, will be entitled, “Freedom of the Press.” It will be published next spring.

The motion picture, under the same title, is to be the No. 1 film production by Selznick International Pictures, Inc. It will be Technicolor and will trace the romantic development of the great news organization from the origin of systematic news gathering in 1811 to the present day.

Both book and the film will be authenticated by intimate records of the Associated Press never before made public. David O. Selznick, president of the motion picture company bearing his name, plans for the movie to be the first true story of newspaper life ever produced.

After returning to New York in September, Gramling will go to Hollywood to act as technical supervisor of the film.

The 32-year old AP official is a native of Tallahassee and spent much of his boyhood around Apalachicola. His mother, Mrs. Edna Gramling of Tallahassee, is spending the month with him.


Miss Dodd’s art work selected for university display

Miss Mary Dodd, a teacher at the public schools of Apalachicola, who is attending summer art classes at Columbia University, New York, has been honored by the selection of several pieces of her work for the annual art exhibition at the University which opened this week. She is studying for a Master’s Degree from Columbia.

“Like many other grade teachers who teach general subjects, I believe in correlating art work with every other subject,” said Miss Dodd at a roundtable discussion at the university. “In Florida, as in all progressive places, we realize more and more in our general teaching that art work is of fundamental importance in the development of the pupil. Art affords children and opportunity to find a fascinating way to express the impressions they receive from their daily experiences, including their other school studies. Their creative abilities are stimulated and all their school work has for them a new interest. Of still greater importance is the fact that art training may be applied in many practical ways to everyday living, to furnishing the home, to dress, social customs and even to conduct. It is thus that we feel art work is a fundamental need in all right education.”

Miss Dodd also described the art work of her pupils in featuring the life of the Seminole Indians in the murals and other work done in their art classes. Her own art work, now on exhibition, is exciting much comment from her fellow students and instructors for its charm and imaginative qualities.


Ace of Clubs Entertained at Lagoon Beach

The home of Stanley S. Sheip at Lagoon Beach was the scene of a delightful social event on Tuesday when Miss Julia Grace Harrison entertained at contract bridge in honor of Mrs. Arthur Kimball of Mobile, Ala. Her guests were the members of the Ace of Clubs of which she is a member.

Sea oats and petunias were used as floral beautifiers in the living room and on the screened porch where the games were played. Miss Jeanette Theobald was high prize winner.

Accepting Miss Harrison’s hospitality were: Mrs. W. M. Glass, Mrs. Richard J. Heyser, Mrs. C. T. Lanier, Mrs. Homer Marks, Mrs. Charles L. Robbins, Mrs. Arthur Kimball and Miss Jeanette Theobald.


Historic Port St. Joe enjoying boom

A monument here marks where Florida’s first constitutional convention was held on Dec. 23, 1838 and the Wood convention hall. Which was destroyed in 1841 when the yellow fever epidemic wiped out St. Joseph (Port St. Joe), then Florida’s largest tourist and commercial city, the “Miami of 1937.”

A short distance from the Wood convention hall site are the ruins of Florida’s first circular race track – the outline of the track being plain today.

The “high life” of St. Joseph is described in Florida histories. In the winter of 1838, houses were scarce and rent high. Tourists and speculators were plentiful. Its history reads like that of Miami in “boom” time.

Sept. 5, 1836, St. Joseph completed its first railroad, nine miles in length with its northern terminus at Lake Wimlico. Its cars were pulled by mules. The St. Marks Railroad was completed a short time later with steam engines in use, extended farther north to a point on the Apalachicola River.

Then came the hurricanes and yellow fever epidemic of 1840-41 and St. Joseph was no more. Buildings containing corpse were burned. Houses left standing were destroyed by the hurricane in 1841. The once gay city was abandoned. Ships no longer rode at anchor in the great harbor of Port St. Joe.

The railroad bed has now become the roadbed of Florida’s finest highways extending from Port St. Joe to Wewahitchka. The roadbed was in perfect condition when Florida built its highway on it a few years ago.

A close-up view of the monument will show where vandals have shot out names engraved on it. The 1937 legislature appropriated $150 with which to repair these marks made by ruthless hunters and $650 more to buy all the land on which the hotel stood.

There is a new Port St. Joe now in the making. A $10,000,000 pulp mill is being erected there. Its one line railroad is prospering. New business houses are being erected. Its population has increased from 700 to 3,000 in the last six months.

Again there is a scarcity of buildings and rents are high. Big ships are entering the great port with its 27-square miles of deep water, none of which is less than 30 feet deep. The race track may be rebuilt and beginning Dec. 3, 1938, Port St. Joe will hold a celebration to commemorate the signing of Florida’s first territorial constitution for which the legislators appropriated $5,000.

The fine beaches once again teem with summer tourists. The millions of the DuPont-Ball combine and the Meade Pulp Paper Corp., of Chillicothe, Ohio, are being poured into its development. The DuPont-Ball combine owns 400,000 acres near the great port and controls 500,000 acres more. It may be properly designated the empire of DuPont-Ball with Prince Edward Ball of Jacksonville in command of its destiny. His firm is putting a bank there, which is just another small link in the Florida national group, owned by the DuPont-Ball.

The combine owns the only railroad and the telephone system. Its subsidiary companies own four miles of fine, deep waterfront property. The prosperity and happiness of its citizens depend on Edward Ball and his associates.