Upcoming Events & Exhibits

Museum Day

Honoring Our Military

Saturday, May 1, 10 am - 5 pm

Military Appreciation Display

Back by popular demand all three of Carrabelle’s wonderful museums will open their doors on Saturday, May 1, 2021 as part of a special rescheduled Museum Day. In salute to this day, Carrabelle History Museum, Camp Gordon Johnston WWII Museum, and Crooked River Lighthouse Museum will have special activities and displays.

This year, the Carrabelle museums will use Museum Day to pay tribute to the members of our country’s Armed Forces past and present as part of National Military Appreciation Month. Military Appreciation Month was officially designated by Congress in 1999. Every year, the president issues a proclamation reminding Americans to celebrate this patriotic month by honoring those who have served in all branches of service. May was chosen because it has many individual days marked to note our military's achievements, including Memorial Day, Loyalty Day (established in 1921), Victory in Europe (VE) Day commemorating the end of WWII in Europe in 1945, Children of Fallen Patriots Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Armed Forces Day.

Come see our new display honoring Franklin County's Military Servicemen representing WW1, WW2, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Featured are Willie F. Grice (WW1), Walter J. Mallett (WW2), Dr. George Sands (WW2), Claude L. Stokes (Korean), and Robert "Cliff" Millender (Vietnam). Exhibit opens Saturday, May 1 at 10 am.  nding in part by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council. For more information, contact 850-697-2141.   

Duke Energy

Special Exhibit: Founding of Carrabelle

Christmas Eve will mark the 139th anniversary of the official creation of the Town of Carrabelle. The incorporation of Carrabelle was officially recorded on Christmas Eve in 1881 by Franklin County.

In honor of this historic date, the Carrabelle History Museum announces the opening of a new exhibit documenting this important event. This special exhibit will open Wednesday, December 9 at 12 pm. The exhibit and museum are open every Wednesday and Sunday from 12-5 pm and every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am-5 pm (except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day). There is no charge for admission but donations are gladly accepted to help defray costs.

The community of “Rio Carrabella” was formed in 1877 when Oliver Hudson Kelley set up a tent on the east side of the river in Carrabelle, moved in his wife and 5 daughters then declared himself the mayor. He began immediately to organize the community. Nineteen (19) local residents who were registered Franklin County voters signed an incorporation petition and sent it to the county. This petition established the legal city boundaries and government structure. Carrabelle was incorporated the day before Christmas 1881 so on that date, Carrabelle officially became a town with its present name. This special exhibit will focus on introducing the Articles of Incorporation and five of the original Founding Fathers, including Oliver Hudson Kelley.

Carrabelle History Museum is located at 106 SE Avenue B, in historic downtown Carrabelle, FL. For more information, contact the museum at 850-697-2141 or carrabellehistorymuseum@gmail.com. Funded in part by the Franklin County Tourist Development Council.

Gulf Terminal and Navigation Company's dock in Carrabelle, circa 1895, Credit: Florida Memory


Past Events & Exhibits


Turpentine in North Florida: History Talk with Barbara Clark & Bonnie Allen


C-Quarters Marina, Hwy 98, Carrabelle, FL

Join the Carrabelle History Museum as we host another engaging history program, “History of the Turpentine Industry in North Florida” featuring Barbara Clark, Region Director for Florida Public Archaeology Network - North Central Region (FPAN) and Bonnie Allen, Park Services Specialist, Florida Park Service. Learn about the impact the turpentine industry also known as naval stores, had on Florida’s history and economy including racial relations during Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era and industrial innovation. This program will also share insights into the local history of the turpentine industry in the Big Bend Region and highlight some of Zora Neale Hurston's research at turpentine camps. Funded in part by the Franklin County TDC. There is no fee for this program. Thanks to our sponsors C-Quarters Marina, Centennial Bank, and Shaun Donahoe Realty. For more information, contact 850-697-2141. 

Speaker's Series: Turpentine in North Florida, POSTPONED, Carrabelle, FL. Carrabelle and Forgotten Coast History




by Joan Matey

An unusual and memorable gathering took place in the fishing town of Carrabelle Florida this past Saturday.( September 3, 2011) A group of people all bonded by a shared family tragedy, and all having a bit of an obsession with the same old boat, came to the grand opening of the S.S.TARPON exhibit at the Carrabelle History Museum. Gathered were the descendants of the crew of the steam ship Tarpon, which sank less than

10 miles off the coast of Panama City in 1937 due to a severe storm, too much cargo and a proud, and overly determined captain.

Many were the grandchildren of survivors, some the relatives of the Second Mate who perished trying to save the 81 year old Captain. Almost all of the families reported having a photo of the ship somewhere in their homes. They were very excited to finally meet others with last names they were so familiar with. The Mattairs, McKnights, Smiths and Russells (and related families)) were able to share stories of the horrible ordeal, with details that their grandparents had told them so many times. Discussions included who was clinging to the hatch cover or the mast, plus comments on operations before the wreck.... like how much faster the roustabouts would work, when the captain was watching. The museum staff was able to get some positive identification on photos they were unsure of, and extra tidbits to add to the exploration of this fascinating, certainly film-worthy story.

The SS TARPON had a long career. She was part of Henry Plant's transportation empire in the late 1880s and part of Flagler's fleet at the turn of the century. The vessel was sold to a panhandle firm in 1902. TARPON served the northern gulf coast until its demise in 1937, carrying freight and passengers 'til 1930, and from then on, mainly hauling freight. The steam powered ship cruised weekly from Mobile to Carrabelle. Older folks referred to her as Carrabelle's Queen Mary. "This was a very significant era in the history of Franklin County and the Gulf Coast," said museum director, Tamara Allen.

To keep your curiosity high, I won't tell you the entire story in this article. The Carrabelle History Museum hopes that everyone will come to our friendly little town, check out our special exhibit, have a great seafood dinner and take a walk on our beach! (Remember we depend on you visitors to keep our wonderful restaurants going during the off -season.) "The Last Voyage of the S.S. TARPON" will be displayed through Thanksgiving weekend. The Carrabelle History Museum is open on Fridays and Saturdays or by appointment. Call (850) 524-1153.

(The Carrabelle History Museum is at 106 Avenue B Carrabelle FL 32322 [Behind the BP Station on Hwy 98]
Joan Matey is former manager of the 1843 Knott House in Tallahassee and is currently curator at the
Crooked River Lighthouse and the Carrabelle History Museum.) 

P.S Attention Divers: The remains of the wrecked vessel can be located via the State Underwater Archaeological Preserve. 


Tarpon Exhbit