Sixty years ago in 1957, the war was 12 years behind us and the Greatest Generation was flourishing in post-war America. With cars in their garages and money in their pockets, a nation of World War II veterans was looking for places to vacation with their growing families and Carrabelle looked like paradise. It seemed like prosperity was assured for the seaside fishing village.
Our Chasing Shadows question this week is: What was the location of the Three Rivers Cottages? If you know, please contact the Times at 653-8868 or Lois Swoboda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charter boat fleet largest in Big Bend
Carrabelle’s tremendous growth can be traced to the ever-growing sports fishing industry, and every day, more and more are learning the value of fishing from these fast growing docks.
At the present time there are 13 boats for hire to satisfy the insatiable hunger of the never-ending stream of fishermen who have heard of the charter boat trade in this city.
Newest of the fleet is the “Cavalier II” owned by Snow Cook and captained by Earnest Gay; the “Miss Panama” owned by Rhyne Williams and skippered by Clarence Jackson.’
Others are the “Billy” owned by Leon Langston and skippered by Captain Dave Thompson; the B&B owned by Leon Langston and skippered by Gerald Minschew; the “Georgia Boy” owned by Riley Akers and Leon Langston with Captain Frank Murrey at the wheel.
Smaller boats making up the large fleet of boats that cater to party fishing are: “The Kingfish” owned and skippered by Capt. Villa; “The Tiger Shark”, owned by Clay Logan and captained by Ned Ferguson; “The Alice Joyce” owned by Russell Wathen and skippered by the owner; “The Edna” owned and captained by Captain Charles Ufer; “The Florida” owned and captained by Wilbur Everett; “The Tippy” owned by the Jackson Brothers with Captain Earl Jackson; “The Dipsey” owned by the Jackson with Captain Elbert Jackson.
A smaller boat catering to troll fishing is the “Dolphin” owned by Fred Sawyer, Jr. and plotted by Captain Leon Langston, alo0ng with others from the commercial fleet that serve as charted boats during times when regular charter boats is unavailable.
The success of the sports fishing industry is due, in part, to the captains and crew of the many boats. The many years they have spent on the waters enabled them to know the fishing grounds and they make every effort to see that each and every group lands at the dock with capacity strings.
Carrabelle’s tremendous growth traced to sports fishing and small industry
From a small fishing village to a city with 12 hotels and motels and six eating establishments and a number of deep sea fishing vessels, Carrabelle has in the past decade grown to be the largest, most popular deep sea fishing port in the Big Bend area.
Starting with one vessel, the demand became great because of the nearness to the fishing grounds and the ability of skippers to always produce a profitable fishing areas, the city commission has been forced to mark the streets for traffic lanes and enact new laws that parking will be available and, at the present time, lots are at a premium where parking can be handled.
Of course, the weekend is not the only busy time. Since scarcity of securing reservations over the weekend, many sportsmen from the neighboring states of Alabama and Georgia are now taking advantage of the midweek to partake of their favorite sport and it will be only a matter of time until boats will be leaving Carrabelle for the deep sea grounds daily and with capacity loads.
With Lanark Village developing faster and faster each day and the addition of more and more small business in the city, building has reached an all-time peak with many new houses cropping up here and there about the city limits.
Far-sighted persons saw this influx of business over the horizon a number of years ago and, in the process of long-range planning, the city constructed a eight bed hospital on March 4, 1955 and this was all done popular subscription and through the efforts of the Lion’s Club of which most of the businessmen take an active part. Landscaping being done at the hospital and the city as a whole by an active group of women flying the banner of Yaupon Club.
Only last year the hospital had outgrown their capacity and at that time 16 more beds were added to the structure making it one of the most modern and complete hospitals in the smaller cities in the area.
At the present time there are about 200 families residing at Lanark Village, where they have a goodly number of community services such as active clubs, a lounge and restaurant, beauty shop and others and work is now under construction for a boat basin to serve this fast-growing community on the Gulf.
To the already crowded dock space that is available for party and commercial fishing boats new dock space is being made available by Wilbert Everett who is at the present time erecting a two-story building, 24 x 36, with berths for two boats, next to the city docks.
Friday of last week, four boats returned from the Gulf with over2400 pounds of grouper, red snapper, kingfish and others. This is not unusual, as can be testified by the sportsmen who stated “that this was about like it was the last time they were here”, many returning again and again and bringing with them others, who cannot conceive of this phenomenal fishing grounds.
Over the weekend motels and hotels were sold out early and parties were being turned away or booking space for the week to follow.
Probably nowhere is there more miles or means of catching fish than there is in Franklin County, both fresh and saltwater varieties that anxious anglers, no matter what their choice can be assured a hamper full of the variety of his choice.
Is it any wonder the city has progressed? And what does the local merchant and businessman think of this trend of business?
In a conversation with one merchant it was stated, “and would you believe we sell more toys during the summer season than we do at Christmas time…” the in conjunction with clothes, fishing tackle and fishing supplies, cameras and films, gas and oil, food of all kinds, not to mention money spent for accommodations and the like.
What do they plan to do to handle the ever growing crowds that come to this city for their recreation?
More and more plans are underway for new motels and dock space and a few months more there will be available new channels where party boats may tie in, but until dredging is completed the location must lay idle.
New houses are being built and others remodeled and lots for building are now at a premium in the general variety of the city proper. There is talk about extending the city limits that new persons will find a desirable place to build so they can enjoy the hospitality of the citizenry and perhaps enter into business of some type that will be consistent with the growth of Carrabelle the deep sea fishing capital of the Great Big Bend.
Motels up no vacancy signs early each week
According to the latest census from the Hotel Commission, Franklin County rates second in North Florida in the construction of motels and Carrabelle has more than done its part in making this statistic a fact.
Of the approximate eight motels that are in operation in the city and nearby, plans are now underway for the construction of new ones, and additions to those that have already outgrown their usefulness, which are supported mostly by the large number of sports fishermen who visit the city each week.
Besides motels, there are two hotels and numerous cottages and rooms in private homes that are rented to visiting fishermen. According to one motel owner they have all the rooms booked for the remainder of the summer and have been in this condition since the start of the season.
The two hotels, the Seabreeze, owned by Willie Grice and the Colonial Hotel, owned by Leon Langston, are filled by both transient and local, nearly the year round.
Cottages available are at Three Rivers Cottages, operated by Lewis Johnson and the Higgins Cottages, John Higgins owner.
Motels with many room capacity are: The Gulf Water, owned by Mr. Bowen; Lanark Station, Tom Yancy; Ell’s Court, Frank Ell; The Warner just recently purchased by James and Trace and The Georgia by Mr. and Mrs. Trollop.
Others are Cook’s Motel, owned and operated by Snow Cook; the Carrabelle Motor Court, operated by Leon Langston and the Sea Gull by Mr. and Mrs. Trollop.
Cafés play important part in sports fishing success
Along with the tremendous growth of the sports fishing industry in Carrabelle, eating establishments of note have sprang up to accommodate the many who travel here to enjoy a day on the Gulf.
Newest one opened to the public is “Ruth’s” operated by Ruth Ason and located just across the bridge on Highway 98 another “Sportsman’s Café” newly decorated and operated by L. E. Nelson a newcomer to the city of Carrabelle.
But probably the most known, because of the fact they have been in business longer, are the “White Kitchen” located near the docks and operated by the Papadoupolous family. “The Triangle” located near the new gym and operated by Raymond Waldon and the “Carrabelle Café” located in the heart of the city operated by Nick Thomas.
For those who fish freshwater, along with the deep sea, accommodations and eating are enjoyed at the “Three Rivers Cottages” operated by Lewis Johnson.
Because of the great influx of sports fishermen in the city, these establishments are becoming known far and near for the quality of foods and hospitality for which they are noted.