DEFUNIAK SPRINGS FLORIDA
DeFuniak Springs Florida, is a small town of about 6,000 people 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.
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. He also was an office in the army of the Confederate States of America.
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.
Home of Former Governor Sidney J Catts, Photo by Ebyabe
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 6,000 people, DeFuniak Springs might just have the most historic sites per capita of any town in Florida.
St Agatha's Episcopal Church
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, 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.
BOGEY'S BAR AND RESTAURANT
660 Baldwin Avenue
DeFuniak Springs, Florida 32433
the place to eat if you are visiting DeFuniak Springs. It is located in the center of the downtown historic district. It was formerly located in the Hotel DeFuniak.
serves fresh food and has a great atmosphere and equally great service.
The restaurant also has a full service bar with a happy hour, and
often features local musicians like a sax player and a guitarist.
first walk into this restaurant it looks very upscale, with nice
furniture, tablecloths and linen napkins, and memorabilia and art on the
wall. A look at the menu will show you that the prices here are very
reasonable in spite of the upscale appearance. There are photos of
Marilyn Monroe, Mary Martin and Bogey himself.
For you younger readers,
the place is named after the famous actor, Humphrey Bogart, also known
Bogey's has a
nice selection of appetizers, including a southern favorite: fried
green tomatoes. They also offer crab cakes, Bahamian shrimp skewers,
crab stuffed mushrooms and other goodies. Their filet mignon and prime
rib is excellent, and so are their seafood offerings.
They do a great
job with fish. I had blackened grouper and it was great. One of their
best offerings is fresh almond crusted redfish with mango and pineapple
sauce. Another less formal entree is fish and chips which comes in a
large basket with 4 large pieces of grouper and plenty of tasty seasoned
curly fries. Desserts are great and include chocolate cake.
Bogey's is also open for lunch. You can get egg rolls, Panko crusted
fish sandwiches, grilled chicken Caesar salad, and many other delicious
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