The Board of the Historic Apalachicola Foundation, Inc., announced today the sale of the Historic Fry-Conter House, located at 96 5th Street in Apalachicola to the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife Service. With the sale the Fry-Conter home, which currently serves as the Apalachicola Museum of Art will now become the new office and Visitor Center for the St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge.
St. Vincent Island, which is adjacent to Apalachicola Bay has a close historical relationship to Apalachicola, most notably that of the Wefing family. Hatch Wefing, a resident of Apalachicola owns the journal of George Frederick Wefing, who began to record his experiences living on the Island in July of 1879, while at the young age of sixteen.
The sale will facilitate the return of the St. Vincent Island National Wildlife Refuge offices and Visitor Center back to Apalachicola, which were formerly housed inside the Harbormaster’s House at Scipio Creek. It also will represent a renewal of the historic connection between Apalachicola and St. Vincent Island, as well as a returning of a tourism center to Apalachicola.
The Foundation, incorporated in 1988, has contributed two built projects to the historic fabric of Apalachicola. The revitalization of Lafayette Park completed in 1991, and the restoration of the Fry-Conter House as the Apalachicola Museum of Art. The Museum has been the setting for public meetings and art exhibits, and it has enjoyed a strong collaboration with the local schools and nonprofits. The facility has frequently hosted programs for Bring Me A Book Franklin, the ABC Charter School and the Franklin County K-12 School. Most recently the Museum collaborated with the Apalachicola Municipal Library to bring in a traveling Smithsonian exhibit, “The Way We Worked”, which was part of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum on Main Street program. During the six-week exhibit more than 500 tourists from 33 states, Canada and Europe, as well as 430 local students all enjoyed entering through the Museum’s giant 9-foot high Greek Revival style door to view the traveling exhibit.
Although the Foundation has turned to another chapter, they have pledged to continue their mission to honor historic Apalachicola, concentrating on the preservation of Apalachicola’s historic and environmental resources, including the restoration of the city’s original and historic city plan.