08 December 2011

Landmark ‘ship' demolished, but memories remain:

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Demolition of the three-masted pirate galley on Thomas Drive began this week, and Treasure Ship owner Lisa Todd said these are sad days as the fabled landmark is torn down, although warm memories remain.

The entire project to clear the site might take as long as six to eight weeks, but Todd said a multiuse development will take the restaurant’s place on the prime waterfront lot near Capt. Anderson’s Restaurant.

“We don’t have any concrete plans, other than something multiuse that would focus on the waterfront,” Todd said Thursday.

The April 2010 fire did more than destroy a restaurant, however. It also set off a flurry of Facebook posts and emails where customers shared their thoughts and memories of visits to the iconic spot built to resemble The Golden Hind, a galleon sailed by Sir Francis Drake.

“As a child, it was almost like walking into a pirate book the entire time you were there,” said one blog posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page this week.

“It's really heartbreaking to know we will never see it again,” another writer posted.

The restaurant metaphorically set sail in 1978 at twice the size of The Golden Hind before burning and throwing more than 100 employees out of work. The Treasure Island Marina has remained open on the roughly 12-acre site.

“The public has been so kind about this and sad to see it go,” Todd said. “The posts on Facebook and the emails have been so heartwarming.”

Martin Jacobson, head of the Bay County planning and zoning department, said this week that a demolition permit was issued earlier for the removal of the structure, but Todd said the permit was renewed so work would not take place during the height of the summer tourist season.

“The delay was to be considerate to the other businesses,” such as the marina’s charter boats and other rental craft, she said. After the remains of the restaurant are gone, work will begin on the seawall behind the location for an eventual boardwalk.

Todd said that as the 3 tall masts of the non-seagoing vessel have come down this week, she has started to focus on the waterfront view at the site and plans for the future. The Facebook posts continued Thursday, she said, similar to those posted more than a year ago.

“Man I remember hanging out at the brig on the weekends ... boy did we have some fun times …,” Barbara Lichty posted in September 2010.

“This is truly a great loss to PCB — thanks for the memories!” Terri Bartley McClain posted, also last year.

Source: Walton Sun. Pat Kelly. 8 December 2011

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