Month-long program to celebrate the Hill's historic community

A brand-new shotgun house will soon be called home by an Apalachicola resident, as Save Our Shotguns Apalachicola builds its pilot project at 151 Willie Speed Boulevard.

In time for Save Our Shotguns’ second annual Pearls Celebration, SOS has announced the application process to purchase the 800-square foot house.

To qualify, the applicant must not currently own a home, must live and work in Apalachicola, meet the minimum USDA low income guideline of $41,000 for a family of four ($20,000 if over 62 years of age), and prequalify for a mortgage. When qualified, the applicant’s name will be entered into a lottery. The final contract is still being drawn up, details to be released soon. The drawing for a winner will be held in September 2018. 

Pearls is an acronym for Preserving and Embracing Apalachicola's Rich Legacy of Shotgun Houses. It showcases the Hill community’s historic houses to raise awareness of their history, beauty and usefulness for the creation of affordable housing. PEARLS events include art and history exhibits, painting and photography workshops, a weekend symposium, walking tours, poetry, oral histories, a final art auction and opening and closing parties, all free to the public.

PEARLS kicks off Saturday, April 7, 5 to 7 pm with a party celebrating art inspired by the theme: The Houses on the Hill: Every House Tells a Story. If Pearls 2017 is any indicator, get there early; last year, 70 percent of the artwork was sold the first night. The multi-media work represents artists, both professional and novice, young and old. The event is timed to coincide with Apalachicola’s popular Art and Wine Walk, where artists and musicians will be showing and demonstrating their crafts throughout the city.

Sunday, April 8, a free PEARLS reception at Apalachicola's Holy Family Senior Center will unveil 30 rare historic photos to be added to the collection donated last year to the city by Save Our Shotguns. The photos were taken in the 1950s and ‘60s, when the building served as a Catholic school and was the hub of the Hillside community.

Land use issues facing Apalachicola’s Hill community such as heir property rights, zoning, and the use of community land trusts will be tackled at a Pearls Symposium on Saturday, April 14. The symposium will include a discussion of the future of the Hill featuring community members Yvonne Tolliver, Harold Banks, Rose Griffin, Willie Mary Daniels and moderated by Mayor Van Johnson.

For those who have always wanted to take an art workshop, a free Plein Air Paint-a-Shotgun workshop with artist Kate Knapp is planned for April 10 through 12. If you’re a poet, sign up for Pearls Poetry Night on April 20 at, and if photography’s your thing, Charlie Sawyer is offering a free workshop on April 19. 

Pearls is sponsored by Save Our Shotguns Apalachicola, a non-profit all-volunteer 501(c)(3) working to preserve the historic structures of Apalachicola for affordable housing and job creation.

Locations, times and more information can be found at PEARLS is made possible by the generous support of the City of Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art, Franklin County Tourist Development Council, Florida Humanities Council, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Contact Holly Brown at for more info.