PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City commissioners approved $159,000 on Tuesday to remove lead paint, replace damaged wood, and to paint the historic McKenzie house. The home is located adjacent to McKenzie Park.
“Restoring the McKenzie House is very important as we restore the entire historic downtown,” Panama City City Manager Mark McQueen said.
Soon the McKenzie house will receive a fresh coat of paint as city officials look to restore it to one of the foundational structures in downtown Panama City.
“It used to be painted a beige light beige are an off-white with green trim on it,” Bay County Historical Society Vice-President Robert Hurst said. “And that’s so typical of the old framed dwellings in the downtown.”
Hurst said that while the home is known as Robert McKenzie’s (the first mayor of Panama City), his wife was actually the first one to live there.
“Bell Booth built it,” Hurst said. “She was the postmistress in the downtown, but she married Mr. McKenzie and he became the first mayor.”
Hurst said McKenzie was an influential person in the area before the town became Panama City in 1909.
“He was, he was a landowner, he was a part of the development that took place,” Hurst said.
But City Manager Mark McQueen said it’s been a long process renovating the home into a place the public can use.
“We had to go back and shore up posts, put in support beams, those types of things, which had to be done to make sure that it was a safe facility for the public,” McQueen said. “And that’s our intent, is to get this the house restored, get it back out into the public domain so that it can be used.”
McQueen said the home should be open by this spring.