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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Day Trip to Historic DeFuniak Springs, Florida

We went for a ride to explore the surrounding areas and about 30 miles north of our campground we came upon DeFuniak Springs... A cute little town with some beautiful historic homes, built in the late 1800s and Historic Downtown. Located in Walton County, DeFuniak Springs emerged in the 1880s as a railroad stop. This Northwest Florida city is centered around a completely round lake, Lake DeFuniak. and is home to the Walton-Defuniak Library, the oldest library in Florida still serving the public

DeFuniak Springs is a small city of around 7,000 located off of Interstate 10 between Tallahassee and Pensacola. The city is the county seat for Walton County, Florida. DeFuniak Springs is home to many interesting historical events. Another point of interest is Lake DeFuniak, said to be one of only two perfectly round natural lakes in the world. Folklore has it that the lake was formed by a large meteor crashing to earth centuries ago. The circumference of the lake is 5,280feet, which makes a pleasant mile. Their major industry is agriculture, which is growing all the time, if you'll excuse the pun. The cattle business, timber (especially pine), and poultry farms are primary resources.

County Seat Courthouse built 1871 (est) & St. Agatha's old church was founded in 1890 and finished in 1896. It is the oldest in the city and the stain glass windows are of interest. St. Agatha's was the first church built in DeFuniak Springs

In 1881, a railroad surveying party consisting of W. D. Chipley, W.J. VanKirk, and W.T. Wright came to the area seeking a route for the L&N Railroad. After stopping on a hillside overlooking the beautiful, naturally round lake, Colonel Chipley exclaimed, "Here a town shall be built!" The traditional Victorian bracketed Louisville & Nashville railroad depot in DeFuniak Springs was first built in 1882, and then enlarged in 1909

They planned a town named after Fred R. DeFuniak, who held many high offices with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, including that of General Manger. The Florida Chautauqua Association organized in 1884 and held its first assembly in DeFuniak Springs in February of 1885. This assembly made DeFuniak Springs one of the cultural centers of the southeast until the late 1920s.

The Walton~DeFuniak Library is the oldest structure built in 1887 as a library and is still in operation today. Also The Hotel DeFuniak built in 1920 is now operated as a B&B filled with many antiques of the time period.

Numerous Victorian era homes encircle little Lake DeFuniak, and it's at times difficult to tell the old homes from the new ones built in the same Colonial Revival and Queen Anne styles. The town has around 200 historic buildings surrounding the lake, 40 or so which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Small towns are always a fascination to me even ones that do not have anything to do because they always have houses and buildings that were built long ago. I often wonder what was this town like in it's heyday. DeFuniak Springs is one of those towns that are desperately trying to hold onto their historic district in hopes of drawing tourist. It is a nice little town!

Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!


Happytrails said...

What a quaint little town. I have heard of DeFuniak Springs but have never been there. What beautiful architecture!! They just don't build like that anymore. Thanks for sharing!!
You guys enjoy and take care!

Sue and Doug said...

hi there Donna...
the name DeFuniak?..almost like our last name..get rid of the f and the u and add a BID..and what have you got!??.. ;)
great tour..thanks for sharing your day will all of us who are just sitting back and reading along!!

Rick said...

Beautiful old buildings - so many of them. Fantastic photos!

Rick and Elaine NB said...

Great Pictures...I have read your blog before via others blogs (I'm so technically challenged) but we have you now added to list..thanks for joining ours :)...what a gorgeous town...gorgeous architecture

Shelia said...

Hi Donna! Oh, this looks like a wonderful little town! I'm sure there's lot of history to discover. We love to run across little places like this!
Thanks for visiting and liking my little crochet pieces.
Shelia ;)

Get your mamogram & check up today... Early detection saved my life....


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