History resurfacing in St. Andrews State Park

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - More than 75 years ago you could see soldiers walking up and down St. Andrews State Park's beaches.

"Before this was a state park, this was actually a military installation," said St. Andrew State Park Specialist David Morris.

Now, remains of those days are peeking through the sand.

"Two gun mounts were initially placed here," said Morris.

The lower gun mount, also known as a turret, has been buried under the dunes for years. But after Hurricane Michael and other recent storms, this piece of history is visible once again.

"They started in '42, and they were officially finally set up in '43 and they were actually fully active for less than a year," said Morris.

While these gun turrets were built to protect our borders from German U-Boats, park officials say the guns were never actually fired.

"They were never fired, but they were here and there was about 50 soldiers from the 166th Infantry Regiment that were stationed here," said Morris.

As the turrets are emerging, so is the curiosity of beachgoers.

"I really was surprised to see the track and how large it was. After seeing it, I went up to the one in the pavilions and realized the one up there was probably the same size," said Panama City Beach Property Owner Joe Pentino.

"I have never seen this so this is quite interesting to me, so I was curious to see what this was because I have never seen it," said frequent visitor of Panama City Beach, Penny Satterwhite.

While it's visible for now, state park officials are hoping to have it covered up once again.

"Whenever it's uncovered like this, we get things from human impact, people trying to climb on it, or maybe take a part of the structure away. The other thing is just with all of the salt spray and wave action that we have, it can rust out a lot of the metal components, so having it buried helps us protect it long term," said Morris.

If a dredging project comes up, that is when the turret will be submerged under the sand, so you might want to take a photo while it lasts.