I grew up in DeFuniak Springs, Florida, a little town in northwest Florida. This unassuming town is unlikely to stand out to the hundreds of travelers who pass through on their pilgrimage to the beaches of South Walton county. Unless…they veer off the crowded path to the center of town.
I have always known my little home town was something special. For one, Lake DeFuniak is one of only two naturally-round lakes in the world. Years ago, people recognized the unique beauty of this area and built beautiful antebellum homes to overlook its banks.
In years gone by, the train ran through DeFuniak Springs and brought hosts of visitors to this area for vacations and cultural enlightenment. It was the home of the Chatauqua.
Named after Chautauqua Lake where the first was held, Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. A Chautauqua Assembly brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers and specialists of the day.
I have always enjoyed strolling the lake. When I was a young girl, I would walk around it on the way to my monthly orthodontist appointments. I celebrated these solo trips to town with a cold bottle of coke and a candy bar.
Along the way I would pass the DeFuniak Springs library; the oldest library in the state of Florida.
Visitors can now learn more about this charming town and its history by visiting a museum housed in the old train depot.
Do you have a similar place that conjures up memories of your childhood? DeFuniak Springs, Florida is my charming home town. I hope your childhood home brings you as much joy as this small town’s charm has brought me.
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