Florida Historical Markers Programs - Marker: Walton

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Location:1466 County Road 393 South
County: Walton
City: Santa Rosa Beach
Description: Gulf Cemetery was established circa 1910 when the town of Santa Rosa was established on Hogtown Bayou. The town’s first families began to bury their loved ones at this site, the area’s highest elevation with a view of the Gulf of Mexico. The cemetery was formally established as a U.S. Government parcel on June 17, 1914, when President Woodrow Wilson signed patent 414345, which authorized the sale of 40 acres of land to the Gulf Cemetery Association. Gulf Cemetery and the Alango Cemetery in St. Louis County, Minnesota, are the only two U.S. patented cemeteries still in operation east of the Mississippi River. Gulf Cemetery has faced numerous obstacles since its establishment. It was sold in error three times for delinquent property taxes and, more recently, was threatened by private development. Originally the cemetery was subdivided by various religious denominations but now the grounds are interdenominational. The cemetery contains the remains of many veterans, as well as those of pioneer families, some marked by wooden crosses and weathered monuments, who were instrumental in the founding of the South Walton community. The cemetery’s long tradition of volunteer care and preservation is still in place.
Sponsors: Gulf Cemetery Association Inc. and the Florida Department of State
Location:Near Intersecton of Oak Grove and Alford Rd.
County: Walton
City: North of Defuniak Springs
Description: Just prior to 1860, Francis Marion Alford, Sr. selected Limestone Creek for his grist mill. The numerous springs feeding the creek created a good flow of water even during a severe drought. This particular site was chosen for its high banks on both sides of the creek, simplifying the installation of a weir (barrier). Construction was completed probably in early 1864. Soon this site became the focal point of the community. A post office was established as well as a stage coach stop. Alford’s Mill is also denoted on Yankee invasion maps. Marion sold the mill in 1883 and the post office was changed from Alford’s Mill to Limestone. The mill came back into the Alford family in 1897 when William David (Shug) Alford and his father-in-law, Ace Washington Dannelley, purchased the old mill and converted it into a saw mill. They operated the saw mill until 1904. Many stories have been handed down about how during the last years of the Civil War, many hungry mouths were furnished bread from the Alford’s Mill.
Location:181 Eden Gardens Road, Eden Gardens State Park
County: Walton
City: Point Washington
Description: "Who loves a garden, still his 'Eden' keeps." Amos Bronson Alcott The estate was bought in 1963 by Lois Genevieve Maxon, who planned the gardens which enhance the lovely natural setting and restored the mansion in antebellum style. Built in 1895 by lumberman William Henry Wesley, the house had elaborate Victorian trimming. The restoration fulfills a local legend which claims that the original design was inspired by an antebellum plantation house where the builder was given shelter on his way from the War Between the States. Wesley's lumber partner and father-in-law, Simeon Strickland, had an identical house nearby, of which a portion still stands. Traces of their mill, where lumber for the two houses was cut, may still be seen on the "Eden" grounds.
Sponsors: Given to the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials, December 1968 by Lois Genevieve Maxon in loving memory of her parents: Harry Russell Maxon 1883-1960 and Lois Adelheide Gustava Margarethe von Purucker Maxon 1888-1960
Location:McKinnon Bridge Rd.
County: Walton
City: Defuniak Springs
Description: Eucheeanna, the first Scottish settlement in territorial Florida, was named in honor of the Euchee Indians. Tradition holds that the first slave child was born in the settlement. Eucheeanna consisted of a school, court house, jail, Masonic and Odd Fellows halls, general stores, a sawmill and a grist mill. The first monument in Florida erected to confederate dead was located in Eucheeanna in 1868 by the Ladies’ Monument Association. At that time, Eucheeanna was the county seat for Walton County until the court house was burned by an arsonist in May, 1885. On May 27, 1886, a commission approved moving the Walton County seat to DeFuniak Springs. Finally, the monument was moved to Euchee Valley Presbyterian Church and later moved to DeFuniak Springs. The Civil War came to Eucheeanna on September 23, 1864 when the federal troops, under General Ashboth, came to raze and plunder on their way to Marianna and Tallahassee.
Location:95 Circle Drive, In front of Chamber of Commerce
County: Walton
City: Defuniak Springs
Description: Florida teachers and administrators numbering 700 met here in Chautauqua Hall for a "teachers institute" called the Florida Chautauqua. The meeting was called to order by J.A. Graham, City Superintendent of Schools, Key West, at 12:30 p.m., on Thursday March 4, 1886. The major purpose of the gathering was a short but intensive training period mainly in subject matter fields, for many teachers were mere "grammar school grads." Here was the beginning of the Florida Education Association. A separate black teachers' association was formed in 1890. On July 1, 1966 the black and white organizations merged. The name Florida Education Association was continued for this combined organization and, in 1975, the word "United" was added when FEA and Florida's American Federation of Teachers merged. The Florida Education Association has become a symbol of the achievements of the past and an inspiration to those who will promote excellence for Florida's public schools, colleges, and universities in the future.
Sponsors: sponsored by the walton county education association,florida education association/united,in cooperation with the florida department of state
Location:571 E Nelson Ave on Courthouse lawn.
County: Walton
City: Defuniak Springs
Description: Shortly after the Civil War, the women of Walton County organized a "Ladies' Memorial Association," with Jeannet I. McKinnon as president, to erect a marble monument honoring Walton County's Confederate dead. The Association raised $250, and the monument was first erected in 1871 at Valley Church. It was moved to Euchee Anna, the county seat, and then to DeFuniak Springs when it became the county seat.
Sponsors: Walton County Chamber of Commerce, Florida Historical Society and Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
Location:Intersection of Knox Hill Road and Pulsey Hill Road
County: Walton
City: Defuniak Springs
Description: The Knox Hill Academy, a boarding school, was founded in 1848 by the Rev. John Newton (April 22, 1814-Nov. 21, 1871), who was also the head master and a Presbyterian minister. It was first located near a spring northeast of the Morrison Place on Knox Hill. The original sponsors were the Campbells, McLeans, Gunns, Morrisons, Gillies, McCaskills, McPhersons, and McDonalds. It replaced the log Henry School House. The first building was a split log house built on the top of a hill and furnished with single desks and blackboards. Slates and chalk were used for writing. Eighty-four to 100 regular pupils attended. In January 1859 the academy was moved to a large, two-story frame building north of the original site. Class for older students was held on the second floor and the younger students on the first floor. This academy was highly acclaimed and provided education for students from West Florida, Southwest Georgia and Southern Alabama, from Pensacola to Tallahassee. It also included a laboratory for chemistry and physics. Reverend John Newton closed Knox Hill Academy in 1871 and moved to Mary Esther where he opened a school. Reverend Newton’s motto was: “You must learn and obey.”
Location:Intersection of Live Oak Avenue and Circle Drive
County: Walton
City: Defuniak Springs
Description: The Walton-DeFuniak Library opened during the first decade of the existence of the town of DeFuniak Springs. This community originated in the early 1880's as a station on the new Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad. The town was named for Frederick de Funiak, president of the P. and A. Railroad, a subsidiary of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Railroad officials promoted the development of the area's recreational resources. In the mid-1880's, representatives of the widely popular Chautauqua association, an adult education movement combining education with religion and recreation, selected DeFuniak Springs as the Florida assembly grounds site. In 1885, the first annual session of the Florida Chautauqua Association was held here. Local women realized that library resources were needed for the Florida Chautauqua. In 1886, an "Aid Society" was formed which the next year became the "Ladies Library Association." By the end of 1887, the DeFuniak Library building was completed. The institution became the Walton County Public Library in 1966 and in 1975 was named the Walton-DeFuniak Library. At that time, the library building was the oldest structure in Florida built as a library and still serving that purpose.
Sponsors: sponsored by the defuniak springs ladies library associationin cooperation withdepartment of state
Location:132 Circle Dr
County: Walton
City: DeFuniak Springs
Description: The original Chautauqua Institution was founded in 1874 on Lake Chautauqua in western New York state as a vacation school for Sunday school teachers. The idea of providing a retreat for improving religious and secular education for the general public spread rapidly throughout the nation in the 1880s, giving birth to independent Chautauquas that became platforms for discussion of the latest thinking in politics, economics, literature, science and religion. The first Florida Chautauqua convened on the banks of Lake DeFuniak in 1885. It was the second Chautauqua founded in America and was one of many nationwide attracted noted educators and famous lecturers. The Hall of Brotherhood, containing an auditorium seating 4,000 people was completed in 1910 at a cost of $28,000. By the beginning of the 20th century the national Chautauqua movement had declined and the Florida Chautauqua closed in 1920. The Hall of Brotherhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, but in 1975 a hurricane destroyed the auditorium wing and severely damaged the rest of the structure. Since then, there has been an ongoing program to fully restore the building.
Location:CR 183 Near CJ Laird Rd.
County: Walton
City: Ponce De Leon
Description: This is the site of one of Florida’s oldest organized Presbyterian Church which was the largest Presbyterian Church in Florida until 1885. On May 27, 1827, the Reverend Murdoch Murphy of the Alabama Synod presided with one Elder, Donald McLean, Sr., and 15 families. This log church served the community for 20 years until a new 50 by 100 ft. church with large inside galleries was built adjacent to the log church on November 26, 1848. Reverend Robert Quarterman Baker, civil war veteran from Georgia, served the church until his death in October 1923. The third and present church was erected, using foundation supports from the original log church. The cemetery contains the remains of many original settlers, including two signers of Florida’s first Constitution, veterans of all wars dating from the Revolutionary War, civic leaders, elected officials and ministers. There are more than 3,000 graves in the old cemetery, many unmarked, and many brought home from Alabama and Northwest Florida.
Sponsors: Walton County Board of Commissioners and the Florida Department of State
Location:Cosson rd
County: Walton
City: DeFuniak Springs
Description: In 1936, James Marvin Cosson Sr. moved his family to this location about one-half mile east of the Eglin Army Airfield to have more land to farm and to provide for his wife, Annie Bell Cosson, and their four children. During World War II, Eglin Airfield served as a major testing and training ground for bombing missions. The Army Air Corps regularly performed training missions at the Eglin bombing range, located about three miles west of the Cosson home. On the evening of August 11, 1944, as nine members of the Cosson family gathered at the house to socialize, live fragmentation bombs accidentally began to fall on the family homestead. Two bombs fell near the house, killing four and seriously injuring five members of the Cosson family. The accident occurred during a normal bombing test run and was attributed to the failure of a mechanical releasing device, which caused the aircraft’s bombs not to be released until after the plane had traveled past the bombing test area. Other training accidents took place in Florida during World War II, but the Cosson family tragedy was the worst of the war. In 1980, Congress passed a bill providing a yearly payment to the most seriously injured survivor of the Cosson family tragedy.
Sponsors: The Walton County Board of County Commissioners and the Florida Department of State