Watch The News Herald if you are visiting Panama City Beach. You may find a collector postcard with your paper. City’s centennial postcards will become a collection starting Monday.
A series of postcards signed by internationally renowned Panama City artist Paul Brent will be inserted in The News Herald over the next few months. The first, on Monday, will feature Bay High School. Other historical sites include First Baptist Church, the Bay County Courthouse, the Cove Hotel, the Dixie Sherman Hotel, City Hall and the Ritz Theatre (later renamed the Martin Theatre).
The high-quality cards are 5 by 7 inches and can be framed. Card insertions will be on third Mondays in August, October, December, February and April as the celebration continues past the centennial date of Feb. 23, 2009. The postcards will continue a collection by Brent that began in February this year with an exhibit at the Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida.
According to written research Brent did for his Bay High postcard, the school that rose on Harrison Avenue during the Roaring ’20s was a product of Panama City’s growth. It replaced four smaller ones, in Panama City, Millville, St. Andrews and Lynn Haven. Spanish Colonial Revival was a popular architectural style in Florida at the time, and Bay High’s architect adapted many Spanish elements for the red-brick building. Those include a red tile roof and the arch surrounds, or decorative borders, on the arches at the building’s far ends. But there were classical details as well, such as arched doorways and windows, classical columns, a central archway and baluster details on the building’s façade. Bay County High School opened Sept. 13, 1926, with 12 classrooms, an auditorium, school offices, an outside wooden court for basketball or tennis and a dirt field for football. Later additions to the original brick building in the 1950s and ’60s included an enclosed gym, a library, a cafeteria and several classroom wings. The original building was torn down in 1976 and replaced by the current building, designed by the architectural firm of Smith, Bozarth and Fuller, that now houses the school’s offices.
But many still remember the original brick building fondly as the revered symbol of Bay High.
If you or your business would like to sponsor one of the postcards call Rebecca Saunders at (850) 522-2130 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.