Tearing down a piece of history

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - More than a century of history once stood where rubble now sits.

A structure home to several businesses in Panama City was recently torn down. Now locals are reflecting on its past and thinking about its future. (WJHG/WECP)

Panama City resident, Candee England, said, "I was surprised that it was torn down and it was very disheartening to see these beautiful brick, old time, a lot of history down here in downtown Panama City torn down."

Local historian Bob Hurst said the building on Harrison Avenue in Downtown Panama City dated back to 1912.

"And was called the Darby Building back in those times and it was a men's clothing store called the Minchin Company Clothing Store," he said.

Cassandra Johnston used to own Cassandra's Place--a popular cafe that closed years ago. Wednesday, she came to take a brick from the rubble... a piece of what's left of those memories.

"It was a country kitchen type place so scrambled eggs, biscuits, hashbrowns, grits, you name it and it was delicious," said England.

England says the property is currently on the market for $4 million.

"I kind of got prepared for it. You know, I mean, it couldn't have stayed in that kind of condition, it needed either to be rebuilt or destroyed--one or the other," said Hurst.

The future of the property remains uncertain. We reached out to Panama City Downtown Improvement Board officials who declined to comment, but some locals have their own ideas of what this rubble could become.

England said, "There's so much variety in this area right now that I think a nice little B&B like one of the older, kind of Antebellum home styles if it was built there I think it could draw some more tourists to this area."

"I would love to see the old feel of the downtown preserved. To me that's typical of the character of the downtown," said Hurst.

For now, the bricks symbolize the end of one chapter in Panama City's history as the area begins to write a new one.

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