April 26, 2021
Crestview, Florida is a city of about 25,000 people in the Florida panhandle about 50 miles east-northeast of Pensacola. It is the county seat of Okaloosa County.
It is known as the "Hub City" because of the intersection of I-10, US-90, State Road 85, and the Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad.
Florida is very flat, and Crestview is one of the highest points in the state with an elevation of 235 feet above sea level.
In this case, the nearest sea is the Gulf of Mexico about 27 miles south near Fort Walton Beach.
The history of Crestview has everything to do with the creation of the first railroad that came to this area of the Florida panhandle.
Crestview was apparently the highest track elevation along this approximately 160 mile long route.
The railroad followed the route of the Old Spanish Trail that extended thousands of miles from Jacksonville west across the state of Florida and beyond to California.
Progress followed the railroad. A large local sawmill built another railroad from Crestview north to Florala, Alabama. It became easier for passengers and freight to reach Crestview.
The city incorporated in 1916. Crestview grew slowly in the first half of the twentieth century.
In 1935, the Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base was built. Its name was changed soon after to Eglin Air Force Base, named in honor of Lt. Col. Frederick Eglin.
World War Two saw a tremendous expansion of the base, and Crestview began to grow quickly as well.
The entire panhandle region of Florida benefited from the efforts of long-time Congressman Bob Sikes.
He began his Florida business career in Crestview, and became active in politics at a young age.
His efforts were successful in helping to build 14 military installations in the region.
Crestview's past tracks closely with the history of northwest Florida.
Crestview is the county seat of Okaloosa County. There are quite a few government offices in the city as well as businesses that cater to government and public employees.
Many people also work at one of the numerous military bases and other installations in this part of the state.
Crestview's location in the center of the county makes it a great place to live in this part of the state.
It is in an area with many institutions of higher learning.
Northwest Florida State College offers two year and four year degrees. The University of West Florida, Florida A&M, and Troy State University all have learning facilities in the area.
There is also a vocational school, Okaloosa Technical College, where students can learn a practical trade.
Crestview High School was founded in 1926 and is the largest high school in Okaloosa County.
The boy's basketball teams won the Florida state titles in 1985 and 2019. The cheerleading team won the 2010 state title.
Downtown Crestview has a good selection of shops, banks, restaurants, boutiques, and more. It is a pleasant place to visit.
Crestview is one of the many historic Florida towns on US Highway 90 between Pensacola and Jacksonville Beach.