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Popular Port St. Joe structure to be demolished

Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 9:20 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -

What was once a sanctuary, will soon become rubble.

“Finally we’re here at the day and they’re going to be tearing this down either later today, or maybe even first thing in the morning,” said First Baptist Church Port St. Joe senior pastor, Boyd Evans on Monday.

The church saw an eight foot surge during Hurricane Michael. Evans said, “1923 is actually when the church was founded and twelve people started the church.”

One of those twelve people was Mel Magidson’s great grandfather. “It’s a special place to a lot of people and it’s going to be kind of difficult to see it come down,” said former Port St. Joe mayor, Magidson.

The church has purchased 18 acres of property about three miles away to build a new structure, but Evans said they plan on keeping the old property to build a pavilion for the community to enjoy.

“I definitely think it’s a rebirth of sorts. For us it definitely is because we’re relocating- this church has been on this property for nearly 100 years,” said Evans.

It’s a rebirth that can be found throughout Port St. Joe.

“The schools recovering, and the churches recovering, and the businesses recovering- those are all precursors to a community recovering,” said Gulf District Schools superintendent, Jim Norton.

According to Norton, roughly 4,000 people lived in Port St. Joe’s incorporated city limits before Hurricane Michael. Today that number is 2,000, “and though it’s going to be slow we are recovering down here in Port St. Joe and it’s going to be a wonderful place.”

The church is currently congregating at Port St. Joe elementary school.

“As our pastor always reminds us this building is not the church, we’re the church- we just go to church there,” said Magidson.

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