Monday, August 15, 2011

Fort Walton Beach, FL to DeFuniak Springs, FL - 54 miles

The end is near. Today we traveled from Fort Walton Beach, FL to DeFuniak Springs, FL. We turned inland and said goodbye to the gulf waters and sandy beaches for the next couple of days.


The town DeFuniak Springs, FL was founded by the officers of the Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad, a subsidiary of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The P and A was organized to connect the terminus of the L and N at Pensacola to the western terminus of a predecessor of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad at River Junction—now Chattahoochee—in the 1880s. It was named after Frederick R. DeFuniak, a vice-president of the L and N. Like much of  Northwest Florida, DeFuniak Springs was settled mainly by Scots from Virginia and the Carolinas.
DeFuniak Springs was established as a final-destination resort, and the developers enlisted the cooperation and aid of the Chautauqua Movement.

Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood

 The Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood, an auditorium seating 4,000, was constructed on Lake DeFuniak in the center of town. The auditorium of the building was severely damaged by Hurricane Eloise in 1975 and razed. However, a charitable foundation, The Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood Foundation, Inc., has undertaken a capital campaign for the historic restoration of the building. The westerly portion of the building facing Circle Drive is still in use.
 Historic Home
 Another view of train station
Lake DeFuniak
The town also contains various other historically significant landmarks. Near the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood building is the Walton County Library on Circle Drive, the oldest extant library in the state of Florida. The library contains an interesting assortment of antiquities, including an impressive medieval weapon collection and many first-edition books. Also situated on Circle Drive are the Walton County Heritage Museum, housed in the former L and N Railroad Depot, and St. Agathas's Episcopal Church, built in 1895-1896.
We are staying at the Super 8.

Tomorrow we off to Mariana, FL.

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