The S.S. Tarpon

Before the coming of the railroad, St. Andrew Bay depended on water for transportation and the shipping and receiving of goods and people.

On January 28, 1903, the steamship S.S. Tarpon began sailing on a weekly trip stopping at Panama City, Millville, St. Andrew, Pensacola, Apalachicola, Carrabelle, and Mobile. Captained by Willis Green Barrow, the Tarpon was 160 feet long with a tonnage of 450 tons. Captain Barrow was the only captain of the rugged Tarpon. He was a rough salty seadog to his men but charming to the ladies and a hero to the children.

For 34 years the Tarpon made scheduled trips as the primary source of passenger and freight traffic. The final journey ended when she was caught in a storm on September 1, 1937 off the coast of Panama City Beach. Aboard were 31 passengers, machinery, barrels of flour, and about 300 cases of beer. In addition to the loss of cargo, 18 of the 31 people aboard were lost. The good ship Tarpon went to her last resting place carrying her faithful captain, Captain Barrow, to his death.


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