6 Places Where You Can Learn About the History of Destin
Destin, Florida is one of America’s most popular vacation spots, but our Emerald Coast city wasn’t always a major tourist destination. Named after fishing captain Leonard Destin, who settled in the area around 1845, Destin originated as a small fishing village. Before Leonard Destin’s arrival, the Emerald Coast was inhabited by Native Americans, who lived in the region since at least the 7th century A.D. If you want to learn more about the fascinating history of Destin during your vacation, be sure to visit the following six attractions.
1. Destin History and Fishing Museum
The Destin History and Fishing Museum is filled with photographs and artifacts from Destin’s early days. Guests will have the chance to see historic boats, seine nets, old fishing equipment, and over 75 mounts of locally caught fish. A highlight of the museum is the Destin Fishing Rodeo Gallery, which features pictures and videos from one of the Emerald Coast’s most popular annual events. The Destin History and Fishing Museum offers guided tours, or visitors can explore the museum at their own pace with a headset.
2. The Wesley House at Eden Gardens State Park
A visit to the Wesley House at Eden Gardens State Park provides a window into how Destin’s elites lived at the turn of the 20th century. Constructed in 1897, this gorgeous two-story mansion features distinguished white columns and a wrap-around porch. The Florida State Park Service offers guided tours of the Wesley House every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Thursday through Monday. A small fee is charged for the tours.
3. Indian Temple Mound and Museum
The Indian Temple Mound is a large earthen mound that was built by Native Americans living on the Emerald Coast hundreds of years ago. The mound served a number of important functions in the community: it was a temple for religious ceremonies, a home for the leader, and a sacred burial ground. Today, vacationers can see this historic mound and visit the onsite Indian Temple Mound Museum, which is home to over 1,000 Native American artifacts. The $5 fee for visiting the Indian Temple Mound Museum also grants visitors admission to three other nearby attractions: the Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum, Garnier Post Office Museum, and Civil War Exhibits.
4. Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum
Located just a minute’s walk from the Indian Temple Mound, the Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum is another popular historic site near Destin. This two-room building was the first schoolhouse constructed for the children of Camp Walton, which would eventually become Fort Walton Beach. The schoolhouse was in use from 1912 until 1936, when a new brick school was built.
5. Garnier Post Office Museum
The Garnier Post Office served the Destin area from 1918 through 1956. Back in the day, mail was delivered from Pensacola via boat and some residents traveled as many as 28 miles to pick up their mail at the post office! Visitors to the museum will learn all about the history of the post office and its interesting postmaster, the German-born musician and piano tuner Euphrates A. Mooney.
6. Civil War Exhibits
Situated behind the Camp Walton Schoolhouse, the Civil War Exhibits focus on the turbulent history of the Emerald Coast from 1861 – 1865. This small museum includes information about Florida’s secession, slavery in Florida, prisoners of war, and the Battle of Santa Rosa, among other topics. Guests will also see a diorama depicting a typical campsite for a soldier stationed in the Destin area during the Civil War.
When you stay at the Henderson Park Inn, you will be near all of these wonderful attractions dedicated to the history of Destin. Located adjacent to Henderson Beach State Park, our adults only bed and breakfast has been voted the most romantic hotel in America by the users of About.com and TripAdvisor.com. We are also proud to hold the Conde Nast Johansens Award for Excellence. To start planning your next vacation, browse our selection of Destin hotel rooms.