Last week as the first entry in our “Chasing Shadows” column, the Times asked for information about this old saloon.

Local historian Mark Curenton really came through for us.

“I believe the photograph is from Franklin County, Florida: Its Resources, Advantages, Possibilities, a promotional book published in 1901,” he wrote in an email, noting that a photocopy of the book is in fiels of the Apalachicola Area Historical Society.

“The sign on the shell of the building on the corner between the Owl Café and the Grady Market says that was the location of the Oriental Saloon, but I believe that is in error. The article in The Times about the 1900 fire describes Hall’s saloon as being on the corner of Centre Street (Avenue D) and Water Street. The trouble is it does not say which corner, and the 1897 and 1903 Sanborn maps show saloons on both corners. The lot on the north side of Centre Street was owned by the Porters. The lot on the south side of Centre Street was owned by the Orman estate.

“The Nov. 24, 1900 article in The Times about rebuilding the downtown mentions that Hall’s saloon was in the new brick building owned by the Orman estate, which would put him on the corner by The Tin Shed. J. J. Gannon was on the opposite corner. This is confirmed by other articles in The Times. On March 23, 1901, it was noted that “Mr. R. F. Porter will build a one story brick building 30 x 70 feet on the lot now occupied by Mr. J. J. Gannon.

“On June 15, 1901, it was noted that ‘Contractor Hecker is rushing the work on the Porter building on the corner of Water and Centre streets, and before long Mr. Gannon will be in his new quarters.’ Since the Porters owned the lot on the north corner, that would be where Gannon’s saloon was. Hall’s saloon would have been on the south corner, on the Orman lot.

Chasing Shadows, a new column, is intended to uncover hidden Franklin County history and help complete the captions of pictures in the state collection. If you have information about a picture her, or have a picture to share, please contact the Times at 653-8868 or email