The Early Years in Bay County, Florida

By the Early 1900's, those living in what is now Bay County started to move in earnest toward forming a more organized society with governing bodies.

Millville's post office opened in 1899 and within a decade it was ranked the area's largest city. it was considered a reawakening of sorts as the rich lumber supply drew interest.

People whose names still resonate today took action. George West and R.L. McKenzie set in motion the process that would change the town of Harrison into Panama City around 1906. But St. Andrews would incorporate first, in 1908. According to the Historical Society of Bay County, 34 "qualified" residents - you had to own land to vote - decided on Feb. 28, 1909, that Panama City also should incorporate.


Robert Lee McKenzie served as the city's first mayor and lived in what remains a historical landmark: The McKenzie House on East Third Court.

Lynn Haven followed suit in 1911 and 1913, following meetings between carious towns here, the name "Bay" was selected and the county was created by Legislature.

The now-shut East Pass was primary entrance into the bay, and Moses Carlisle drew attention in Callaway when he spent $106 to install an indoor bathroom.

The steamer Tarpon was a familiar site, logging until miles traveling between Panama City, Pensacola, Apalachicola and Carrabelle.

Panama City had a volunteer fire department and the future began to unfold.


Source: "Celebrating Bay's Beginnings; A Pictorial Retrospective of Bay County, Florida: 1900's - 2000's" 
ISBN-13: 978-1-59725-393-2
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