“There are people here who’ve made history,” said Mayor Mel Magidson Jr., as he surveyed the room at the St. Joseph Historical Society meeting.
Magidson was the guest speaker at the group’s annual meeting which took place Friday at Sunset Coastal Grill.
President Charlotte Pierce welcomed everyone, led the invocation and reviewed the previous year before enjoying a meal from the local establishment.
After dinner Magidson shared some of Port St. Joe’s historical treasures from the group that he’d found in his mother’s collection including a photo of the 1948 Rotary baseball team, and the very first issue of The Star newspaper printed at the local paper mill in 1938.
Magidson brought these artifacts to remind those in attendance that July will mark the town’s 100th anniversary and will be celebrated with many events over the summer.
The memorabilia emphasized town’s rich and occasionally disastrous history.
In an article from 1839, Old St. Joseph was noted for having the third railroad in Florida and the 12th in the United States.
Another column mentioned that the town had over 6,000 residents at its peak.
Magidson shared a personal story about his great grandfather who had the first brick building in town which eventually became a famous boarding house.
On a more somber note, members discussed an outbreak of yellow fever in 1841 and viewed an article from the a 1955 Mobile Press Register that detailed the destruction of Port St. Joe at the hands of a hurricane.
Magidson brought up the tumultuous events not to sadden the group but to remind them, “We’re not going to go anywhere. We’re going to stick around.”
After the Mayor’s speech, the Officers of the Historical Society which included Piece, Vice President Lynda Bordelon, Recording Secretary Linda Wood, Treasurer Pauline Pendarvis, and Parliamentarian Paula Boone were sworn in for the 2013 year and presented Magidson with a check for $5,000 to be donated toward the Cape San Blas Lighthouse relocation and restoration project.
“It’s important that everyone sees it and everyone knows it,” said Pierce of the lighthouse. “It’s important that everyone remembers Cape San Blas.”