Milton, Florida is one of the oldest cities in the state, incorporated in 1844 before Florida became a state. Florida was still a territory and did not achieve statehood until the following year, 1845.
Milton is on the Blackwater River, which served as the major transportation system for the materials that went into Milton's main industry back then, ship building.
This area of Northwest Florida was rich in timber and the naval stores that come from timber and were important to Florida's maritime trade.
Most of Milton's industrial and commercial capacity was destroyed by the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Many Milton people left the area and headed to Alabama. Most of them lost their estates and land to the Union. The town slumbered in poverty for almost 20 years after the war. Then the railroad came to town in the 1880s.
The timber industries in the area boomed with new access into the rugged interior of the Panhandle. As lands were cleared of timber, cotton and peanuts were planted and plantation farming became the major industry.
Two separate fires did a good job of almost destroying Milton in 1885 and 1892. An even worse fire came along in 1909 which destroyed most of the remaining surviving buildings. The town rebuilt after that fire, and many of those buildings can still be seen in the downtown section.
Bagdad is a small historic town on the south edge of Milton hat has also done a good job of preserving some of their old buildings.
Today's Milton is a vibrant city of more than 9,000 that supports manufacturing and farming activities. The town is also a support center for the U.S. Navy's Whiting Field, an important training facility for Navy pilots.
Historic preservation is important to Milton, and the City's Downtown Historic District does a good job of keeping the place looking like the authentic and historic Old Florida that it remains to this day.
St. Mary's Episcopal Church and Rectory is on Oak Street in Milton and is an example of Carpenter Gothic church architecture. The church was completed in 1888 and is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
The church was mentioned in Frank Lloyd Wright's book, The Aesthetics of American Architecture, and is also listed in A Guide To Florida's Historic Architecture published by the University of Florida Press.
5147 Elmira Street
This small cozy restaurant is located in downtown Milton near the Blackwater River. The building is a renovated historic house. You can dine inside or outside on either the patio or the shady porch.
If you have your dog with you, it's okay but you have to keep Fido in the outside dining areas.
The menu here is American, but since it is in far west Florida there is a strong Cajun influence in many items. Coastal Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are not that far away.
Appetizers include crab cakes, chicken wings, hummus, and more. If you feel like a bowl of soup before dinner, you can enjoy their Cajun Country Gumbo. They have an extensive sandwich and wrap selection.
Several different salad selections are available, as well as plenty of side dishes such as mashed potatoes, green beans, lima beans, cole slaw, fruit cups, and french fries.
House specialties include Beef Wellington, Filet Delmonico, Baby Back Pork Ribs, and offering from the sea such as Ahi Tuna, Atlantic Salmon, and Shrimp and Gouda Grits.
You can also get gourmet pizza here as well as hamburgers. After all this, you can try their dessert menu featuring chocolate cake, cobbler, ice cream and pies of all kinds including Key Lime and Southern Pecan.
Their Sunday brunch is famous locally for its Bloody Marys and Bottomless Champagne and Mimosas. The menu includes chicken and waffle, crab cake Benedict, Cajun omelet and a wide selection of salads and sandwiches.
Blackwater Bistro has a full bar with beer, wine, and cocktails. You can enjoy live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Blackwater Bistro is open the following hours:
1100am to 900pm Tuesday-Thursday
1100am to 1000pm Friday-Saturday
1000am to 300pm Sunday Brunch