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Orman House Historic State Park
Closest available address
177 Fifth Street Apalachicola, Florida 32320
House is open 9am-12noon and 1pm-5pm from Thursday-Monday.
Best time to visit
Orman House Historic State Park is a 10 acre park that opened in 2001. The park’s centerpiece is a two story antebellum house, which was built in 1838 by a prominent local family. Guided tours are offered of the house Thursday-Monday or one can take a self tour. The property includes two smaller outbuildings, one of which was used for slave quarters. There also is a small botanical garden nearby and a replica of a statue from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Thomas Orman achieved success and wealth as a cotton merchant and businessman in Apalachicola in the early 1800s. He built the Orman House in a Greek revival style to use as both a home and for business purposes. The initial house was only four rooms, with a parlor and dining room on the ground floors and bedrooms on the second floor. Although the house was constructed locally some of the components such as trim, doors and windows were produced up north. Thomas’s granddaughter moved into the house in 1896, and some additions were added at that time. Succeeding generations of the family occupied the house till 1994.
There were only a couple of other people on the tour. This park is off the beaten path, so it rarely gets crowded. The tour focuses more on the Orman family and some history of Apalachicola rather than on the furniture or structure of the property. One can take a look at the outbuildings before or after the tour, but they are not really discussed. When the state acquired the property it was mostly bereft of furniture. Much of the furniture currently on display is period rather than an original, but a sofa and desk were original to the house. Although it's relatively small, the house has an elegant feel, typified by dark hardwood floors which may have been made cypress wood. The tour guide also was reasonably informative and provided an overview of the famly and changes in the house over time. There is more in-depth information and photos of the family and house in the last room of the tour, or via information sheets. As historic house tours go, this was about average. It will have modest appeal for most people, even those into historic homes. The house is relatively small and the family's story not especially distinctive or notable. It can make for a decent excrusion if you are already in the area and looking for something to do but does not warrant a special trip.
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