Bagdad was a thriving town. At its height, the mill employed about 1,200 mill workers and more than 60 businesses, churches, and schools operated in the village. A November 7, 1885, article in The Pensacola Commercial reported, "Bagdad has a population of 500, the white and black being about equally divided, and a good school, the teacher being the Rev Walker... The residence portion of the village is well laid off and nicely paved with sawdust, the streets being wide and shaded." The company provided segregated housing for mill workers, but they had a hard life with long days and low pay. Many earned about $30 per month until World War I. Housing and electricity were provided at a minimal fee by the company, and costs were subtracted from paychecks, while food, clothing, and supplies were purchased at the company store using tokens paid to the mill workers. Without provisions for safety workers occasionally lost fingers, limbs, and even their lives. In an era before workers' compensation and health insurance, each worker paid a dime per month to the company doctor for medical care, which served as a primitive form of security. The company tried to create a self-sustaining community for the workers and their families. When the Bagdad Land and Lumber Company closed in 1939, the Bagdad Corporation was formed to dispose of the real estate. Many of the mill houses, built in the shotgun or Creole Cottage style, transferred to private ownership, at very low prices.
The Bagdad Post Office
A post office was established in 1867 about 25 years after the founding of Bagdad, with the first separate facility
in 1912. lt would become the hub of the community as residents came to get their mail and learn the latest news. Mary Joyner was named postmistress in 1896 and served until 1940. She was followed by Gertrude Gauger who served until 1975. Upon her death, the building was donated by the family to the Bagdad Village Preservation Association.
Left, bottom: Bagdad Post Office, original & restored
Right, top: Bagdad Mill office on Forsyth St.
Right, middle: Boarding House in Bagdad
Right, bottom: Workers at the Bagdad Mill