Friday, January 23, 2009
De Funiak Springs, FL
We spent five nights in De Funiak Springs, FL on our way east and south. The RV resort was on one of the many lakes in the area and was very pleasant. De Funiak Springs is clearly past its heyday, but doing its best to hang in there. The town was founded around the “open pond”, when the railroad decided to make it a stop on its line. Thus, in the early 1880’s, the town was founded and named in honor of the president of the railroad. The open pond is a unique lake formed by a huge circular sink hole filled by an underground spring.
It quickly became well known when it was chosen as the winter home of the New York Chautauqua. See more on this from 22 Aug 2007:
It quickly became a center for culture in the Victorian style with many well off folks from the north establishing homes around the lake. Today the town boasts of 250 homes and other buildings on the national historic register.
The town is also home to the oldest library in the state operating from its original building. The library was established during the first decade of the town. The railroad station now serves as a community museum, where those interested may have a guided tour from the manager. It turns out that she was originally from Toledo, Ohio!
Before leaving the area we had a nice chat with the owner of a general store outfitted as it would have been in the early 1900’s. She gave us the latest on the town’s issues and also recommended we try the H&M hot dog establishment around the corner. This is a very small place, cooking area counter and five stools all in about 120 sq ft, that serves a number of old fashioned lunches heavy on the grease, but very tasty. It remains as it was when it started in 1947, I guess on the theory of not fooling with success. It worked for us. I think I can safely say it is the smallest restaurant I have ever eaten in.