Mary Esther, Florida

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Mary Esther, Florida
Mary Esther City Hall, September 2014.
Mary Esther City Hall, September 2014.
Motto: "A Growing Community "
Location in Okaloosa County and the state of Florida
Location in Okaloosa County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 30°24′44″N 86°39′33″W / 30.41222°N 86.65917°W / 30.41222; -86.65917Coordinates: 30°24′44″N 86°39′33″W / 30.41222°N 86.65917°W / 30.41222; -86.65917
Country  United States
State  Florida
County  Okaloosa
 • Total 1.5 sq mi (4 km2)
 • Land 1.5 sq mi (4 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 23 ft (7 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 3,851
 • Density 2,567.3/sq mi (962.75/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 32569
Area code(s) 850
FIPS code 12-43375[1]
GNIS feature ID 0286480[2]

Mary Esther is a city in Okaloosa County, Florida, United States. The population was 3,851 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fort Walton BeachCrestviewDestin Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Mary Esther is located at 30°24′44″N 86°39′33″W / 30.412266°N 86.659044°W / 30.412266; -86.659044.[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), all land.


Climate is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. This climate type is found on the eastern sides of the continents between 20° and 35° N and S latitude. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfa" (Humid Subtropical Climate).[4]


The area was first settled by John Anderson in 1838, and the name "Anderson" or "Andersons" is noted on maps from 1838 to the late 1880s. The area of Mary Esther was first noted in 1857 in the "Map of the State of Florida" by the Surveyor's General Office. The area encompassing "Anderson" would later become Fort Walton Beach.

Jesse Rogers and his family drove a large cattle herd from Louisiana to the shores of Santa Rosa Sound and settled here in 1842.

During the mid-1850s John Newton, a minister and teacher, settled in the area west of Fort Walton Beach known as the Narrows, today known as Mary Esther. Reverend Newton founded the first school, which also doubled as a church during the Civil War.

Newton established the first post office in the Mary Esther community October 10, 1871. The location was probably in Newton's home, who became Mary Esther's first postmaster. It is not certain how the community ended up with its name, only that Newton named the community for members of his family (either his wife, his two daughters, or a combination of his wife and daughters; according to William James Wells in his book "Pioneering in the Panhandle" copyright 1976, Heritage Publications, Reverend Newton named the town/post office after his 2 daughters, Mary and Esther, who were 6 and 8 at the time).

Thomas Jefferson Pryor, born in Greenville, Ala., sailed to Mary Esther in 1854 as a deckhand on a schooner headed for Pensacola. Pryor met Ona Rogers, daughter of Jesse Rogers, and they were married in May 1879. Ten children were born to the couple, two of which - Tom and Roger Pryor - later served as mayors of the town. Pryor became postmaster of Mary Esther in 1899, and members of his family served in that position until 1972. Notably, Mary Pryor, who was T.J. Pryor's daughter in-law & wife of Roger, served as Postmistress from 1938 - 1972. William C. Pryor, noted educator, was among the pupils taught by John Newton. Pryor later became Okaloosa County's first superintendent of schools. The Pryor name is synonymous with Mary Esther. Members of the family have lived in and often have run the small city. The Pryors continue to live on the same property purchased by the original settlers in the early 19th century located on the north bank of Santa Rosa Sound.

Mary Esther was incorporated in 1946 with E. Roger Pryor as the first Mayor. Page Bacon was the second Mayor, and Tom Pryor, the third Mayor, served for 28 years.

The opening of Santa Rosa Mall in 1976 sparked a commercial building boom along Mary Esther Cutoff (later renamed Mary Esther Blvd. within the city limits).


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 4,055 people, 1,623 households, and 1,147 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,635.0 inhabitants per square mile (1,016.7/km²). There were 1,732 housing units at an average density of 1,125.5 per square mile (434.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.65% White, 6.46% African American, 0.96% Native American, 3.77% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 1.21% from other races, and 3.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.09% of the population.

There were 1,623 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.0% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.3% were non-families. 21.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 102.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,647, and the median income for a family was $47,917. Males had a median income of $31,030 versus $20,319 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,488. About 4.1% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.8% of those under age 18 and 1.0% of those age 65 or over.


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  4. ^ Climate Summary for Mary Esther, FL

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