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History: Calhoun County

1838 - Calhoun County founded.

Calhoun County was founded on January 26, 1838. The county was named for John C. Calhoun, South Carolina’s US Senator. Present day Calhoun County has been part of Escambia, Jackson, Washington, and Fayette Counties. St. Joseph was the original county seat of Calhoun County and the seaport town grew rapidly. A railroad was built along the west bank of the Apalachicola River between St. Joseph and Iola and much of the cotton that would have been shipped out of Apalachicola was now diverted to St. Joseph by the railroad.

1840-1860

The cotton business thrived in Calhoun County.

1841

St. Joseph decimated by yellow fever.

1847

Jason Gregory relocates to Calhoun County.

1850

St. Joseph is wiped out by a hurricane in 1850 and never recovered from this devestation. The county seat was moved inland to Abe Spring Bluff on the Chipola River.

1862

The county records in Abe Springs burns, destroying most original county court records.

1880

The Calhoun County seat is re-located to Blountstown from Abe Springs. The original courthouse in Blountstown was completed in 1882.

1903

Blountstown was chartered.

1904- Calhoun County Courthouse built.

The two-story county courthouse built at Blountstown in 1904 housed all the county offices until 1973 when the new courthouse was completed. This structure, called the “Old Calhoun Courthouse”, still stands today and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The courthouse is one of only two Romanesque Rivval Style courthouses that remain in Florida. Frank Lockwood and Benjamin Bosworth designed this courthouse.

1910-1920- Calhoun County is one of the fastest growing counties in Florida.

Due to the high quality of the county’s long leaf pine, naval store operators were heavily financed by northern capital. Turpentine camps sprang up countywide and large corporate sawmills moved into the area. An abundant supply of laborers was brought in from Georgia and South Carolina to work in these industries. Grist mills were widespread and commonly used as gathering places for community activities and as voting places.

1919- The Neal Lumber and Manufacturing Company moves into Blountstown.

The Neal Lumber and Manufacturing Company moved into Blountstown from Brewton, Alabama in 1919. The company built a veneer mill nearby and bought timber and timberlands along the Apalachicola River. Later on a sawmill and planing mill were built. The Neal Lumber and Manufacturing Company was a large supplier of veneer, sawed pine and hardwood lumber in Florida and the Southeastern states up until it discontinued manufacturing operations in the late 1960's.

1929

The Calhoun School, later known as Blountstown High School, opened.

1936- Work begins on the Calhoun-Liberty Bridge.

In 1933 a number of federal work projects were activated. Among these was the WPA, which financed the construction of the Calhoun-Liberty Bridge. The work not only helped employ many local people, but helped the county regain its economic balance. The bridge was completed in October of 1938.

REFERENCES

Calhoun County Welcome Home Day: Historical Program Book, October 3, 1987. Blountstown, FL: Calhoun County Welcome Home Day Committee, Inc., 1987. (1v.;28cm.)

Florida Historical Markers Program, Florida Division of Historical Resources, accessible on the WWW at: http://dhr.dos.state.fl.us

Rogers, William W., 1986. Outposts on the Gulf: Saint George Island and Apalachicola from Early Exploration to World War II. University Presses of Florida, Gainesville, FL 297 pp.

Stanley, J. Randall, 1950. History of Jackson County. Jackson County Historical Society, 281 pp.

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This page was last modified on : 03/10/2005

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