- Ernie’s Bayfront Grill and Brew House
- 1151 Bayview Avenue - Panama City
- Florida 32401 - United States
- (850) 763-8427
- [email protected]
Panama City, located in the northwest region of Florida, has a rich history that dates back centuries. Here are some historical facts about Panama City, Florida:
- Spanish Exploration: The area that is now Panama City was originally explored by the Spanish in the 16th century. Spanish explorers arrived in the region in search of gold and other valuable resources.
- Native American Presence: Prior to European exploration, the region was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Creek and Apalachee peoples.
- Settlement and Development: The first permanent European settlement in the area was established in the late 18th century by British loyalists fleeing the American Revolution. The settlement was known as "St. Andrews," named after the nearby St. Andrew Bay. The area began to flourish with the establishment of a lumber industry and the arrival of steamships in the mid-19th century.
- The St. Andrews Bay Company: In the late 19th century, the St. Andrews Bay Company was formed to develop the area further. The company constructed a hotel, a railroad, and a dock to promote tourism and commerce. However, the company faced financial difficulties, and the project did not achieve the anticipated success.
- Panama City Incorporation: In 1909, the town of Panama City was officially incorporated. It was named after the Panama Canal, which was under construction at the time and represented the idea of progress and prosperity.
- Naval Base and World War II: During World War II, Panama City became home to the U.S. Navy's largest aerial gunnery school. The Naval Section Base played a significant role in training Navy pilots and aircrews. The base brought an economic boost to the area and contributed to the growth of Panama City.
- Beach Tourism and Spring Break: In the post-war era, Panama City's beautiful beaches, particularly those along the Gulf of Mexico, attracted tourists seeking relaxation and recreation. The city became a popular destination for spring breakers, drawing in college students from across the United States.
- Hurricane Damage: Over the years, Panama City has faced the destructive force of hurricanes. In 1995, Hurricane Opal caused significant damage to the area, including the destruction of many historic buildings. More recently, Hurricane Michael struck in 2018, causing widespread devastation and impacting the community's infrastructure.
- Cultural Heritage: Panama City embraces its cultural heritage through various museums and historical sites. The Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida and the Bay County Historical Society Museum are among the notable institutions preserving and showcasing the region's history.
Today, Panama City continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination, offering beautiful beaches, outdoor recreational activities, and a vibrant community. It remains deeply connected to its historical roots while embracing modern development.
Panama City's economy is diverse and driven by several sectors. Here are some key aspects of the economy in Panama City, Florida:
- Tourism: Tourism plays a significant role in Panama City's economy. The city's beautiful beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, such as Panama City Beach, attract millions of visitors each year. The tourism industry encompasses a wide range of businesses, including hotels, resorts, restaurants, entertainment venues, and recreational activities.
- Real Estate and Construction: The real estate and construction sectors are major contributors to Panama City's economy. The city has experienced ongoing development, including residential, commercial, and industrial projects. With the recovery and reconstruction efforts following Hurricane Michael in 2018, there has been a notable increase in construction activities in the area.
- Military and Defense: The presence of military bases has a significant impact on Panama City's economy. The city is home to Tyndall Air Force Base, which serves as an important training facility and research center for the U.S. Air Force. The base contributes to the local economy through employment opportunities and contracts with local businesses.
- Healthcare and Medical Services: The healthcare industry is a growing sector in Panama City. The city has several hospitals, medical centers, and clinics that provide a range of healthcare services. The healthcare sector not only supports the well-being of the local community but also attracts patients from neighboring areas.
- Education: Education is another important sector in Panama City's economy. The city is home to Gulf Coast State College and several public and private schools. These institutions provide education and training opportunities, contributing to the development of a skilled workforce and attracting students from across the region.
- Manufacturing and Industry: Panama City has a modest manufacturing and industrial sector. Industries such as shipbuilding, aerospace, electronics, and food processing have a presence in the area, providing employment opportunities and contributing to the local economy.
- Retail and Services: The retail and services sectors are vital components of the local economy. Panama City has a range of shopping centers, boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment venues that cater to both residents and tourists. The service industry, including professional services, hospitality, and entertainment, plays a crucial role in providing employment and supporting local businesses.
It's important to note that the economy of Panama City, like many other regions, can be subject to fluctuations and challenges influenced by factors such as natural disasters, economic conditions, and global trends. However, the city's diverse economic base helps to promote resilience and growth.
Panama City, Florida has a variety of transportation options for residents and visitors. Here are the main modes of transportation available in the city:
- Car: Like many cities in the United States, Panama City has a well-developed road network, making private car ownership and driving the most common mode of transportation. Major highways, including U.S. Route 98 and State Road 77, connect Panama City to other parts of Florida and neighboring states.
- Public Transportation: Bay Town Trolley is the public transportation system in Panama City. It operates bus routes throughout the city, providing affordable transportation options for residents and visitors. The trolley system serves various destinations, including shopping centers, schools, medical facilities, and tourist attractions.
- Airport: Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) serves the Panama City metropolitan area. It is located approximately 20 miles northwest of downtown Panama City. The airport offers flights to and from various destinations, connecting the region to domestic and international locations.
- Taxis and Ridesharing: Taxis are available in Panama City, and ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft operate in the area. These services provide convenient transportation options for those who prefer not to drive or use public transportation.
- Bicycles: Panama City is gradually becoming more bicycle-friendly. The city has been working on expanding its network of bike lanes and multi-use trails, making it easier and safer for cyclists to get around. Many residents and visitors use bicycles for commuting, recreation, and exercise.
- Walking: Panama City's downtown area and certain neighborhoods are pedestrian-friendly, with sidewalks and crosswalks in place. Walking can be a pleasant and convenient way to explore the city center, visit local shops, restaurants, and attractions.
It's worth noting that while public transportation options are available in Panama City, they may be limited compared to larger cities. Private car ownership remains the primary means of transportation for many residents. However, efforts to improve public transportation and promote alternative modes of transportation, such as cycling and walking, are underway to provide residents and visitors with more transportation choices and reduce traffic congestion.
Panama City, Florida, has been home to several notable individuals who have made significant contributions in various fields. Here are a few examples of notable people associated with Panama City:
Angela Bassett: Angela Bassett is an acclaimed actress known for her powerful performances in films such as "What's Love Got to Do with It," for which she received an Academy Award nomination, and "Black Panther." She was born in New York but spent part of her childhood in St. Petersburg, Florida, and later attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, which is relatively close to Panama City.
David McCullough: David McCullough is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian. Although he was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, McCullough spent a considerable amount of time in Panama City during his childhood and has fond memories of the area. He has written acclaimed books such as "John Adams" and "The Wright Brothers," which showcase his expertise in American history.
Forrest Sawyer: Forrest Sawyer is an award-winning journalist and television news anchor. He was born in Hastings, Nebraska, but attended Bay High School in Panama City. Sawyer has worked for major news networks, including ABC News and NBC News, and has reported on significant events around the world.
Bradlee Van Pelt: Bradlee Van Pelt is a former professional football player who played quarterback in the National Football League (NFL). He was born in Owosso, Michigan, but grew up in Panama City. Van Pelt played college football at Colorado State University and later played in the NFL for the Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans.
J. Alex Villalobos: J. Alex Villalobos is a prominent politician who served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. He was born in Cuba but later moved to Panama City with his family. Villalobos has been involved in various legislative activities and has contributed to shaping Florida's political landscape.
These are just a few examples of notable individuals associated with Panama City, Florida. The city has a vibrant community that has produced talented individuals in various fields, including arts, literature, journalism, sports, and politics.