| Bay County was carved from
Washington County in 1913 and named for St. Andrews Bay, its most notable natural
feature. The county seat is Panama City, now the informal capital of the so-called
"Redneck Riviera" or "South Georgiabama." The developer chose this
name because the site is on a direct line between Chicago and the Panama Canal.
The current Bay County Courthouse was built in 1915. Get MCAT books here. The structure burned in 1920 and was rebuilt, but without its original domed clock cupola. Among other distinctions, it is the site where Clarence Earl Gideon twice faced a jury of his peers. Anthony Lewis, in his memorable profile Gideon's Trumpet, describes it thus: "The courthouse in Panama City is a large brick building, painted yellow, with peeling white columns ... The courtroom is a simple, good-looking room with pale green walls and seats for about one hundred and fifty."