In 1868, the Stone family purchased much of the land surrounding the St. Joseph Bay, including the peninsula. They sold it to the U. S. government in 1940 to use for military training. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park opened in 1967. It was dedicated to the former owner, T. H. Stone, a respected community leader in Gulf County.
This small park office was once the business hub and entrance point to the park. In addition to serving the work needs of the park manager and assistant manager, day use, campsite and cabin registrations were also done here.
A concession was once available to campers and visitors to the park. Hotdogs, hamburgers and drinks were served, and a small grocery store with tackle supplies was available. In 1987 a hurricane damaged the building, making it unusable. It was torn down shortly afterward.
This aerial was taken when the boat basin, visitor center and concession were still operational. The original basin was a primitive boat launch. In the late 1980s, concrete seawalls were constructed and a boardwalk was built around the basin.
Prescribed fire remains an important tool used by parks to maintain natural habitat. Times have changed in the nature of protective gear for the rangers. This photo was taken in the days when burn gear consisted of whatever you had on and the only equipment available included flaps and rakes. Gloves were optional. Thankfully new materials, such as the flame resistant apparel called NOMEX, is just one of the many items that provide rangers and volunteers with more protection today.