Historical Markers in
Okaloosa County, Florida

*A Grateful Nation Remembers* 1st Air Commando Group B-25 Medium Bomber A-10 Thunderbolt II A-1E Skyraider A-26 Counter-Invader A-37 "Dragonfly" A.A.F. / U.S.A.F. Explosive Ordnance Disposal Memorial AC - 119 G/K (Shadow/Stinger) AC-130 Spectre AC-130 Spectre AC-130H Spectre AC-47 Spooky AGM-109 MRASM Missile AGM-28 Hound Dog Missile Air America Memorial Airman First Class John Lee Levitow AT-28D Trojan B-17 Flying Fortress B-25 Mitchell B-47 Stratojet B-52 Stratofortress B-57 Canberra Baker High School Bernard A. Schriever Plaza Bird Air Memorial Bud & Dorie Day Patriots' Trail Bush House C-123 Provider C-46 Commando C-47 Sky Train Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks Captain Steven L. Bennett Carver-Hill H.S. Cathay Williams CGM-13 Mace Missile Class Action Lawsuit Combat Talon / Here Am I; Send Me. Isaiah 6:8 Combat Talon Aircrew S-01 Combat Talon Aircrew S-59 Combat Wounded Veterans Concord Lodge No. 50 F & AM Crestview Lodge #364 F&AM PHA Desert Shield and Desert Storm Doolittle Raiders Dorie's POW Negotiations Dr. Beal's Shell Museum Eglin Air Force Base Eglin Air Force Base EOD Memorial F-100 Supersabre F-104 Starfighter F-111 Aardvark F-15 Eagle F-16 Fighting Falcon F-4 Phantom II F-84 Thunderstreak F-89 Scorpion Faithful Partner – Guardian of the Night First Lieutenant James Phillip Fleming Florida Honors and Remembers our POW’s and MIA’s Florida Honors and Remembers our POW’s and MIA’s Fort Walton GBU-43/B MOAB HH-3E "Jolly Green Giant" Hmong Special Guerrilla Units IM-99 BOMARC Launch Platform In Honor of The American Gold Star Mothers Indianola Inn, An Indian Midden Mound, and Civil War Cannons Jacqueline Cochran Jockey - 14 Memorial John C. Beasley Park Commemoration Jonita Ruth Bonham Leigh Ann Hester Lenah Higbee Lieutenant Colonel Joe Madison Jackson Lieutenant Colonel William Atkinson Jones, III Mac Baker Major Bernard Francis Fisher Margaret Corbin MC-130E Combat Talon I MC-130P Combat Shadow Medal of Honor Recipients Medal of Honor Recipients Medal of Honor Recipients Medal of Honor Recipients Memorial to the USAF Dead in Operation Eagle Claw MH-53 Pave Low MH-53M Pave Low IV MIG-21 Fishbed Montagnard Memorial MQM-105 Aquila Naseema Niceville Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Worker Statue™ O-1E Bird Dog O-2 Skymaster O-2 Super Skymaster Okaloosa Armed Forces Memorial Okaloosa County Okaloosa County Okaloosa County Desert Storm Memorial Okaloosa County Veterans Memorial Old Bethel Cemetery Operation Assured Response Operation Just Cause Operation Kingpin Operation Provide Comfort Operation Ranch Hand Memorial Operation Restore Hope Operation Uphold Democracy Operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina OV-10 Bronco Preserving and Protecting the Mound Prisoner of War Revolutionary War Patriots RF4-Phantom II Sharon Ann Lane Special Tactics Memorial Spirit 03 Spooky SR-71 Blackbird Story of the Fort Walton Temple Mound T-33 T-Bird The Forward Air Controller The Mistys U-10A Super Courier UH-1 Iroquois United States Navy VO-67 World War II Air Commando / Chindit Memorial XM-800 Armored Reconnaisance Scout Vehicle
The Spanish established the first mission in Florida, Mission San Luis de Apalachee, in 1633. The mission was located near present-day Tallahassee and was home to a large Native American population.
Okaloosa County, located in the panhandle of Florida, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The region was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Apalachee, Choctaw, and Creek tribes. They utilized the area's resources, such as the abundant fishing grounds and fertile land, for sustenance and trade.

In the 16th century, Spanish explorers, including Hernando de Soto, arrived in the area. They established settlements and introduced European diseases, which had a devastating impact on the Native American population. The Spanish rule continued until the late 18th century when Florida came under British control. However, the British influence in Okaloosa County was limited.

Following the American Revolution, Spain regained control of Florida, including Okaloosa County. During this time, the region saw increased interaction with American settlers moving southward. In 1821, Florida was transferred to the United States as a result of the Adams-Onís Treaty. As American settlers continued to arrive, the Creek Wars of the early 19th century disrupted the lives of both Native Americans and settlers in the area.

By the mid-19th century, timber and naval stores began driving the local economy. Sawmills proliferated, and the lumber industry became a significant contributor to Okaloosa County's growth. The railroad arrived in 1895, connecting the county to the rest of Florida and enabling further expansion. Agriculture, particularly cotton cultivation, also became prominent.

Okaloosa County experienced significant growth during the 20th century. The construction of military bases, such as Eglin Air Force Base and Hurlburt Field, in the early 1940s brought increased economic opportunities and population growth to the area. These bases played a vital role in World War II and have remained significant military installations to this day.

In recent decades, Okaloosa County has become a popular tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches and outdoor recreational activities. The county's economy has diversifed, with tourism, military, and technology sectors playing significant roles. As of today, Okaloosa County continues to thrive, combining its historical significance with modern development.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Okaloosa County, Florida.

  • 1915: Okaloosa County is established on September 18.
  • 1933: The first bridge connecting Okaloosa County to the mainland is completed.
  • 1940s: Tyndall Air Force Base is established in Okaloosa County.
  • 1956: The town of Fort Walton Beach is incorporated.
  • 1961: The Eglin Air Force Base museum opens to the public.
  • 1963: Okaloosa-Walton Community College (now Northwest Florida State College) is founded.
  • 1969: Destin is incorporated as a city.
  • 1975: The Okaloosa Correctional Institution is established.
  • 1996: The Emerald Coast Science Center opens in Fort Walton Beach.
  • 2004: Hurricane Ivan causes significant damage to Okaloosa County.