In a quiet coastal city in the midst of the Forgotten Coast of the Florida Panhandle lies an extremely significant place for the history of the state. Lined by an avenue of palm trees and live oaks the museum and park features activities that represent the signing of the Florida State Constitution. To mark the location of the signing, a large memorial was erected bearing the names of the those involved in the construction of the document.
In the year 1838, it was determined that a constitution should be drafted to organize the state of Florida. Despite nearby Tallahassee being the capital of the territory, a sleepy coastal town by the name of St. Joseph was selected as the destination for the very first Constitution Convention for the future state.
It was on December 3, 1838 that some of the most affluent citizens of the territory gathered here at this site to make a draft of the constitution. Some of those notable people included Robert R. Reid, William P. Duval, David Levy Yulee and Leslie A. Thompson. For days the people here worked and revised the important document. In fact, the convention worked for 34 days until they announced the completion of their work on the date of January 11, 1839. A handwritten copy signed by convention Secretary Joshua Knowles of the first Florida constitution is at the state archives while the original has disappeared over the decades.
Although Florida did not officially become a state until March 3, 1845 and other forms of the constitution were later drafted, this site is acknowledged as being the birthplace of the Florida Constitution and the beginning steps to its statehood.
To visit the Constitution Convention Museum State Park the grounds are free. To view the museum please visit Florida State Parks for hours and admission information.
If you are visiting the area, also check out the Cape San Blas Lighthouse in nearby Port St. Joe!
Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!