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T.H.Stone Memorial Park - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Florida History

The T. H. Stone Memorial St Joseph Peninsula State Park is is situated in Port St Joe on Cap San Blas Rd.

This area was once occupied by those Native Americans known as The Weedon Culture. This would have been from around 5000 to 2000 A. D. so they were one of the earliest occupants of what is now known as Florida They were the hunter gatherers who found this area to be rich in opportunity. The Weedon Culture has been traced from Mobile Bay to Tampa Bay

From 1000 B. C. The Mississippi culture arrived and they made contact with the Weedon peoples.

The next period of note was the arrival of the Europeans; this was in the mid 17th century; in the arly 18th century the Brits led raids and took into slavery Indians and Spanish folk and transported them to Charleston. St Josephs was left abandoned until 1718 when the French made an unsuccesful effort to build a fort. They were vanquished by the Spanish people of Pensacola.

By 1817, we had the Spanish in conflict with the English, Austrians and French. Pensacola was captured in this skirmish and a fort was erected on the peninsula. As that year ended there were 1200 souls living in this area; these were slaves and convicts and their families from Vera Cruz, Mexico and Cuba.

Four years later, this area had once more been abandoned and the fort was mostly taken down and moved to Pensacola to create a Presido.

In 1835, St Joseph was a thriving port and four years later a light house was built. The yellow fever epidemic of 1841 destroyed this community and a severe hurricane in 1844 destroyed the remnants of the old fort.

The light house continued to be used til 1847 and 4 years on this too was destroyed by a hurricane. Buildings were not constructed to withstand severe hurricanes until more recently.

We move forward now to the early 1900s when a bath house was built on Eagle Harbour for the benefit of the tourist who wanted to swim or boat. Fish Camps were constructed and a dar pilots house was built by the tip.

In the years of World War Two bombing and fire arms practice took place here and also in the Korean War (1962/3)

You can still see the roads they bulldozed and the campsite and this gives you a flavour of its varied and sometimes turbulent history.

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