Florida Main Street
Program of the Month
April 2008 Program of the Month
Main Street Milton
Secretary of State Announces Main Street Milton as the Florida Main Street Program of the MonthSecretary of State Kurt S. Browning announced today that Main Street Milton has been designated the Program of the Month for April 2008. Communities are selected for this recognition based on their participation in the Florida Main Street Program. This marks the second time in 13 months that Milton has earned the Program of the Month distinction, demonstrating the town’s consistent and enthusiastic commitment to the Main Street approach.
“Milton’s dedication to renewing its cultural and historical institutions is a benefit to all Floridians,” remarked Secretary Browning. “The state of Florida commends Milton’s Main Street organization for recreating a place for its citizens to live, work, and thrive in a rich historical setting.”
One of the last remaining vestiges of territorial West Florida, in 1839 Milton was known as “Mill-town” in recognition of the area’s many lumber mills. The saw mills were situated upstream from the settlement so that loggers floated their timber down the Blackwater River to be loaded for shipping through the Gulf of Mexico. The town has assumed a number of nicknames since it was settled in the 1820s. As it was founded at the northernmost navigable point on the Blackwater River, it was first dubbed the “Blackwater Settlement.” It was colloquially called Scottsman’s Anchorage, Lumberton, and Scratch Ankle, referring to expansive briar patches which grew in the area.
Early in its history, Milton was important to the development of antebellum Florida as a source of lumber supply. At the turn of the 20th century, Milton grew to incorporate a shipyard and small industrial district along the river. However, the economic blight brought on by the Great Depression resulted in the closing of the shipyard in the late 1920s and the town’s sawmill in 1937. With the collapse of the community’s economic base, the rest of the town began to fall into disrepair. However, in 1943, the U.S. Naval Air Station Whiting Field was established in Milton, which brought residents and the accompanying need for commercial expansion. Designated a Florida Main Street community in 2000, Milton has undertaken a variety of commercial and historic revitalization endeavors, earning several Department of State Main Street awards.
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.
To learn more about Main Street Milton, contact program manager Wanda Enfinger at 850.255.5951 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.