Robert Lee McKenzie's Home and Office

Robert Lee McKenzie's Home and Office (HM53Z)

Location: Panama City, FL 32401 Bay County
Country: United States of America

N 30° 9.264', W 85° 39.618'

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(Front Side): The McKenzie House is a large two-story clapboard frame dwelling built in the Dutch Colonial style typical of the turn of the century houses still standing in Northern Michigan.

It was built 1909 by Belle Booth who married R. L. McKenzie in 1912, after which time the house came to be known as the McKenzie House. It stands today as it was enlarged in 1925.

This house is significant because it was one of the first houses in a virtually unsettled area of Northwest Florida and because it was the home and office of Robert Lee McKenzie.

McKenzie was born in Macon County, Georgia in 1870. He moved to the Florida Panhandle in 1902 where he became joint owner of a large naval stores business.

After acquiring some waterfront property here he was an organizer of the Gulf Coast Development Company. The purpose of the company was to buy more land and develop it into a town site and to secure more waterfront property for a railroad terminal. In 1906 this purpose was realized when McKenzie persuaded J. B. Steele of Atlanta to choose Gulf Coast Development Company land for his new railroad which would continue south from Dothan with connections to Atlanta. Steele said "I want this to be Atlanta's outlet to the Panama Canal," which suggested the new city's name.

(Reverse Side): In February 1909 Robert Lee McKenzie was elected Mayer of Panama City. He also served two consecutive terms as State Representative from Washington County in the Florida Legislature (1909-11, 1911-13).

McKenzie was a leader in the formation of Bay County. He was instrumental in getting a highway constructed to Pensacola. His work and dedication resulted in Panama City being the location of the International Paper Company.

The "Drummond Cut," completed in 1938 opened the intercoastal waterway to the west and McKenzie was a leader of this project.

During the war years McKenzie was Chairman of the Bay County Chapter of the Red Cross (1941-44) and a member of the Selective Services Board (1940-47).

On December 4, 1964, the park across the street was renamed McKenzie Park in honor of his devoted service to the community.

R. L. McKenzie's place in the development of Panama City is secure. Most of the important events of the town's development for a period of over 50 years (1902-1956) are linked with his name and efforts. For 45 years (1912-1956) the office/library of the McKenzie House was the center of his activities and as such gives real historic importance to the house and its place in Panama City history.
HM NumberHM53Z
Marker NumberF-315
Year Placed1987
Placed BySponsored by the Descendants of Robert Lee McKenzie in Cooperation with the Department of State
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 5:22am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16R E 629016 N 3336652
Decimal Degrees30.15440000, -85.66030000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 30° 9.264', W 85° 39.618'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds30° 9' 15.84" N, 85° 39' 37.08" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)850
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 306 Park St, Panama City FL 32401, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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