Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Day They Tore Old Dixie Down...

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!


Dawn said...

I would love to visit you there sometime. That would be fun.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I visited there in June of '88, driving there in a hurricane. I forget which one, but it wasn't a really bad one, mostly flooding rains. We spent the night in Tallahassee before driving on to P.C. the next day in better weather.

Yes, I think we all have days like that one that are engraved in our memories.

Needled Mom said...

It is such a pretty town to visit. Too bad the old Dixie isn't around to tell it's story.

His Song To Sing said...

I enjoyed your post about our fair city, Nancy. We didn't move here until 1983 (seems like forever ago) so I never got to see the Dixie Sherman but have heard about it and seen pictures. I hadn't heard about the dancing on top ... sounds like it was quite the party place. Why was it torn down?

Mimi said...

Great story!!!!
I loved visiting Panama City beach!!!
We spent a week there!!!!
I would love to visit SEASIDE, yes, I heard the movie Truman show was filmed there, but seems like the name keeps being said around me like what a great beach city to visit!!!!
So we just may!!!!
How fun to witness a building being torn down!!!!
boy there are alot of Hotels there now and tall ones at that!!!!
Have a great week
thanks for the nice comments about meeting celebs!!!!

Gigi said...

So sad when a piece of history disappears...tell me - what did they put in its place?

Tonja said...

How interesting! I loved hearing all this history about PC, as it was a spot we visited so much during my childhood.
Clark Gable, too! That neat!

Loved this!

Cathy said...

I thought the story I heard was that Mama did get to dance with Clark Gable. I think she and Aunt Joyce were USO girls. And didn't she win a jitterbug contest one time or did I just conjure this all up in my fantasy world life?? Anyway, the Dixie Sherman imploded and that was really neat to watch. I guess I was there, because I seem to remember it!!

nancygrayce said...

Mama told me she didn't dance with Clark.....but as I said she was a dancing fool! How I wish those legs would jitterbug now!

~Carrie from Cottage Cozy~ said...

What an interesting post. I almost feel as though I came to visit!

By the way...my little pearl is a Papillon! All 4 lbs of her!

Just Breathe said...

Nice story. How sad when they take down a landmark. I've never seen one of those go down in person, only on TV.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for stopping by to visit me! it's so nice to make new friends...I enjoyed your post and I'll be back to visit more...I added myself to your followers so I won't miss new posts...It's nice to meet you too! Hugs, Jennifer

LBDDiaries said...

Cool! I love old buildings but I also love when those guys go in and implode them - that is so awesome! Sad but awesome.