Wakulla County, Florida
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|Wakulla County, Florida|
Location in the state of Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
|Founded||11 March 1843|
735.74 sq mi (1,906 km²)
606.66 sq mi (1,571 km²)
129.08 sq mi (334 km²), 17.54%
51/sq mi (19.59/km²)
Wakulla County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2000, the population was 22,863. The U.S. Census Bureau 2005 estimate for the county was 28,212 people. Its county seat is Crawfordville.
In 1528, Panfilo de Narvaez found his way to what would be Wakulla County from Tampa, Florida camping at the confluence of the Wakulla River and St. Marks River. Narvaez would find this a very suitable spot for a fort. In 1539, Hernando de Soto followed with his soldiers establishing San Marcos de Apalache.
Early 19th century
The area to become Wakulla County was an active place in the early 19th century. A former British officer named William Augustus Bowles attempted to unify and lead 400 Creek Indians against the Spanish outpost of San Marcos capturing it. This provoked Spain and a Spanish flotilla arrived some 5 weeks later and assumed control of San Marcos. In 1818, General Andrew Jackson invaded the territory (Wakulla) taking control of San Marcos. Two captured British citizens, Robert Ambrister and Alexander Arbuthnot, were tried and found guilty of inciting Indian raids and executed causing a diplomatic nightmare between the United States and England. In 1821, Florida was ceded to the United States and the San Marcos was occupied by U.S. troops. In 1824, the fort was abandoned and turned over to the Territory of Florida. By 1839, the fort was returned to the U.S. and a federal marine hospital was built. The hospital provided care for victims of yellow fever in the area.
Forts of Wakulla County
- 1840 - Camp Lawson, northwest of Wakulla and northeast of Ivan, on the St. Marks River. A log stockade also known as Fort Lawson (2).
- 1841-1842 - Fort Many located near Wakulla Springs.
- 1839 - Fort Number Five (M) located near Sopchoppy.
- 1839-1843 - Fort Stansbury was located on the Wakulla River 9 miles (14 km) from St. Marks.
- 1841-1843 - Fort Port Leon. Abandoned after a hurricane destroyed it. Site was later used for a CSA gun battery.
- 1839 - James Island Post located on James Island.
Source: Florida Forts 
Wakulla County was created from Leon County in 1843. It may (although this is disputed) be named for the Timucuan Indian word for "spring of water" or "mysterious water." This is in reference to Wakulla County's greatest natural attraction, Wakulla Springs, which is one of the world's largest freshwater springs, both in terms of depth and water flow. In 1974, the water flow was measured at 1.23 billion US gallons (4,700,000 m3) per day—the greatest recorded flow ever for a single spring.
In an 1856 book, adventurer Charles Lanman wrote of the springs:
"An adequate idea of this mammoth spring could never be given by pen or pencil; but when once seen, on a bright calm day, it must ever after be a thing to dream about and love. It is the fountain-head of a river... and is of sufficient volume to float a steamboat, if such an affair had yet dared to penetrate this solemn wilderness... It wells up in the very heart of a dense cypress swamp, is nearly round in shape, measures some four hundred feet in diameter, and is in depth about one hundred and fifty feet, having at its bottom an immense horizontal chasm, with a dark portal, from one side of which looms up a limestone cliff, the summit of which is itself nearly fifty feet beneath the spectator, who gazes upon it from the sides of a tiny boat. The water is so astonishlingly clear that even a pin can be seen on the bottom in the deepest places, and of course every animate and inanimate object which it contains is fully exposed to view. The apparent color of the water from the shore is greenish, but as you look prependicularly into it, it is colorless as air, and the sensation of floating upon it is that of being suspended in a balloon; and the water is so refractive, that when the sun shines brilliantly every object you see is enveloped in the most fascinating prismatic hues."
Another possible origin for the name Wakulla, not as widely accepted, is that it means "mist" or "misting", perhaps in reference to the Wakulla Volcano, a 19th-century phenomenon in which a column of smoke could be seen emerging from the swamp for miles.
The town of Port Leon was once a thriving cotton-shipping hub, with a railroad that carried over 50,000 tons of cotton a year to be put on ships, usually for shipment direct to Europe. Port Leon was the sixth-largest town in Florida, with 1,500 residents. However, a hurricane and the accompanying storm surge wiped out the entire town. New Port (today known as Newport) was built two miles (3 km) upstream but never quite achieved the prosperity of Port Leon.
During the Civil War, Wakulla County was blockaded from 1861-1865 by a Union squadron at the mouth of the St. Marks River. Confederates took the old Spanish fort site known as San Marcos de Apalache and renamed it Fort Ward. The Battle of Natural Bridge eventually stopped the Union force that intended to take Fort Ward and nearby Tallahassee, the last Confederate state capitol which the Union had not captured. The Union forces were not able to land their full forces, but still outnumbered the Confederates, who chose to make their stand at a place where the St Marks River goes underground—the "Natural Bridge' referred to. However, the Confederates had over a day to prepare their defenses and the Union retreated. Most of the dead were African-American troops fighting for the Union. A grand celebration was organized in Tallahassee, which ended halfway through when a telegram arrived announcing General Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
The Twentieth Century
In Gloria Jahoda's book, The Other Florida, she writes movingly of the extreme poverty of Wakulla County from the early 1900s to 1966, when Wakulla still had no doctor and no dentist, few stores and a county newspaper produced just once a month on a mimeograph machine. Today, Wakulla has several doctors and dentists, several supermarkets and big-box retailers, a golf resort and a thriving seafood business.
The name Wakulla is corrupted from Guacara. Guacara is a Spanish phonetic spelling of an original Indian name, and Wakulla is a Muskhogean pronunciation of Guacara. The Spanish Gua is the equivalent of the Creek wa, and as the Creek alphabet does not exhibit an "R" sound, the second element cara would have been pronounced kala by the Creeks. The Creek voiceless "L" is always substituted for the Spanish "R". Thus the word Guacara was pronounced Wakala by the Seminoles who are Muskhogean in their origin and language.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 735.74 square miles (1,905.6 km2), of which 606.66 square miles (1,571.2 km2) (or 82.46%) is land and 129.08 square miles (334.3 km2) (or 17.54%) is water.
Wakulla County is part of the Tallahassee Metropolitan Statistical Area.
- Leon County, Florida - north
- Liberty County, Florida - west
- Franklin County, Florida - southwest
- Jefferson County, Florida - east
National protected areas
State and local protected areas
As of the census of 2000, there were 22,863 people, 8,450 households, and 6,236 families residing in the county. The population density was 38 people per square mile (15/km²). There were 9,820 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 86.10% White, 11.51% Black or African American, 0.59% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. 1.94% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,450 households out of which 35.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.10% were married couples living together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.20% were non-families. 22.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 2.99. In the county the population was spread out with 25.60% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 31.70% from 25 to 44, 24.70% from 45 to 64, and 10.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 107.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 106.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $37,149, and the median income for a family was $42,222. Males had a median income of $29,845 versus $24,330 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,678. About 9.30% of families and 11.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.40% of those under age 18 and 15.10% of those age 65 or over.
- Hyde Park
- Port Leon
- Smith Creek
- Shell Point
- Spring Creek
- Wakulla Beach
Wakulla County stands out in one statistical category: there is a near-absence of any municipal population in this county of perhaps 27,000. Two tiny municipalities hold maybe 3 percent of the population. The county seat, Crawfordville, is the only unincorporated county seat among Florida's 67 counties, and, lying only 20 miles (32 km) from Tallahassee, that district has grown dramatically in recent years to an extraordinarily large and dense population for a "rural" place not touching or having any continuity with any incorporated town. The Crawfordville population center may now have 12-18,000 inhabitants in 10-20 square miles.
|Wakulla County Government|
|County Judge||Jill Walker||Democrat|
|Clerk of the Court||Brent Thurmond||Democrat|
|Property Appraiser||Donnie Sparkman||Democrat|
|School Superintendent||Bobby Pearce||Democrat|
|Elections Supervisor||Buddy Wells||Democrat|
|Tax Collector||Cheryll Olah||Democrat|
Although there are no Interstate highways in Wakulla County, several major routes to pass through the area, including U.S. Route 98 and U.S. Route 319. Other important roads in the county include State Road 267, State Road 363 and County Road 375.
No railroads currently operate within Wakulla County. In the past the Georgia, Florida and Alabama Railroad passed through Sopchoppy on its route between Tallahassee and Carrabelle until its abandonment in 1948, while the Tallahassee Railroad, the first railroad in Florida, was abandoned by the Seaboard Coast Line in 1983.
St. Marks is a small commercial seaport, which in the past was of some minor importance in the oil industry, however it is currently used primarily by commercial fishermen and recreational boaters. Panacea and Ochlockonee Bay also support small fishing fleets.
Wakulla County is served by the Wakulla school district with the following schools:
- Crawfordville Elementary School
- C.O.A.S.T. Charter School
- Medart Elementary School
- Shadeville Elementary School
- Riversink Elementary School
- Riversprings Middle School
- Wakulla Middle School
- Wakulla High School
The former Sopchoppy Elementary School now serves as the Sopchoppy Education Center, a Pre-K, adult,and second chance school.
- [dead link]
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Florida Forts: page 2". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
- "Historical Places". Wakullacountytdc.com. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
- Jahoda, Gloria (1967). The Other Florida, Florida Classics. ISBN 978-0-912451-04-6.
- "Wakulla County Chamber of Commerce". Wakullacountychamber.com. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
- Simpson, J. Clarence (1956). Mark F. Boyd, ed. Florida Place-Names of Indian Derivation. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Geological Survey.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- "University of Virginia Library". Mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Wakulla County Supervisor of Elections". Archived from the original on 2006-12-31. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
- Florida Atlas & Gazetteer (7th ed.). DeLorme. 2003. ISBN 0-89933-318-4.
- "Donald R. Hensley, Jr.'s Taplines". The story of the Georgia Florida & Alabama RR. Retrieved 2007-01-09.
- [dead link]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Wakulla County, Florida|
- Wakulla County Board of County Commissioners
- Wakulla County Health Department
- Wakulla County Supervisor of Elections
- Wakulla County Property Appraiser
- Wakulla County Sheriff's Office
- Wakulla County Tax Collector
- Wakulla Clerk of the Courts
- Wakulla County Clerk of Courts
- Public Defender, 2nd Judicial Circuit of Florida serving Florida, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, and Wakulla counties
- Office of the State Attorney, 2nd Judicial Circuit of Florida
- Circuit and County Court for the 2nd Judicial Circuit of Florida
|Liberty County||Jefferson County|