Graceville may be the closest thing to a time warp in Jackson County. Many of its residents compare it to the fictional town of Mayberry.
The old peanut mill near downtown, once the largest operating mill in the world, is a reminder of the past. This is the same place that became the smallest town to have a professional baseball team in 1952. Graceville became known as the “biggest little town in professional baseball” when the Graceville Oilers played in the Alabama-Florida League for seven seasons.
The team disbanded when the league downsized, despite a passionate following in Graceville, including 3,000 fans who showed up for the all star game in 1955. The baseball team and peanut mill may be gone, but Graceville has many reminders of the past.
The town, with a population of about 2,000 people, has the kind of shops that exist in only a few places in the world. The Carpenter’s Son, an unfinished furniture store located on Cotton Street, is easy to find while strolling through downtown. Wooden swings and rocking chairs sit along the brick storefront, giving potential customers a glance at real craftsmanship.
The Service Drug Store, in business since 1907, still offers fountain drinks. It’s run by one of its former soda jerks. The city is also home to Jackson County’s only outlet mall. “You can still get a nickel cup of coffee there at the drug store,” one resident said.
Home of the Baptist College of Florida, Graceville has an institution committed to preserving the past. A recent project brought many historic buildings onto the college campus’ Heritage Village. It features an old, one room schoolhouse, churches and other worthy structures.