Exploring Downtown Apalachicola's

Past, Present, and Future

From North Florida Slave to Prominent Abolitionist:
The Forgotten Story of Moses Roper

This summer marks the 186th anniversary of one man’s remarkable escape from slavery
in the American South. From humble beginnings he forged a life as one of the most significant abolitionists of the 19th century. His bold escape took him from Marianna, Florida to Savannah, Georgia, and from there to New York, New England, and then the UK. A significant aspect of his bold journey of survival, perseverance, and escape from slavery was his experience as an enslaved steward on an Apalachicola steamboat.

If you’ve never heard the name Moses Roper, you’re not alone. To Americans, Frederick Douglass is perhaps the most famous fugitive from slavery. Douglass travelled to Britain in 1845 where he lectured as an abolitionist and advocate of social justice. However, most are unaware that several years earlier Roper published his memoir, Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper from American Slavery and began lecturing in almost 1,000 locations across the United Kingdom.

Roper was born in Caswell County, North Carolina in 1815, the son of white planter Henry Roper and Nancy, his slave. He was sold away from his family at a young age and changed hands many times through the Carolinas and Georgia. He attempted to escape at least sixteen times, each time being captured and subjected to horrific physical punishments.

As a teenager he was purchased by a Scotsman named Robert Beveridge, a prominent north Florida businessman and founder of the city of Marianna. In the early 1830s steamboats on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system were a primary mode of transport for cargo and travellers. Beveridge owned three steamboats: the Versailles, the Andrew Jackson, and the Van Buren, some of the first to ply the waters of the tri-river system. Beveridge had a contract to convey the mail between Columbus, Georgia and Apalachicola. Roper was made a steward on board the Versailles, a role that would later be key in his final escape. Click here to read more...

The Moses Roper Project

 Roper’s life and legacy are significant to our diverse heritage, but his story has been all but lost to time outside of academic circles.
Apalachicola Main Street is working to change that through research, public education projects, and collaborative efforts to elevate his legacy to its rightful position. The project focuses on the lesser known chapters of Roper’s experiences in this region including his ties to Apalachicola, while also building a bridge to his life experiences in the UK as an author and lecturer in the abolitionist movement. 
If you'd like to support this important initiative, please click here to become a donor.

Recent News

Florida Secretary of State’s Florida Main Street Awards 
Recognize Apalachicola Main Street Projects

Secretary of State Laurel M. Lee announced the winners of the 2020 Florida Main Street Awards on July 30th. The annual awards showcase the innovative practices and projects that contribute to the success of local Main Street programs and acknowledges their accomplishments that advance the goals of the Florida Main Street Program.

  Apalachicola Main Street’s video entitled “There’s Still a Place” won a Merit Award in the “Outstanding Image Campaign or Promotional Materials” category. The project resulted from focus groups with business owners whose collective brainstorming resulted in the idea for a video to promote downtown Apalachicola and all that it has to offer. Click here to read more....

Business on the Move in Downtown Apalachicola 

We say goodbye to one of our beloved shops, The Seahorse Gift & Florist, as Mrs. Ouida Sack, the owner and operator has retired after a long and successful tenure. At age 82, Ouida has retired after serving this community for a total of two decades. Her upscale retail store was always a pleasant place to shop.
Ouida was a valued supporter of our Independence Eve Celebration, and for the past few years created gorgeous fresh flower centerpieces for the sponsor tables. Ouida’s commitment to this community will be missed.

The space, however was not empty long as La Robe Boutique has relocated to 87 Market Street.  Click here to read more...

Award-Winning Fireworks Celebration

Indefinitely Postponed Due to Pandemic

  When we postponed our Independence Eve Celebration normally held each year on July 3rd, we hoped we could reschedule the event for September 5th, but such will not be the case. “We wanted to hold the event on Labor Day weekend as a celebration of summer, and hopefully as a celebration of improved pandemic conditions,” said Board Chair Jim Bachrach. “Unfortunately, after a review of all the current information and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, the Florida Department of Health, the Franklin County Department of Health, and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ phased reopening plan, we’ve come to the decision to postpone indefinitely.” Click here to read more...

Join the 2020 Friends of Apalachicola Main Street Campaign and be part of the legacy as we promote the past, present, and future of our historic downtown.

For almost a decade, we've worked to enhance the downtown district of Apalachicola with sound economic development that promotes a sustainable future while preserving and promoting its rich contributions to Florida’s historical and cultural heritage. 
But we need your support more than ever. As a result of the current pandemic, we cancelled our Independence Eve Celebration which is not only an award-winning community event but also our biggest annual fundraiser to support our programs. This was the most responsible decision for the health and safety of our greater community, but as a result, we face a critical financial situation.

Your tax-deductible contribution to our Friends of Apalachicola Main Street campaign will assist with the development and implementation of our historical, community, and economic development programs and initiatives. These include innovative historical research, educational programming, downtown enhancements, business support and retention initiatives, an historical plaque project, our dynamic website that promotes local businesses, planning for future events, beautification projects, and much more.
Your assistance will also safeguard Main Street’s capability to serve and promote the local Main Street district businesses that have been impacted as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Please give today through our secure and convenient online donation site.

Apalachicola Main Street is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. 

What's Your Vision?

Take our Strategic Plan Survey

By responding to our survey, you can share your long-term vision for the downtown district, what projects you think we should undertake, and how you see the district's strengths and challenges. We welcome public input to help guide our future projects.
Contribute your ideas on the future of Downtown Apalachicola!

Enjoy your Visit!

We get a lot of inquiries from people wondering if downtown is still open, and the answer is "Yes!"
There's still plenty to enjoy downtown with shopping, dining, eco-tour, and site seeing options. Please keep the following in mind:
  • The City passed an ordinance requiring masks inside public buildings and in situations where social distancing is not possible. 
  • Some businesses may have changed their menus, operating hours, or services as they adapt to continue serving their customers.
  • Some museums and historic sites may be closed to the public at this time.
  • We recommend that you contact businesses directly with questions about their current operating hours and services, as these are subject to change.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as our downtown community strives to continue serving the public in these unprecented times!
Buy an e-Gift Certificate from Participating Businesses at ShopApalachicola.com

Our Mission

Apalachicola Main Street is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing downtown Apalachicola through sound economic development which promotes our future while preserving our past. The downtown district is defined as the City Marina at Battery Park to the Scipio Creek boat basin, and from Water Street to 6th Street.

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Apalachicola Main Street is Proud to be Part of the Florida Main Street and National Main Street Networks

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A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from The Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the State. 
1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or www.FloridaConsumerHelp.com. License # CH44897.

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