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Bay County was occupied by several tribes of Native Americans long before the "white man" came to Florida. The two main tribes were first the Choctaw, later followed by the Creek. In 1830, the U. S. Government passed the Indian Removal Act which called for eastern Indians to be moved west to make room for more white settlers.

Panama City began with three homesteads. One was secured by S.L. Slade and was located around the present courthouse site and was platted as Floropolis. J.R. Irwin's homestead included the Harrison Avenue land. It was sold to George Jenks and platted in 1888 as Park Resort. The town name was later changed to Harrison after our 9th president, President William H. Harrison. The third homestead was west of Harrison Avenue around the Bay Line Depot. It belonged to G. B. Thompson. The unsold land in each of the homesteads was purchased by G. M. West of Chicago, Illinois in 1905. Since a line between Chicago, Illinois and the Panama Canal passes through Panama City, Harrison was renamed Panama City.

Representatives from five towns on the bay, met at Panama City on February 12, 1913, for the purpose of selecting a name for a proposed new County. The name BAY was selected as one which would be satisfactory to the majority of the citizens and as being distinctive of the territory. On July 1, 1913, Bay County was created by the Legislature from portions of Washington, Calhoun and Walton counties.


 

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