Bring your holiday guests and share the history of Old St. Joseph and the Constitution Convention Museum.
The original settlement of Old St. Joseph was founded in 1835. In its short life it was an important trading port along the Gulf of Mexico. Because of its ease of portage and proximity to Tallahassee, the promoters of Old St. Joseph selected it to host Florida’s first Constitutional Convention. In 1838 fifty-six territorial delegates drafted Florida’s first of five state constitutions. In 1845 Florida was admitted to the union as its 27th state.
Old St. Joseph was a growing boomtown and one of the wealthiest communities in the territory, with the very rich developing the area into a premier playground for their vacation destination. This plan for the community was shattered in 1841 when a yellow fever epidemic devastates the population; dropping it from thousands to less than 500 people in just a few months. The final blow came to Old St. Joseph in 1844 when a hurricane devastates the area.
Though a few people remained, the new town of Port St. Joe never regained those glorious years of notoriety and growth until the early 1900’s. Port St. Joe was founded just north of the site of Old St. Joseph. The few remains of the old town can be seen at the historic cemetery on Garrison Avenue and at the Constitution Convention Museum State Park on Allen Memorial Way in Port St. Joe.
The Constitution Convention Museum State Park consists of 12.5 acres of slash and longleaf pines, Sable palm trees, live oak and southern magnolia trees. Displayed on the grassy mall is a marble monument dedicated to thedrafting of Florida’s first constitution in 1838. The museum houses a collection of artifacts from Paleo-Indians, Spanish occupation, the boom period of Old St. Joseph, the civil war era, and the first Florida railroads. A full sized diorama depicting the convention hall and five delegates that signed this first Florida constitution is on display in the Constitution Convention Museum’s convention chamber room.
Tours through the Constitution Convention Museum are self-guided. A Park Ranger is on staff to answer questions. Schools and large groups are welcome and guided tours are available. We request that large groups please notify the museum before they arrive. Those who wish to have a beautiful location under the pines for weddings are welcome to use the mall for their event. Electricity is available if needed. Contact the museum for fees information.
Museum hours are Thursday through Monday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. ET. Fees are $2 per adult, children under 6 are free.
More information on the Constitutional Convention Museum State Park can be found on our website www.floridastateparks.org/constitutionconvention/default.cfm or by calling the museum at 229-8029.