When Pan*ma City started developing in the 1800s, downtown was called Harrison. For a short time it was called Park Resort. Because of our beautiful beaches and abundance of pine trees, Pan*ma C*ty soon became attractive to many. Soon the downtown area had commercial shipping, a post office and the city jail.
Our city went on to have a newspaper, a school, churches and a railroad which connected PC with cities to the north.
As businesses moved in, the city built banks, a public library, got electricity, phones and an ice plant. This all came about in the early 1900s.
Growth continued and in 1924 Adams Hospital was built and that just happens to be where I was born. The following year city hall was built.
In 1926 the area's first skyscraper, the eight or nine story Dixie Sherman Hotel, was built.
THAT is what this story is all about!
I got my information up until this point from a website and the history of our city was written by a local historian. You didn't think I had been here since the 1800s did you???
But from this point on, this story involves the Dixie Sherman, my mama, Clark Gable and destruction.....not necessarily in that order.
There was dancing on the top of the Dixie Sherman, I suppose a bar. My mama went there on ocassion to dance. She also went to the local USO so I'm just saying mama was a dancing fool!
During World War II, Clark Gable was stationed at Tyndall Field. He also danced on the top of the Dixie Sherman. Yes he did! Now the rest of the story could be that mama and Clark met, fell in love and married, but since my last name has never been Gable, that didn't happen. I don't think they were ever there at the same time.
He earned his silver wings while he was here.
But that was then and.......actually what comes next was then too, just not that particular then. Make sense? NO? Oh, well....it's my story, it doesn't have to make sense.
On April 19, 1970 (I know, that was so yesterday) just four months before my eldest child was born, they tore old Dixie down! And our family had a front row seat.......literally! Below is a picture taken by my daddy from the parking lot of his business....Freeman Electric Co. which, by the way was NOT demolished and remains the best lighted sign company in the area.
We watched as the biggest building in our city was demolished....if you look closely, you'll notice it is already starting to implode. Look even closer and you'll see my youngest brother expectantly waiting.
That was one of those days that stays with you all your life. All around town are pictures of the famous hotel in various stages of falling.
Although our skyscraper is gone, we're still a great place to visit and an even greater place to live!