Florida Historical Markers Programs - Marker: Wakulla

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Location:Ochlockonee River State Park
County: Wakulla
City: South of Sopchoppy
Description: On March 11, 1968, a Special Permit for the use of this property in the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge was issued to the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials by the United States Department of the Interior. These organizations contributed greatly towards the park's establishment: Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund Board of Commissioners of State Institutions Florida Outdoor Recreational Development Council St. Joe Paper Company Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission Florida Forest Service Wakulla County Board of County Commissioners Wakulla County Development and Parks Commission Established March 11, 1966, through the leadership of Congressman Don Fuqua State Senator George G. Tapper Representative Ernest Roddenberry Ochlockonee River State Park Advisory Council Myron B. Hodge Steve R. Revell Ernest Roddenberry Harry G. Smith Claxton Vause, Jr., Chairman
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
Location:164 Yellow Jacket Avenue
County: Wakulla
City: Sopchoppy
Description: Constructed in 1924 and accredited in 1928, this was the first high school built in Wakulla County. The original stucco section, an “H”shaped design with one central area and three classrooms on each side, was made possible when Sopchoppy citizens voted in 1921 for a bond issue to cover construction costs. In the 1930s, the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) used local labor to construct the first limestone addition, containing two wings of seven classrooms and the present auditorium. The limestone portions are characteristic of Spanish mission construction and exemplify1930s master craftsmanship. In 1938-39, the second limestone addition was built, running in a north-south direction and featuring three classrooms with an adjoining hallway. Across the street, the “Spanish mission”-style gymnasium, also built during this time, has been restored for use during private, cultural and civic events. The school was integrated in 1966-67 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is architecturally significant due to its style and the master craftsmanship used in cutting its 18- to 20-inch thick walls of native limestone, which was mined approximately 12 miles north of Sopchoppy.
County: Wakulla
City: St. Marks
Description: Port Leon, located three miles south of St. Marks on Apalachee Bay, was founded in 1838 and incorporated in 1841. It was developed by and became the terminus of the Tallahassee Railroad Company. It was a prosperous port for a few years and was the county seat of Wakulla County. Completely destroyed by a hurricane and tidal wave in September 1843, the town was not rebuilt. The residents moved further inland and established Newport.
Location:At the San Marcos de Apalachee State Historic Site
County: Wakulla
City: St. Marks
Description: Side 1: Wooden stockades were built here by the Spanish in 1680 and 1758. In 1758, these were destroyed by a hurricane which drowned the garrison. A masonry fort was begun in 1759 but was soon abandoned to the Indians for a trading post and Indian rendezvous. It was occupied by the Spanish in 1783. General Andrew Jackson seized and occupied the fort in 1819. It became a United States possession in 1821 upon purchase of the territory from Spain. Side 2: It was occupied as an army post until 1824 when the Indians were moved to a reservation. The Town of St. Marks was created by an act of Congress in 1830 and became a port of entry before railroads were extended to the seaboard. The fort was re-established and occupied by the Confederate Army during the Civil War and a Federal Naval attack on the fort was repulsed in 1865.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials in Cooperation with Florida State Society and Dominie Everadus Bogardus Chapter Colonial Dames XVII Century
Location:8046 Coastal Highway, Newport Park
County: Wakulla
City: Newport
Description: Two miles north of this site was located the town of Magnolia, founded in 1827 by the four Hamlin brothers of Augusta, Maine. The Hamlin family had been attracted to the new territory of Florida by the availability of land. The Hamlins chose a site on the St. Marks River which had potential for development into a port town. Because of the lack of overland routes to the north, coastal outlets were particularly important to the settlers and planters of Middle Florida. Magnolia quickly developed into a small but busy port, and in 1829, a U.S. customs house was established there. In the early 1830's, the town had a number of stores and warehouses as well as a bank. Increasing cotton production contributed to magnolia's commercial growth, but soon the climate and navigational difficulties on the river presented problems for the community. Competition came from the nearby town of St. Marks, and in the mid-1830's the customs house was transferred there. Litigation over land claims in the area also contributed tot he decline of the community. Bypassed in 1836 by the new railroad from Tallahassee to St. Marks, Magnolia was gradually abandoned. Today nothing remains of the town except a small cemetery.
Sponsors: Sponsored by the wakulla county bicentennial committee in cooperation with department of state
Location:St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.
County: Wakulla
City: St. Marks
Description: Noted lighthouse builder, Winslow Lewis, began work on the Saint Marks structure in 1829. Eroding shores forced relocation a short distance inland, in 1842 to its present location. The adjoining keeper's house is not original having been rebuilt on several occasions. During the Civil War the lighthouse played a role in military affairs primarily because of its strategic position on the coast. Coastal raids launched from the blockading squadron comprised much of the hostile action against the Confederacy in Florida. One such raid in June of 1862 resulted in the destruction of a fortification located near the lighthouse. In response to the danger of raids of this nature, Confederate Army pickets were positioned in or near the lighthouse on a regular basis. To deter the use of the lighthouse as a lookout tower, a naval party landed and burned the steps and interior woodwork on July 15, 1863. In March of 1865 Federal troops landed near the lighthouse for a major raid into the interior only to be repulsed at the battle of Natural Bridge. Restored to service after the war it resumed the role of a navigational aid for Gulf Coast commerce.
Sponsors: Sponsored by The Florida Society Colonial Dames XVII Century In Cooperation With Department of State
Location:5148 Woodville Highway
County: Wakulla
City: St. Marks
Description: The Tallahassee to St. Marks railroad began operations in 1837. It was owned by the Tallahassee Rail Road Company, incorporated in 1834. The road was single track, twenty-three miles long, and had mule drawn cars. In 1839 a steam locomotive was added and the line extended to Port Leon. With a seaport terminus to serve a rich agricultural hinterland, the railroad did a large volume of business in cotton during the antebellum period.
Location:1 Spring Drive
County: Wakulla
City: Wakulla Springs
Description: This location is significant as it represents relationships between human culture and natural resources from the settlement systems of the Paleoindian period to the recent historic past, a period of nearly 15,000 years. There are 55 recorded archaeological sites located on the property. A variety of archaeological site types are represented, including Paleoindian kill sites, campsites, village areas, and a mound/village complex. Evidence of visits by Spanish and other European explorers has also been found. Late nineteenth and early twentieth century use included heavy timbering and naval stores activities and until the late 1930s it was a favorite place for picnics and political rallies. The acquisition of the area by Edward Ball in 1934 resulted in its development as an attraction, but one which focused on the preservation of wildlife and conservation of natural features. The construction of Wakulla Springs Lodge was completed and open to the public in September 1937. It is a fine example of the use of Mediterranean Revival architecture in an elegant, yet restrained application of the style, such that it does not detract from its natural surroundings. The district was listed on the National Register in 1993.