The History Behind the Historic East End!
Welcome to the Waterfront Headquarters of Panama City Beach, Florida! Looking for an adventurous beach vacation? This is your place to visit. It’s nothing short of fun for everyone, as it’s résumé includes a long list of things to do. It is known to be home to a legendary fishing fleet, watercraft sports, a gorgeous uninhabited island, Florida’s most visited and beautiful State Park, and pirates… Yes, you read right—Pirates! How does that sound for adventure?
Photo Courtesy of Visit Florida
For all who visit, the Historic East End of PCB is where the fun begins, but the history behind it is as rich and deep as the Gulf of Mexico. Before it was an established town, the St. Andrew Bay area was home to Native Americans. Enter in the Pirates. The deep pockets of the Bay were ideal for pirates to settle down and wait for merchant ships en route to Mexico or Spain. Ever see someone at Shanty Point on Shell Island walking around with metal detectors? Well, there’s a theory out there that many pirates buried their treasures in the area for safe keeping!
Want more historical overview? Here are 10 fun facts to know about the quaint area:
- General Andrew Jackson and his army brought national attention to the area in 1818 after disbelief of how lawless it was.
- The first “beach club” was actually a pavilion located on Shell Island, but was then later moved to the present Pineapple Willy’s location.
Photo Courtesy of State Archives of Florida
- After Gideon Thomas built the Panama City Hotel, many people criticized his vision because they couldn’t comprehend the future of white sand attracting tourism. Thomas cleverly responded, “I’m not attempting to grow vegetables here; I’m going to grow people.” It’s like they say, you have to follow your intuition!
- The area that now houses Edgewater Beach & Golf Resort was filled with stables and navy barracks during World War II.
- Sailors wore white uniforms to camouflage against the tall, white sandy dunes during World War II and kept a lookout for German submarines lurking offshore.
- The German sub U-67 sunk Empire Mica, an unescorted US steam tanker, on June 29, 1942.
- The old-time “Cracker” turpentine still and turn-of-the-century sawmill have since been restored and are still located in St. Andrews State Park.
- Andrews State Park wasn’t always open to the public. In the 1940s it was a Sound Military Reservation. It wasn’t until 1951 that it became open to the general public for all to enjoy.
Image Courtesy of Visit Florida
- When you visit the area, “Captain Anderson” and Grand Lagoon fishing fleet may come up once or twice. That’s because Captain Walter Anderson founded the development of the Grand Lagoon fishing fleet.
- Florida’s largest and the world’s 14th-largest Blue Marlin was caught at the Bay Point Billfish Invitational Tournament (one of the best fishing competitions in the nation) weighing in at 1,046 pounds. Whew! That’s big! That infamous Marlin is still displayed at Capt. Anderson’s Waterfront Restaurant!
Image Courtesy of National Geographic
Who knew we had so much history in Panama City Beach? Use your newfound knowledge when you come visit us for your next beach vacation, and make sure you make it a priority to visit the Historic East End. Don’t forget to bring a metal detector—who knows…You just might find buried treasure!