The Everglades, one of Florida's most iconic natural landmarks, was not always a protected area. In fact, it was once considered a worthless swamp and was drained and developed for agricultural purposes in the early 20th century.
Wakulla County, located in the Florida Panhandle, has a rich and diverse history that spans thousands of years. The county was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Apalachee, who settled in the area around 450 AD. The Apalachee developed a sophisticated agricultural society, growing corn, beans, and squash, and their main village, Anhaica, became an important religious and political center.

In the 16th century, Spanish explorers arrived in the region and established missions to convert the Native Americans to Christianity. The Spanish presence in the area continued until 1763, when Florida was ceded to the British. In the following years, Wakulla County saw a rise in cotton plantations and slave labor as the area became part of the United States.

During the Civil War, Wakulla County was a vital supply route for the Confederacy and faced Union Navy blockades along its coast. The county saw several skirmishes and its economy suffered greatly during this period. Reconstruction brought significant changes to the county, including the establishment of a new railroad line and the development of timber and turpentine industries.

In the early 20th century, Wakulla County's natural beauty and the nearby Wakulla Springs attracted tourists and Hollywood filmmakers alike. The county also became known for its seafood industry, with oystering and fishing playing a major role in the local economy. Today, Wakulla County is a mix of small rural communities and suburban areas, with an economy focused on tourism, agriculture, and government services.

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

  • 1513: Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon arrives in the area, claiming it for Spain.
  • 1824: The Florida Territory is established, including the area that is now Wakulla County.
  • 1826: The first European-American settlers start arriving in the county.
  • 1843: Wakulla County is officially created and named after the Wakulla River.
  • 1861: The American Civil War begins, and Wakulla County supports the Confederacy.
  • 1868: The county seat is established in Crawfordville.
  • 1892: The first railroad reaches Wakulla County, spurring economic growth.
  • 1929: Construction of the St. Marks Lighthouse is completed.
  • 1942: Construction of the Wakulla Springs Lodge begins as a part of the World War II effort.
  • 1974: Wakulla Springs State Park is established, protecting the area's natural beauty.