DEFUNIAK SPRINGS FLORIDA
DeFuniak Springs Florida, is in the northwest part of the state. It is located at the intersection of US-331 and US-90 just north of I-10, about 60 miles east of Pensacola.
HISTORY OF DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, FLORIDA
This little village at Lake DeFuniak started life as a small way station on the Pensacola & Atlantic Railroad.
It was named after Col. Frederick DeFuniak, an executive of the Louisville-Nashville Railroad.
DeFuniak was a hard-working Italian immigrant who had been an
officer in the army of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the George Washington of
modern Italy. The Colonel allegedly won the right to name the town in a
Descendants of Colonel DeFuniak still live in north Florida and Alabama.
Members of a Methodist educational movement called the Chautauqua
Assembly, headquartered in New York, further developed the small
hamlet. It soon became their favorite winter retreat, growing in
importance and beauty.
Seemingly frozen in 19th century amber, DeFuniak Springs is one of the prettiest of Florida towns. 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. With a population of about 8,000 people, DeFuniak Springs might just have the most historic sites per capita of any town in Florida.
One of the many interesting old buildings is St. Agatha's Episcopal Church. It is a Carpenter Gothic church in the town historic district at 144 Circle Drive. The church was built in 1896.
Because of the old homes and Walton County's oaks and hilly
terrain, DeFuniak Springs sometimes feels more like rural New England
than rural Florida.
DEFUNIAK SPRINGS RESTAURANTS
- McLain's Family Restaurant, 622 Hugh Adams Road, DeFuniak
Springs Florida. 850-892-2402. Southern style buffet. Lots of choices,
plenty of deep fried deliciousness.
- H&M Hot Dog, 43 South 9th Street, DeFuniak
Springs Florida. 850-892-9100. The oldest continuously operating hot
dog stand in Florida, still turning out the eats since 1947. Great
Chicago-style hot dogs, kielbasas and homemade sauerkraut.
- Bogey's Bar and Restaurant, 600 Baldwin Ave, DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433. 850-951-2233. Downtown DeFuniak. Fine dining in the historic downtown district.
DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, FLORIDA ATTRACTIONS
- Walton-DeFuniak Library. The oldest library in Florida still
in use today, in operation since 1887. Some interesting exhibits
inside, including an impressive collection of medieval armor from the
Crusades and muskets from the American colonial era.
- Lake DeFuniak. According to legend it was
created by a meteor, but it's most likely a sinkhole lake. Spring-fed
and almost perfectly round, though perhaps not as perfectly round as
Lake Kingsley 250 miles to the east in Clay County.
- L&N Train Depot. Built in 1882 and once serving thousands a day, it now houses the Walton County Heritage Museum.
- Chautauqua Vineyards and Winery. A good place to visit and taste some delicious wine.
DEFUNIAK SPRINGS HOTELS
- Hotel DeFuniak, 400 US Highway 90 East,
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433. Tel: 850-892-4383. Nicely restored 1920
hotel in the heart of historic downtown DeFuniak Springs. Loaded with
antiques, reasonable rates. Home of Bogey's Bar and Restaurant.
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