#7a The St. Mary's Catholic Church was built at 9 First Street S.E. in 1915 on land donated by John Thomas Brooks. The walking tour brochure says that the church currently on this site was built in 1941. It was used until 1972 when a new church was constructed on Robinwood Drive. The building is currently under renouvation.
The walking tour brochure says that the old St. Mary's Rectory build in 1937 was moved to 128 Shell Avenue when the new rectory was built in 1953. But the brochure says that the building was a wood frame residence, and the building at 128 Shell Avenue that is marked as location #7 of the tour is made of brick.
The new (1953) rectory is behind the church and has a cross over the door - see photo.
Located at 107 First Street (back of the old schoolhouse), this post office building was originally located at Mooney and Garnier Post Roads. The mail came from Crestview by way of mule and buggy or to Mary Ester by boat and then overland to Garnier. Some people traveled as far as 28 miles to collect their mail from the postmaster at Garnier Post Office. Mr. Euphrates A. Mooney served as its first postmaster until his death in 1935. Then his wife, Julia, assumed his position and she reportedly would give out mail at any time of the day or night. Rural post offices such as this one were eventually phased out (after 35 years in this case) when postal carriers began delivering mail to homes.
The Garnier Post Office Museum serves to preserve and exhibit items related to the postal history of Camp Walton and Fort Walton from 1918 to1953. The museum includes numerous artifacts such as the 36 mail slot boxes of the polling station for Precinct #19. The boxes on display in the museum show the names of the people who voted here.
The original Garnier Post Office was restored by the Junior Service League of Fort Walton Beach and the City of Fort Walton Beach. In 1988, it was re-opened as an educational museum in conjunction with the Camp Walton Schoolhouse Museum.It is now owned by the City of Fort Walton Beach and is mainly used for school tours during the school year.
The first schoolhouse for the children at Camp Walton opened its doors in 1912. The original site was on the northeast corner of Shell and Miracle Strip Parkway on land donated by Erwin Buck. Miss Minnie Tippins from Andalusia, Ala., was the first teacher and she had 15 students in attendance.
Grades 1-8 were taught in the one-room school until 1927, when another room was added to the white pine and oak building. The new room became the”high school.” It also was used for town meetings, Friday night socials and church on Sundays.
In 1936, however, the school doors were closed and the building was used as an office for a car company. During World War II, the building was converted into four one-bedroom apartments for rent.
In 1974, the Junior Service League and the Okaloosa County School Board began preserving the historic building and moved it to the present location at107 First Street SE. Two years later, Camp Walton Schoolhouse opened to the public as an educational museum.
Since 1986, the City of Fort Walton Beach has assumed responsibility for operating the building and educational program. Currently, more than 3,000 children visit the schoolhouse annually to learn about historic one-room schoolhouses. Consequently during the school year, the museum is open for groups by reservation only. But you can visit if you are in Fort Walton Beach during the summer.
16 First Street S.E.
This house was build by Erwin S. Buck and his son-in-law Alford Buchanan, who built many of the other early houses in the area. He was an early postmaster in Camp Walton and also established the town's first general store at Buck's Landing. Not open to the public.
17 First Street S.E.
This was the first city government building and also contained the fire station, jail and water department. City offices were moved to their present location in 1963, and this building was designated a City Historic Site in February 1989. The Arts and Design Society Art Center has occupied the building since 1968. Their gallery and workshops are open to the public.
Fort Walton Beach area has a subtropical climate with mild southern winds but with a few weather extremes like the odd tropical storm or hurricane coming up from the Gulf of Mexico. The winters are mild with January and February cooler. The ideal months to visit the area are April and October. Summer temperatures average 70 to 92F and the gulf waters average 80 degrees.
A two story building at 201 Miracle Strip Parkway which was constructed by William Graham of Crestview. The first floor was operated as a restaurant with rooms to rent upstairs.