A look at Dr. Beal’s historic home and shell museum

A look at Dr. Beal’s historic home and shell museum

Simply north of Freeway 98 in Wynnehaven Seashore is a traditionally vital relic that most individuals overlook. The Beal Residence, in-built 1910, was as soon as the summer season residence, workplace, and seashell museum of a well known Fort Walton Seashore man. The constructing is now unoccupied.

Tom Rice

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Magnolia Grill

Dr. Beal’s home within the Thirties

Dr. James Hartley Beal, born in 1861 in Ohio, was a distinguished pharmacist, chemist, scientist, lawyer and educator. He organized the Scio Faculty of Pharmacy, served as president of Scio Faculty, taught pharmacy on the Pittsburgh Faculty of Pharmacy, and served as editor of the Midland Druggist. He was additionally briefly president of the American Pharmacists Affiliation from 1904 to 1905.

In 1928, Beal and his household moved to Fort Walton Seashore, then generally known as Camp Walton, and bought a house. Initially situated alongside the water at 2 Miracle Strip Promenadethe summer season home was made nearly completely of laborious pine wooden.

Though he and his spouse resided in an analogous type home on to the east, friends from all around the world stayed in the summertime residence. The constructing additionally served as Beal’s workplace, in addition to a spot to show his in depth assortment of over 2 million shell specimens.

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Hunter Morrison

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WUWF Public Media

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Hunter Morrison

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WUWF Public Media

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Hunter Morrison

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WUWF Public Media

Beal started accumulating seashells in 1888, when he bought his first specimen on a visit to Key West. By 1940 his assortment had develop into one of many largest on the earth. The gathering was finally donated to Rollins Faculty in Winter Park after which transferred to Florida Museum of Natural History on the College of Florida.

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Tom Rice

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Magnolia Grill

Dr. James Hartley Beal

Every artifact within the assortment has been labeled with the situation, date, and site it was discovered, proving invaluable to scientists as we speak. Native historian Tom Rice, proprietor of the Magnolia Grill in Fort Walton Seashore, says a few of the specimen vials nonetheless comprise salt water.

“It wasn’t only a fairly look, it was one thing that had worth,” Rice mentioned. “Folks got here from many locations, and [Beal] would show his assortment of shells and other people would have a look at it.

After Beal’s loss of life in 1945, his household continued to reside in the home. The final recognized individual to reside there was Maggie Starkey, aunt of Rice’s spouse, Peggy, and granddaughter of Dr. Beal. She lived there till the Nineteen Sixties.

“We’re not specializing in it being the seashell museum, it wasn’t actually a museum,” Rice mentioned. “It was a residence that contained quite a lot of issues. It actually wasn’t a shell museum when he was alive, it was his workplace.

Rice says the Beal residence was truly two halves of a home joined collectively. Half of the home was demolished when it was moved from its unique location in 2005. Rice additionally says a few of the home windows in the home have been used on the former East River Smokehouse in Navarre.

After years of vacant and large-scale renovations, the Beal Residence was remodeled into the Summerhouse Restaurant, which operated from 1988 to 1992 and once more from 1995 to 2004. Alan Laird, proprietor of AJ Eating places, saved the constructing from the demolition in 2005. by transferring it to its present location by way of a barge. He deliberate to show the constructing right into a restaurant, however as a consequence of zoning points and complaints from close by residents, these plans by no means materialized.

“It was doomed the primary time it obtained an viewers,” Rice mentioned.

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Hunter Morrison

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WUWF Public Media

Regardless of this, Laird has put in a historic marker on the property that speaks of Dr. Beal and his seashell museum. The home has remained deserted ever since.

The historic marker has since been eliminated and the property is now on the market.

“We’d simply like to see one thing constructive occur to him,” Rice mentioned. “We have had our hopes up a number of instances, however the actuality is he is dwelling on borrowed time. It might take great effort and imaginative and prescient for somebody to do one thing about it.

Rice spoke of the significance of the home not solely to town of Fort Walton Seashore, however to that of her household. He says it is unhappy to see the present state of the home.

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Hunter Morrison

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WUWF Public Media

“The fireside is type of a particular place for our household,” Rice mentioned. “Household obtained married there, and you’ll see that in a few of the previous 16mm motion pictures my stepdad had remodeled Christmas. If you move the home now, the chimney has disintegrated and it is only a pile of rubble.

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Hunter Morrison

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WUWF Public Media

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Hunter Morrison

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WUWF Public Media

By means of the Lens is a photograph essay collection by WUWF Public Media. All pictures have been taken with permission from the proprietor. Trespassing on this property is prohibited.

Deserted Northwest Florida is a photograph collection that explores forgotten locations. Have you learnt an deserted place that ought to be featured? Electronic mail Hunter Morrison at [email protected] to let him know.


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