Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gorrie Honored during 2014 Annual Water Street Festival of Ice

Mayor Van Johnson reads proclamation dedicating festival in Gorrie's honor

The 2014 Annual Water Street Festival of Ice hosted by Historic Apalachicola Main Street honored Dr. John Gorrie for his induction into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame during ceremony held Saturday morning on the steps of the Grady Market.

The renowned Gorrie is considered to be the father of modern day air conditioning and refrigeration that resulted from his invention of an ice-making machine, an invention that materialized with Gorrie's attempt to cure Yellow Fever in the year 1841 in Apalachicola.

Author and Ice Expert Ellie Morris recounting history of Grady Market

On hand during the ceremony was noted author and ice expert Ellie Morris who recounted the history of the Grady Market, which included Dr. Gorrie, his ice-making machine and French consul Monsieur Rosan.

During that era the upstairs portion of the Grady Market served as the French Consulate where Rosan lodged, conducted business and entertained guest during his stay in Apalachicola.

Mayor Johnson autographs festival poster while visitors salute Gorrie

As the story goes it was July 14, 1847, and a hot muggy day in Apalachicola.  The supply of ice shipped from the North had run out while Rosan was in the middle of celebrating Bastille Day, a National French Holiday.  Unaware of Gorrie’s invention, Rosan and his guest became fearful of the mere thought of having to drink warm champagne as they celebrated.  Rosan rose and exclaimed, “On Bastille Day”, “France gave her citizens what they wanted; Rosan gives his guest what they want, cool wines! Even if it demands a miracle”!  

Suddenly, waiters appeared carrying large silver trays piled with bottles of champagne nestled in ice. The ice had been created in Apalachicola by Gorrie using his invention.  

Visitors with Mayor Johnson proudly displaying festival poster 

“Let us drink to the man who made ice,” one of the guests declared. “Dr. Gorrie.”

That historic moment was commemorated by those attending Saturday's ceremony with a re-enactment of the toast to the man who indeed made ice.

Mayor Johnson presents proclamation to Willie McNair, Park Ranger at
Dr. John Gorrie Museum State Park in Apalachicola

Apalachicola Mayor Van Johnson also read aloud a Mayor's Proclamation that dedicated the 2014 Annual Water Street Festival of Ice in Gorrie's honor to coincide with his induction into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.

Photo's by Gail D.Johnson