New Historic District marker unveiled

submitted by Gweneth Collins

Wednesday, March 22, was a busy day for the Washington County Historical Society. The day began with the unveiling of a new South Third Street Historic District Marker. The marker is located at South Third Street and US Highway 90 in Chipley. Martha McKnight and Dale Cox, local historians, and several guests were on hand for the event. Following the unveiling, guests were invited to visit the History Museum and enjoy a light punch reception before continuing with the day.

After the reception, Dale Cox, on behalf of Two Egg TV, interviewed several society members. Kim Patterson, a Falling Waters State Park employee, recalled her sighting of a thought-to-be-extinct ivory-bill woodpecker at Falling Waters State Park. She stated, “It was very large and had the correct white wing markings and the red head plumage.” The ivory billed woodpecker is one of the largest woodpeckers in the world and the largest in the United States. In recent years several possible sightings in Louisiana and Florida have been made, although definitive proof that the bird survives has yet to be  established.

Secondly, Cox interviewed Museum Director Dorothy Odom concerning the significance of the marker placed Wednesday. “Third Street was designated as a National Historic District in 1989. The homes on South Third Street were once residences of some of the most prominent citizens in Chipley’s history and a stroll down the sidewalk in the evening gives you a glimpse of past. Most of the homes are pre-1930, and today, even the few built in the 1940s-50s, are also considered historical.”

Dorothy updated Cox on what’s been happening at the museum. The pavilion has been repainted and the caboose refurbishment is underway. She also invited everyone to view several new collections including Creek Indian Artifacts and a special work in progress – the papers of A.K. Shuler.

While at the museum, Cox could not pass up the opportunity to hear Dorothy tell a few “ghost” stories. She recalled two – the lime sink drownings and the old library.

Lastly, Cox interviewed Heather Lopez of the Tourist Development Council. Heather stated, “Chipley’s Third Street Historic District is a fine example of late 19th and 20th century homes and well worth the ‘trip down Memory Lane.’” Heather stated the TDC and Washington County Master Gardeners are very excited about the installation of a native wildflower corridor at our I-10 exit.

Washington County’s History Museum is open every Friday from 10AM until 2PM. Special tours can be arranged by appointment. If you are interested in learning more about Washington County’s history, drop by the museum any Friday or contact Dorothy Odom at 638-0358.