Florida Main Street
Program of the Month
October 2007 Community of the Month
Main Street Crestview
Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning Announces Florida Main Street Community of the MonthSecretary of State Kurt S. Browning announced today that the Main Street Crestview Association has been designated the Florida Main Street Community of the Month for October 2007. Communities are selected based on their participation in the Florida Main Street Program. Main Street Crestview was designated a Florida Main Street Community in 1997.
"Main Street Crestview has been very successful at celebrating and promoting the heritage of their city," said Secretary Browning. "Heritage tourism and historic preservation are increasingly important sources of economic impact in our state, and Crestview is an impressive example of how growing cities can use their historical resources to attract visitors and new businesses."
Crestview, the seat of Okaloosa County, lies nestled between the Yellow and Shoal rivers at the junction of Highways 90 and 85. With a population of 19,500, the historic transportation hub and commercial center is also one of the fastest growing communities in northwest Florida. In recognition of the city’s significance and the efforts of citizens to preserve and promote their beloved and unique city, the Crestview Commercial Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on July 20, 2006.
Construction began on the Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad in 1882 and "Crestview" was plotted by surveyors as a likely spot for a station because of its location at the crest of a ridge 235 feet above sea level visible from miles around. Hammer Fisher "Doc" Powell became the first postmaster of the Crestview post office in 1883. The next year, the area’s first church, the Home Missionary Church, was constructed on land donated from the railroad and by 1885 the town had 160 residents.
State Senator W. H. Mapoles proposed the establishment of a new county to be called Okaloosa on land taken from Santa Rosa and Walton counties, a measure approved by overwhelming majorities of the citizens of both. On April 11, 1916, the town's residents approved incorporation, and the town council immediately began measures to beautify the city. Crestview continued to prosper and steadily grow, particularly during the mid-1930s with the establishment of Eglin Air Force Base just south of town. Eglin became an important testing and training center during and after World War II, bringing thousands more people to the area. By 1956 Crestview was home to 7,456 residents.
The two-story brick, 40,000-square-foot Alatex building is one of the oldest buildings in Crestview. The one-time shirt factory is the anchor of downtown and is currently undergoing intensive rehabilitation. The Main Street Crestview Association has spearheaded efforts at beautifying downtown including planting trees, decorative light fixtures, and new awnings and signage for downtown businesses.
Since designation as a Main Street community, downtown Crestview has seen $5,821,000 in new construction, $1,791,000 in rehabilitation, a net gain of 46 businesses and more than 6,400 hours of work from Main Street volunteers. Crestview hosts several community events throughout the year, including the Old Spanish Trail Festival on the last weekend in April, celebrating the historic colonial route from Jacksonville to El Paso, Texas. Main Street Crestview Association events such as the Fall Festival in October, Veterans Day Parade, and Christmas Parade attract visitors and vendors from around the southeast. In 2006, Main Street Crestview Association received an award for outstanding special event for its 90th anniversary celebration.
To learn more about the Main Street Crestview Association contact Bill Killpatrick by phone at 850.689.3722 or by email at email@example.com.
Florida Main Street is a technical assistance program of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State. The Bureau conducts statewide programs aimed at identifying, evaluating, and preserving Florida's historic resources. Main Street, with its emphasis on preservation, is an effective strategy for achieving these goals in Florida's historic retail districts. Since 1985, the Bureau has offered manager training, consultant team visits, design and other technical assistance, as well as the benefit of experience gained by other Florida Main Street programs.