The Beauty in an Old Town

By: Alana Adams
By: Alana Adams

It seems as though time goes a little slower in Millville, even those who live and work here say there is just something different about this town. In the early 1900s the city was booming, new businesses were moving in and families built homes in the neighborhood, the port was busy and the mill even busier.

In the early 1900s, Millville was the largest town in Bay County. At one time it had its own mayor until the state legislature incorporated the town with Panama City in 1926.

Much of the history of this town dates back to the numbers etched on the graves, but what used to be young and beautiful in a thriving new community is now showing signs of age. The first steps are being taken to designate Millville as a community redevelopment area granting the city money for beautification and infrastructure.

According to the city commission, the city of Millville will need to hold more public hearings and present its findings to the city commission before it is finally approved as a "community redevelopment area."

Lee Casey's family has owned Boyette and Casey Hardware downtown since 1958.

"You have to know where to look for it, but there's an awful lot of history in Millville. A lot of things have gone on along Watson Bayou since Bay County or before Bay County, even earlier than Panama City.”

Casey says the money for revitalization will be worth the effort.

"It's certainly a good thing, anything they design to bring people into Millville is always a good thing. We certainly appreciate it and we kinda look at it as being a reward for being here so long."

Larry Skipper was born and raised in Millville. He left for 20 years, and says the town just stopped changing, as if Millville fell asleep while the rest of Bay County took off running.

"I was surprised when I came back here after being gone for a long time. It was like the rest of the county had leaped forward and Millville looked the same as it always had."

Panama City Commissioner Kathy Hanline lives and owns a restaurant in Millville.

"We, in this area, in the immediate historic area, have enjoyed a resurgence in that these older homes are being bought and fixed up by young people, but there are other areas that it's not rippled there yet and I think this will spread that over."

Not many can argue the charm is not here, besides, it's a place where people still sit down at the counter for lunch at noon.


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