Historical Markers in
Santa Rosa County, Florida

A New Century A-4 Skyhawk A-4C Skyhawk America – A Defender Of Liberty Animals Along the Blackwater River Arcadia Community Arcadia Dam Arcadia Dam and Water Works Arcadia Mill Arcadia Railroad & Twitchell Sawmill Arcadia’s Cotton Textile Mill Bagdad After the Mill Bagdad Lumber Mill / Shipbuilding at Bagdad Bagdad Mill Site Park Bagdad United Methodist Church Blackwater Heritage Trail History Blackwater Landing / Blackwater River Shipwrecks Civil War and Reconstruction in Northwest Florida Combat Wounded Veterans Desert Storm/Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom Elliott’s Flume Existing Foundations: Sawmill and Textile Mill Fallen, Not Forgotten First Federal Tree Farm Florida Honors and Remembers our POW’s and MIA’s Florida Honors and Remembers our POW’s and MIA’s Forcade House Freedom Of The Press Hand-Drawn Fire Hose Cart In Memory of UH-60M Crew "Mojo 69" Korea Live Oaks and Naval Ship Timbers Marquis Bayou Bridge Merchant Marine Mexican - American War Milton Veterans Memorial National Guard Of The United States Native Trees Plunge Pool Santa Rosa County Veterans Memorial Plaza Shipbuilding in Bagdad Site of Pensacola - St. Augustine Road St. Mary’s Episcopal Church St. Mary’s Rectory Submerged Aquatic Vegetation The Architecture of Bagdad The Bagdad Mill Site The Civil War The Early History of Bagdad The Ecology of the Blackwater River The Liberty Tree The Longleaf Pine The Millrace The Skirmish on the Blackwater The Spanish – American War The Thompson House / Skirmish on the Blackwater The War Of 1812 The War of Independence U.S.S. Kenneth Whiting AV-14, Ship’s Bell Unknown Soldier Veterans Memorial Wall of Tears Working for the Company World War I World War II “Gone But Not Forgotten”
Florida is home to the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States, St. Augustine, which was founded by the Spanish in 1565.
Santa Rosa County, Florida, located in the northwest region of the state, has a rich and diverse history. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Creek and Choctaw peoples, before European colonization. The first European settlers arrived in the 16th century, as Spanish explorers and missionaries made contact with the local native tribes.

In the late 18th century, Spain ceded Florida to the United States, and the region of Santa Rosa County became part of the new territory. Over the years, the area's economy transitioned from primarily agricultural to more diversified industries. In the late 19th century, timber and lumber became major industries in the county, fostering economic growth and development.

Santa Rosa County played a role in the Civil War, with the Battle of Santa Rosa Island taking place in 1861. Union forces successfully defended the island from Confederate attempts to capture it. Following the war, the county slowly rebuilt and continued to grow. In the early 20th century, the discovery of oil in the region led to further economic expansion.

Today, Santa Rosa County is known for its beautiful beaches, historical landmarks, and strong military presence. The county is home to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, offering pristine coastline and outdoor recreational opportunities. Additionally, the Naval Air Station Whiting Field, located in Santa Rosa County, serves as a key training base for naval aviators. The county continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination, while also preserving its unique history and natural beauty.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Santa Rosa County, Florida.

  • 1821 - Santa Rosa County is established as a county in the territory of Florida.
  • 1822 - The first permanent settlement, known as Floridatown, is established in the area.
  • 1844 - Milton becomes the county seat of Santa Rosa County.
  • 1861-1865 - Santa Rosa County, like the rest of the South, is greatly affected by the American Civil War.
  • 1916 - The city of Gulf Breeze is incorporated.
  • 1925 - The Garcon Point Bridge, connecting Santa Rosa County to southern Escambia County, is completed.
  • 1963 - Hurricane Flora causes significant damage to Santa Rosa County.
  • 1997 - Hurricane Opal strikes the area, causing extensive destruction and loss of life.
  • 2010 - The Deepwater Horizon oil spill affects the coastline of Santa Rosa County.
  • 2019 - Hurricane Sally makes landfall in Santa Rosa County, resulting in widespread flooding and damage.