Monday, October 8, 2007

Annual "ghost town" homecoming a success

The 46th annual Homecoming at Oak Grove Church in Old Parramore took place this weekend and, once again, was a success. The annual event, unlike many Northwest Florida homecomings, actually celebrates a community rather than a congregation.
Regular services are no longer held at Oak Grove, instead the beautiful little country church serves as a permanent memorial to the Jackson County "ghost town" of Parramore. A prosperous commercial center during the late 1800s and early 1900s, the community once boasted 5 stores, a post office, cotton gin, sawmill, gristmill, blacksmith shop, churches, schools and more. Several hundred residents lived in the area.
Parramore owed its commercial life to the turpentine industry. Rosin was harvested from the area longleaf pine woods and shipped out in barrels aboard paddlewheel riverboats. Several Chattahoochee River landings served the Parramore area. The most important of these was Peri Landing (pronounced "Pea Rye"), which was listed in 1919 as being one of the few "warehouse landings" along the lower Chattahoochee.
Railroads and modern highways eventually replaced the riverboats as means of transportation and they disappeared by the middle of the 20th century. Parramore all but disappeared with them. The turpentine industry dwindled away after World War II and with it went the stores and other commercial establishments. Today little remains other than gravestones, churches and a scattering of homes.
Each year on the first Sunday in October, former and current residents of Parramore and their families gather at Oak Grove to celebrate the existence of the community.

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