History of Long Beach Resort
I recently published a "Hang Out" calendar using old postcard views of Long Beach and the Hang Out for the cover and each month. Check it out HERE.
J.E. Churchwell moved to the Panama City Beach area in the 1920's. He purchased land from a Mr. Sharpless and Mr. Brown in the 1930's that was already named Long Beach Resort. In the 1940's his nephew, Guy Churchwell, moved to Long Beach Resort from Holmes Co., FL. His family back in Holmes Co. questioned why he would want to buy all that sand that couldn't be farmed! Guy Churchwell became the Mayor of Long Beach Resort until the City of Panama City Beach was incorporated in the 1970's.
The Hang Out was built by J.E. Churchwell in the early 1940's. The Casino building was moved from the area now known as Shell Island. The building along the east side of the walkway that went from the Casino building down to the Hang Out was originally a bowling alley. It was built in the 1940's. Later it became a concession area. On the other side of the walkway amusement rides were built in the 1940's by John B. Davis, who leased that part of the property. In the 1950's Shan Wilcox leased the property and brought in his newer rides, which included a Ferris Wheel, Carousel, Bumper Cars, and others. Mr. Barnett, in photo below, worked for J.E. and Guy Churchwell. "Sweet Pea", also in photo below, ran a hot dog concession at Long Beach Resort.
The Casino and Hangout were closed in 1975. What a sad sight that must have been when the buildings were demolished! The end of an era that will never return. When keys were left in the car and front doors were never locked. It is sad indeed that kids of today will never know of this time. The remainder of Long Beach Resort was sold at auction in 1986.
© 2005 jd@jdweeks. com
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