Armone Carving
ASHS Column for May 11, 2006
Jerry Simmons

    I hope you’ve enjoyed
Margaret Collier’s column
the last few weeks about
"The Winding River Road."
The greatest thing about
history could well be the
fact it has few borders.
The beginnings of the
logging industry in Santa
Rosa County and its
eventual settlement have little to do with the history of Century - yet it has everything to do with it! We all are intertwined, if not by blood then by culture and regional similarities. The names and places in the story are familiar to so many of us that it reminds us we’re neighbors and relatives!
    It’s good to be back at the keyboard writing once again, although as Margaret alluded from time to time, I never was far from her column. She allows me to pick the photos for both our columns and I do some minor editing and once in a while a little major addition to her column before I email it to the Ledger on Friday mornings.
    With all the recent hullabaloo about illegal aliens, I thought it appropriate to mention something that’s been around for more than one hundred years. However, this little story isn’t about illegal aliens, but maybe more truthfully a legal immigrant. You may have seen a piece of art hanging on the wall in the Escambia County Bank lobby for some time and not known what it’s doing there. The "piece" is a three-dimensional carving of a sailing ship, given to James Houston Jones, J.R. Jones’ grandfather.
    In 1953, Mr. Jones typed a note explaining what he knew of the item. He said that the ship was said to have been made by a retired sea captain during the latter part of the 1800s. Then it was given to an Italian barber named Paul Armone, an Italian, one of the first barbers to operate at Century.
    Mr. Jones often made comments to Armone on how he admired the work and when Armone left town he gave it to Jones. In 1953 Mr. Jones gave it to the Escambia County Bank to display as they saw fit after having it himself for over forty years.
It’s said that Armone died in the late 1940s.
    When you get a chance to go into the lobby, mention the ship and I am sure someone will direct you to it. It is technically not a ship but a four-masted schooner, carved with a pocket knife. You will be amazed at the intricate work and detail that went into it.
    Trying to find more facts on the Internet about Paul Armone proved fruitless. Armone is still a popular Italian name and has connections with Sicily, home of the Mafia, as I understand it. Anyone with more information please let us know and we’ll be happy to pass it on.
    Be ready for culture to come to town in August! The Society is hosting a Florida Humanities "Roads Scholar." Kelly Reynolds from Tampa will present "Henry Plant – Live!" Plant was a railroad tycoon who helped change much of Florida from a wilderness to winter paradise in the late 19 th century. Reynolds gives a living-history portrayal of vintage photographs, wood-burning locomotives, steam boats, resort hotels and small-town festivities.
    We’ll give more information as time goes on. It will prove to be quite a treat for us to host the program and for you to witness it!
    Come see us!

This page last modified on Sunday, June 04, 2006