Carrabelle’s Old City Hall wins a 2020 Florida Preservation Award

One of the most long standing efforts of the Carrabelle Waterfront Partnership over the past 12 years has been the restoration of Carrabelle’s Old City Hall and its reuse as the Carrabelle History Museum. The partnership between the City of Carrabelle and the Carrabelle Historical Society was recognized on Thursday, July 30 by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation with a 2020 Florida Preservation Award. These Florida Preservation Awards recognize people, organizations and communities who have worked to protect Florida’s extraordinary history and heritage.

The Florida Preservation Award “nominations were made by the public with recipients selected by a jury from around the state representing a variety of backgrounds and experiences” according to the press release from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. “Although we are living in unprecedented times, it was important to us to continue our work recognizing excellence in historic preservation in our state,” said Florida Trust Board President Friederike Mittner. “Thank you to our award winners for all they do for preservation in our state.”

Now home to the Carrabelle History Museum, Carrabelle’s original City Hall was constructed in the 1930s Depression Era by Marvin N. Justiss, a local mason. He used handmade concrete blocks and bricks. The building was described at the time of its construction as one of the finest buildings in the state for a city of this size. The structure is a two story brick vernacular style of that period. “The restoration of this vital part of Carrabelle’s history was and is an important achievement”, says Tamara Allen, Director, Carrabelle Historical Society and Carrabelle History Museum. “The mission of the Carrabelle Historical Society is to preserve the history and culture of Carrabelle and to serve as an inspiration for the future. Rehabilitating the Old City Hall, such a significant anchor in the heart of our historical downtown, is a meaningful part of that mission.”

This project’s success was due to a true cooperative effort of many partners - the Carrabelle Waterfront Partnership, Carrabelle Historical Society, Florida Department of State–Division of Historical Resources, the City of Carrabelle, MLD Architects and Godfrey Builders. According to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, “The project promotes the concept that sustainability of a historic site begins with its ability to engage its community. The Historic Carrabelle City Hall is not only significant for its long-standing association with the history of Florida, but also because of its past and future legacy of a commitment to serve, teach, inspire and support both current and future generations.”

For more information, contact the Carrabelle History Museum at 850-697-2141 or carrabellehistorymuseum@gmail.com or go to https://www.floridatrust.org/post/florida-trust-for-historic-preservation-announces-2020-florida-preservation-awards


The Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) selected the City of Carrabelle as a Florida Waterfronts Partnership Program Community for the 2007 to 2009 cycle. The purpose of this two-year process of technical assistance and training for Carrabelle is to assist the local citizens create a shared plan for the revitalization of our traditional working waterfront areas. This took place by organizing a Carrabelle Waterfronts Partnership, a Steering Committee, holding community wide meetings, developing a community vision and an action plan. Then the Waterfront Partnership implemented projects, programs and activities from the plan.

DCA provided a small amount of funding, $25,000 each year, for designated communities to carry out these activities. It was matched by the community of Carrabelle through contributions of funds, goods, services or volunteer hours from local residents, businesses and other groups interested in the redevelopment of the waterfront area. No city tax dollars were paid for these activities

The City partnered with Carrabelle CARES to write the grant and serve as the program manager. It is important to note this designation continues after the initial two years. The designation alone will assist Carrabelle in receiving funding from many other grant and government sources.  The program addressed four areas of our community: revitalizing the working waterfronts, preventing damage from disasters, increasing public access to the waterfront in Carrabelle, protecting environmental and cultural resources. To date these efforts have brought over $300,000 to Carrabelle at no cost to the City. When the state funding ended, Carrabelle CARES agreed to continue supporting the implementation of the vision plan through September 2015 at no cost to the City.

The Carrabelle Waterfront Partnership Steering Committee meets monthly on the second Wednesday of each month at 3:00 pm at the Carrabelle Branch of the Franklin County Public Library.  The meetings are open to the public and all are welcome.  We are always seeking new volunteers for the Steering Committee. The group serves as volunteer staff for the City of Carrabelle and reports to the City Commission on the first Thursday of every month at thier meeting which begins at 6:00 pm at the Munciple Complex.

For more information or to volunteer to help with this effort, please contact:

Tamara Allen, Program Manager
Carrabelle Waterfront Partnership
PO Box 666, 701 Marine Street
Carrabelle, FL 32322
Phone: 850.697.2141
Fax 850-697-2142

If you're visiting the area, you might be interested in a day trip.  Lots of things to see and do along the way.

In addition to Tallahasseee, Florida's state capital, the Big Bend Scenic Byway connects 4 Florida Waterfronts Partnership communities and 3 historic lighthouses.

2015 Waterfronts Program Managers Meeting an Apalachicola