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Accessibility
Florida State Parks are in various stages of accessibility, and are working to improve access to services and facilities. Should you need assistance to enable your full participation, please contact the individual park office as soon as possible. Sometimes as many as ten days may be needed to schedule a particular accommodation.

Management & Protection
Florida State Parks are managed as natural systems. All plant and animal life is protected in state parks. Hunting, livestock grazing and timber removal are not permitted. Do not remove, deface, mutilate or molest any natural resources. For your safety, do not feed any animals. Intoxicants and firearms are prohibited.

Hours of Operation
Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

Pets
Pets are not allowed in camping areas, on bathing beaches, in concession areas and may be restricted in other designated areas of the park. Where pets are allowed, they must be kept on a six-foot, hand-held leash and well-behaved at all times. Service dogs are welcome in all areas of the parks.

State Park Guide
To discover and experience all of the Real Florida at Florida's 145 state parks, ask a Park Ranger where you can pick up a copy of the Florida State Park Guide, or call 850/488-9872.



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Reservations for
Florida State
Parks are now
made through
Reserve America,

toll free, at
1-800-326-3521

 

 

CONSTITUTION CONVENTION STATE MUSEUM
The Constitution Convention State Museum is the site of Florida's first state convention. The Constitution Convention as well as the vanished city of St. Joseph are featured in the museum at Port St. Joe.


HISTORY

More than 150 years ago, St. Joseph was selected over Tallahassee (the territorial capital) as the site of the state's Constitution Convention because of antagonism between East Florida and Middle Florida and because of the efforts of boomtown promoters. St. Joseph, created in 1835, was a boom town when it competed with the town of Apalachicola as a trading port. Its population quickly reached 12,000. By 1840, it was clear that the city of St. Joseph could not compete commercially with Apalachicola; and the town laid aside its role as a commercial metropolis and served as an attractive pleasure resort. In the summer of 1841, yellow fever reached epidemic proportions in the entire territory, and St. Joseph was especially hard hit. The population declined from already fewer than 6,000 to 400 in less than one year. Many of the deserted houses were dismantled and shipped to Apalachicola for reconstruction. Some still remain there today. The hurricane of September 1844 completely destroyed what remained of the town. The only thing left was the town's cemetery - a grim reminder of a small town's struggle to compete.

During this nine-year period, work to bring Florida to statehood continued. Although Florida had been an American territory since 1821, many Floridians, especially those living in prosperous Middle Florida, had long favored a change from territory to statehood. On the other hand, East and West Floridians opposed statehood because of costs, feeling that Florida was too poor to assume the financial burden of a state government. The first of Florida's five constitutions was drafted by a convention that met on December 3, 1838. By working diligently for 34 days, the elected delegates hammered out a framework for Florida's future and finished their work on January 11, 1839. The Territorial Legislative Council had called the convention without congressional authorization after a referendum election in 1837 showed a territory-wide majority in favor of statehood. On the same day the convention voted to submit the completed constitution to the people for ratification, it submitted to congress the formal application of the people of Florida for admission to the Union. This proved premature. The new constitution squeaked through the referendum by only 119 votes. During the next six years, the beleaguered Legislative Council successfully petitioned Congress for immediate admission to the Union, for indefinite postponement and for division into two territories. The question was finally resolved when congress passed an act admitting Florida into the Union on March 3, 1845, as the 27th state. Florida entered the Union with Iowa, in line with Congress' practice of admitting Northern and Southern states in pairs.



MUSEUM

A Constitution monument was erected on the grounds in 1922 and bears the names of the convention delegates engraved in marble. A museum building was added to the 13.5-acre site and opened to the public in 1955. A self-guided tour will lead you through the convention hall where the convention setting is recreated with life-size delegates. Audio-animated mannequins portray Territorial Governors Robert Reid and William P. Duval, Senator David Y. Levy and Attorney Thomas L. Baltzell. The museum visitor center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. A nominal fee is charged for museum visitors six years of age and older. Special interpretive programs and tours designed for groups can be arranged.


Constitutional Convention State Museum is located in Port St. Joe, off U.S. 98.

For information, contact:
Constitutional Convention State Museum
200 Allen Memorial Way
Port St. Joe, Florida 32456
(850) 229-8029


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