tended from the Apalachicola River to within eight miles of the townsite.
It became apparent that transportation could be secured across this stretch
by the construction of a canal or railroad and the cotton commerce could
be diverted from Apalachicola. Immediately the seceders formed the St.
Joseph Land Company and set vigorously to work. Surveyors were sent to
lay out streets and large lots were selected for residential areas. The
hunting ground of Indians, the rendezvous of pirates, was to become a
port of call for vessels from all over the world. The strange story of St.
Joseph, as the city was named, began in 1831. Other names applied to it
during the ten brief years of its existence were "Spite City," "Pearl of the
South," and "Lost City."
Today, it is difficult to determine exactly how successful St. Joseph
was in diverting trade from Apalachicola, but the town grew with amazing
speed. Beautiful homes were constructed among the pines, flourishing
businesses developed along the wide streets, and civic energy, fostered by
the spirit of competition, planned a city second to none of the Gulf.
Much attention was given to the development of a resort to attract
wealthy planters from the interior districts to the north. As an added
inducement a mile race track was built, which created a social center for
the inhabitants and a trading exchange for race horses. According to
accounts of the day, life was idyllic. Vessels, as they returned from
Liverpool for more cotton, brought the inhabitants luxuries and news of
the Old World, while those returning from New England ports were laden
with the choicer products of the Northern