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Panama City in Bay County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Robert Lee McKenzie's Home and Office

 
 
Robert Lee McKenzie's Home and Office Marker, Front Side image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, May 29, 2008
1. Robert Lee McKenzie's Home and Office Marker, Front Side
Inscription.  (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
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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 Mayor 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
Robert Lee McKenzie's Home and Office Marker, Reverse Side image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, May 29, 2008
2. Robert Lee McKenzie's Home and Office Marker, Reverse Side
house and its place in Panama City history.
 
Erected 1987 by Sponsored by the Descendants of Robert Lee McKenzie in Cooperation with the Department of State. (Marker Number F-315.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1909.
 
Location. 30° 9.264′ N, 85° 39.618′ W. Marker is in Panama City, Florida, in Bay County. Marker is at the intersection of East 3rd Court and Park Street, on the right when traveling west on East 3rd Court. Located in front of the McKenzie House across the street from McKenzie Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 17 East 3rd Court, Panama City FL 32401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Idle Hour Theater (within shouting distance of this marker); Cook Motor Company (within shouting distance of this marker); McKenzie Park (within shouting distance of this marker); W.L. Folkes Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Van Kleeck Company (about 400 feet away); The Page Building (about 500 feet away); The Moon Jewelry Co. (about 500 feet away); Bank of Panama City – The Gilbert Building (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Panama City.
 
Marker in front of the McKenzie Home image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, May 29, 2008
3. Marker in front of the McKenzie Home
Side View of the House image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, May 29, 2008
4. Side View of the House
McKenzie Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, May 29, 2008
5. McKenzie Park
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 23, 2017. It was originally submitted on June 5, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,654 times since then and 186 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 5, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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Jul. 21, 2024