Last updated: 1/16/2013
Apalachicola, Florida
Street Address
46 Sixth Street
Apalachicola, FL 32329
Mailing Address
P.O. Box 267
Apalachicola, FL 32329
Hours
Sunday - Monday, Thursday - Saturday9 AM - 5 PM
except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
Admissions
museum admission fee
General Admission: $2
Children under 5: Free
Services
Gift Shop
Staff
Sandy Madsen, Park Ranger
phone: 850-653-9347
Willie McNair, Park Ranger
phone: 850-653-9347
Description

Welcome to John Gorrie Museum State Park! While visiting historic Apalachicola, let Ranger Willie McNair interpret the local history and contributions made by famous resident Dr. John Gorrie. Plan a visit to the other areas managed by the Florida Park Service; The Orman House, Chapman Gardens, and the Three Soldiers Detail. They are also located in Apalachicola and St. George Island State Park is just across the bay.

A young physician named John Gorrie moved to Apalachicola in the early 1800s when it was a prominent port of trade, commerce, and shipping in Florida. Gorrie served as postmaster, city treasurer, town councilman, and bank director. Concern for his yellow fever patients motivated Gorrie to invent a method for cooling their rooms. He became a pioneer in the field of air conditioning and refrigeration by inventing a machine that made ice, and received the first U.S. Patent for mechanical refrigeration in 1851. A replica of his ice-making machine is on display at the museum, as well as exhibits chronicling the colorful history of Apalachicola, which played an important role in Florida's economic development.

History

The coming of railroads in the 1850s affected Apalachicola's role in the formerly lucrative cotton trade. The town's dwindling economy was further shattered during the Civil War by a blockade that sealed off the harbor. The economy remained affected until a decade after the war, when a thriving lumber industry developed to revive the town's income. The town rode the crest of the lumber boom until 1930, when the Apalachicola River floodplain was stripped of cypress. Facing another economic crash, Apalachicola began to capitalize on a readily available natural resource. The bay had been a source of sponges and seafood since the early settlement days and seafood canning became the tow's main industry

Ice Machine

A true citizen of Apalachicola: Arriving in 1833 and remaining until his death in 1855, Dr. John Gorrie, a brilliant physician and inventor, developed a refrigeration unit used to cool the rooms of yellow fever patients. His machine laid the groundwork for modern refrigeration and air conditioning and was the first patented ice machine.

Yellow Jack

Yellow Fever was a mysterious, vicious disease that claimed up to 70 percent of its victims. Symptoms began with shivering, high fever, insatiable thirst, savage headaches and severe back and leg pains. In a day or so, the restless patient became jaundiced, turning yellow. In the terminal stages, patients spit up blood, blood temperatures dropped, pulse faded and the comatose patient, who was cold to the touch, would die in eight to 10 hours. Victims were buried as quickly as possible. Areas were quarantined and yellow flags flown. Gauze was hung over beds to filter air, handkerchiefs were soaked in vinegar and garlic was worn in shoes. Bed linens and compresses were soaked in camphor and sulfur was burned in outdoor smudge pots. Gunpowder was burned and cannons were fired. When it was over, cleaning and fumigation began.

Governance

Dept Envir Protection

Services

Gift Shop

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We are a design and fabrication shop that encourages play in museums, organizations and brands so they may spread the roots of their mission. Play is a powerful tool because it tests assumptions, makes connections and establishes a positive emotional memory to concepts. Incorporating play (interactives) in your project can actually boost diversity, loyalty and engagement which will ultimately strengthen your mission.

MUSEUM CONFERENCES
Monday, November 29 - Wednesday, December 1, 2021 — Washington, District of Columbia
2021 International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums
Washington, District of Columbia
Saturday, March 5 - Tuesday, March 8, 2022 — Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Association of Museums Annual Conference 2022
Richmond, Virginia
Sunday, March 6 - Thursday, March 10, 2022 — St. Louis, Missouri
2022 Public Land Alliance Convention and Trade Show
St. Louis, Missouri
Wednesday, March 16 - Friday, March 18, 2022 — Kingsport, Tennessee
Tennessee Association of Museums 2022 Annual Conference
Kingsport, Tennessee
Tuesday, March 22 - Friday, March 25, 2022 — Waco, Texas
Texas Association of Museums 2022 - Growing Together: Tackling The Challenges Of Today & Tomorrow
Waco, Texas
Thursday, April 7 - Saturday, April 9, 2022 — Point Pleasant, West Virginia
West Virginia Association of Museums 2022 Conference
Point Pleasant, West Virginia
Sunday, May 15 - Saturday, May 28, 2022 — Statesboro, Georgia
Center of Excellence Tick Workshop 2022
Statesboro, Georgia
Monday, May 16 - Wednesday, May 18, 2022 — St. Louis, Missouri
InterActivity 2022: Play The Long Game -Association of Children's Museums
St. Louis, Missouri
Thursday, May 19 - Sunday, May 22, 2022 — Slinger, Wisconsin
2022 Fire Museum Seminar
Slinger, Wisconsin
Sunday, June 19 - Wednesday, June 22, 2022 — Golden, Colorado
2022 Country School Association of America Conference
Golden, Colorado
Monday, August 1 - Friday, August 5, 2022 — Owings Mills, Maryland
ASSOCIATION OF NATURE CENTER ADMINISTRATORS 2022 ANNUAL SUMMIT
Owings Mills, Maryland
Wednesday, September 14 - Saturday, September 17, 2022 — Buffalo, New York
American Association for State and Local History 2022 On-site and Virual Conferences
Buffalo, New York