CHIPLEY, FLORIDA

By  Mike Miller  Updated May 23, 2024 

Chipley, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

Chipley, Florida is in the panhandle area of Northwest Florida about halfway between Tallahassee and Pensacola

It has a population of about 3,600 and is the county seat of Washington County.

Chipley Postcard from 1906, from Florida Memory, Florida State ArchivesChipley Postcard from 1906, from Florida Memory, Florida State Archives

HISTORY OF CHIPLEY, FLORIDA


This small city was founded in 1882 and was originally named "Orange."  When the railroad came through town in the 1880s, the town was named Chipley after William Dudley Chipley.

Mr. Chipley was president of the Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad and was also a Florida state senator from 1895 to 1897. 

The railroad was the first across the largely unpopulated Florida panhandle and ran 160 miles from Pensacola to Chattahoochee on the Apalachicola River.

The railroad originally intended to establish a station a few miles away from Orange. 

Some town fathers - some of them fellow Confederate Army veterans - approached Chipley and convinced him to move the proposed station into Washington County.

This is how Orange became Chipley.  Chipley's railway station and United States Post Office were originally located in railway box cars.

Chipley by the Railroad TracksChipley by the Railroad Tracks

The railroad was an important part of the Chipley economy for many years. 

Forestry was a dominant industry in the panhandle, and spawned many other ventures such as saw mills and turpentine camps.

Agriculture in general also developed in the area.  Livestock, and poultry became important economic factors.

As the town prospered and was the center of much of the area's business, it was named the seat of Washington County in 1927.

Other towns in Washington County are Caryville, Ebro, Vernon, and Wausau.

Read more about Vernon, the small town where a classic Errol Morris documentary was filmed. 

Also read about a unique Florida annual event, the Wausau Possum Festival.

Washington County Courthouse, ChipleyWashington County Courthouse, Chipley

CHIPLEY, FLORIDA TODAY


Chipley today is a busy little place that is a living reminder of the way it was in Old Florida. 

The city has done a good job of preserving historic buildings and revitalizing their neighborhoods.

Chipley Downtown at NightChipley Downtown at Night

For a small city, Chipley has a nice assortment of small businesses in its downtown area. 

Where Jackson Avenue and Route77 (Main St.) intersect there are several casual and fast-food restaurants offering a wide variety of menu items at affordable prices.

There are also a surprising number of shops with everything from outlet and upscale clothing to unique gifts and hunting and fishing gear.

One of the interesting downtown businesses is the Main Street Market. It features fresh from the farm produce and other products from the local area.  

You can find fresh oysters here in season, along with crawfish and other seafood treats.  They also have a large selection of meats and most anything else you might need. 

Chipley Autumn LeavesChipley Autumn Leaves

Chipley is far enough north in Florida that it actually has seasons.  The leaves turn colors in the fall, and people crank up their fireplaces in the winter.

The record low temperature recorded in Chipley was 2 degrees above zero in January 1985.  It is the second coldest temperature ever recorded in Florida. 

Falling Waters State ParkFalling Waters State Park

Chipley is only three miles north of Falling Waters State Park.  The park contains 171 acres, and is home to the "Falling Waters Falls."  This 73 foot high waterfall is the tallest waterfall in Florida.

Located at one of the highest elevations in the state, the park features a butterfly garden, good hiking, a beach and full-facility campground.

A short drive east will take you to another Florida treasure, Florida Caverns State Park, with its stunning and colorful underground caves.

Chipley is a small friendly community surrounded by rural countryside and plenty of nature.  Even so, it is a short drive into the bigger cities if you have the urge.

If you enjoy the outdoors you can fill your days with horseback riding, golfing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, hunting, bird watching or even watching alligators at Orange Hill Gator Farm.

The farm is a five-star wildlife sanctuary and nature preserve a few miles south of Chipley.


THINGS TO DO IN CHIPLEY, FLORIDA

Falling Waters State Park 
1130 State Park Rd, Chipley, FL 32428 | (850) 638-6130 

As discussed earlier on this page, prepare to be awestruck by the beauty of Falling Waters State Park, home to Florida's tallest waterfall. Only a few miles south of I-10, this natural wonder cascades into a 100-foot-deep sinkhole, creating a mesmerizing sight that captivates visitors year-round.

Explore scenic hiking trails that wind through pine forests and lush vegetation, leading to stunning viewpoints overlooking the waterfall and surrounding landscape.

It's a photographer's paradise and a peaceful retreat where you can reconnect with nature and marvel at the wonders of the great outdoors. 

Bill Lee Train Depot & Historical Society Museum 
685 7th St, Chipley, FL 32428 | (850) 638-6180 

Step back in time at the Historic Chipley Depot, a beautifully restored railroad station that serves as a gateway to Chipley's past. This iconic landmark showcases the town's rich railroad heritage through exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays.

Explore vintage train cars, learn about the history of rail transportation in Florida, and admire the architectural details of this historic building.

It's a fascinating journey through time that offers insight into Chipley's evolution from a bustling railroad town to a modern-day community. A farmer’s market is held on the station platform. 

Jim Trawick Park aka Pals Park 
1544 North Rail Road Avenue, Chipley, FL | (850) 638-6348 

Unleash your inner child at Jim Trawick Park, a family-friendly recreational area that promises fun for visitors of all ages. This expansive park features playgrounds, picnic areas, tennis courts and walking trails, making it the perfect destination for a day of outdoor adventure.

Let the little ones explore the playgrounds, take a leisurely stroll along the scenic trails, or enjoy a picnic amidst the natural beauty of the park. With its serene ambiance and recreational amenities, Pals Park is a beloved local landmark where memories are made and laughter fills the air. 

Seacrest Wolf Preserve 
3449 Bonnett Pond Rd, Chipley, FL 32428 | (850) 773-2897 

Embark on a wild adventure at Seacrest Wolf Preserve, where you can get up close and personal with magnificent wolves in their natural habitat. This unique sanctuary offers guided tours that provide insight into the behavior, ecology, and conservation of these majestic animals.

Meet the resident wolf packs, learn about their importance in the ecosystem, and witness their beauty up close during educational encounters.

It's an unforgettable experience that offers a rare glimpse into the world of wolves and fosters appreciation for wildlife conservation efforts. 
 
Main Street Market 
1251 Jackson Avenue, Chipley, FL 32428 | (850) 638-7755 
 
As described earlier on this page, you can find a wide variety of fresh items here. 
 
Orange Hill Gator Farm 
12116 Orange Hill Rd, Chipley, FL 32428 | (850) 527-1383 

I discussed Orange Hill Gator Farm briefly above on this page. This unique attraction offers visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with nature's most fascinating creatures: alligators.

Embark on a guided tour of the farm and learn about the life cycle, behavior, and conservation efforts surrounding these ancient reptiles. Marvel at the sight of gators lounging in their natural habitat, observe feeding sessions, and even have the chance to hold a baby alligator.

They have a variety of animals besides alligators, including lizards, turtles, pygmy goats, coyotes and other farm animals.  



CHIPLEY, FLORIDA INTERACTIVE GOOGLE MAP




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