Apalachicola, where the River meets the Gulf of Mexico, has long been a place where people gather to enjoy the bounty of Mother Nature. Before the Spanish settlers, native Indians flourished. The name "Apalachicola" comes from the Apalachicola Tribe and is a combination of Hitchoti Indian words "apalahchi," meaning "on the other side," and "okli," meaning "people". Locals today deduce the meaning to "land of the friendly people" and often refer to their home affectionately as "Apalach."
Recognized when President Monroe appointed the first port collector in 1822, Apalachicola has long been a center for commerce, creativity and independent thinkers. A trading post called Cottonton was located on the current site of Apalachicola. In 1827, the town was incorporated as West Point. Apalachicola received its current name in 1831, by an Act of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida.
Not a typical Florida town, it has a non-pretentious sensibility that is blended from strong New England roots, charming southern traditions and an authentic "Old Florida" laid-back attitude.The maritime influence is apparent throughout the community and the ties to the river, bay and Gulf are evident. It is a seafood town, more than 90% of Florida's oyster production is harvested from Apalachicola Bay.
Although a rural area, the history as a major port has led to Apalachicola's rich cultural heritage. The port brought wealth and a diverse population, building the foundation for a great city. The original city plan, laid with wide streets and squares, was modeled after Philadelphia and is still intact today.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the sponge trade, led by Greek immigrants, was a major industry. After the turn of the 20th century, Apalachicola reinvented itself as the home to wealthy lumber barons. Seafood has always been a staple of life, and still today, the city boasts a working waterfront for a variety of seafood workers, including oyster harvesters and shrimpers.
Apalachicola has long been a haven for creative talent. Whether folk artist, or highly trained actor; refined painter, writer, singer or dancer; the arts community thrives here! Artist studios are tucked behind houses and located in the second floors of the commercial spaces downtown. Shops and galleries specialize in the work produced by local artisans and most restaurants hang local art as part of the dining experience.
It just seems like the troubles of the world slip away in Apalachicola.