Walton County Heritage
Association, Museum and
Genealogy Society


Preserving the History and Heritage of Walton County, Florida


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Some of our exhibits are showcased below. When we are open, we constantly update the museum and its displays.

Businesses

Allison's Grocery began in 1931 as a produce stand on Route 90 in DeFuniak Springs. It prospered as a grocery and general market until Feenie Allison, at age 89, ceased operations after 61 years. Allison's Grocery sold everything from food to clothing, and Mrs. Allison kept items on the shelves until they sold. When the store closed in 1992, it contained spices from the 1930s, toys from the 1950s, and clothing from the 1960s. Our exhibit includes a portrait of Mrs. Allison, items from her store, and even a song written about her. Unfortunately, the building was demolished in 2005. Above the exhibit is the bicycle used by her delivery boys in the 1950s.

H & M Hotdog continues to be one of the most popular lunch spots in DeFuniak Springs. For many years it was run by two sisters, Maggie Davis and Merle Carter, without the benefits of a calculator or a telephone. Before they left home each morning, they would call the Thriftway Market to let the butcher know how much hamburger meat they would need that day. H & M Hotdog has been featured in numerous publications, including Southern Living magazine. Our exhibit includes the spatula used to make the first hamburger at H & M Hotdog, a patty maker, and their menu.

Hotels

The couch in this exhibit is from the original Hotel DeFuniak, which stood on Baldwin Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets. In the 1890s, the hotel was known as the Martin House. It was demolished in 1961 or 1962.  In recent years, a hotel in another location adopted the Hotel DeFuniak name.

Another hotel showcased in this exhibit is the Hotel Chautauqua, which was the oldest hotel in DeFuniak Springs. It was built in time to accept guests during the first Florida Chautauqua in 1885 and was demolished in the early 1960s.

Education

This exhibit showcases memborabilia from past and present schools and colleges, including the State Normal School, Palmer College, Walton High School, Tivoli School, and Maude Saunders Elementary School. We also honor former one-room schoolhouses in communities such as New Harmony and Argyle.

Walking Tour of Circle Drive

DeFuniak Springs is home to beautiful Victorian homes and buildings. Visit the Walton County Heritage Museum to get a free walking tour brochure of the homes and buildings around Lake DeFuniak.

The Florida Chautauqua Assembly

DeFuniak Springs became the winter home for Chautauqua in 1885. Our display includes a model of the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood, Chautauqua programs, and books about Chautauqua and its history. Also featured is a display of items that belonged to Wallace Bruce, a president of the Chautauqua, and items from his estate.

Agriculture

Agricultural and industrial life of Walton County is represented by a farm wagon that was used in the county and tools related to farms, turpentine camps, dairies, and other industries.

Florida Governor Sidney Johnston Catts

Sidney J. Catts was a Baptist preacher who was elected Governor of Florida in 1917. The museum has photographs from his term as governor, his bowler hat, and one of the gowns worn by his wife while she was First Lady of Florida. "Sunbright Manor," which is on Live Oak Avenue, served as the Catts' residence after he was governor. He ran for the U. S. Senate, but he never again served in elected office.

The Lady of the Lake

Rubye Burton, who lived on the circle, hand hooked this rug in the 1960s. She cut beige wool into strips and hand-dyed them, thereby creating a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. At the time of its completion, it was the largest known hand-hooked rug in the country.

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