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Wakulla County, Florida
Seal of Wakulla County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Wakulla County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the U.S. highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Founded 11 March 1843
Seat Crawfordville
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

736 sq mi (1,906 km²)

36 sq mi (93 km²), 17.54%
 - (2000)
 - Density

39/sq mi (15/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 is 28,212 people. [1]. Its county seat is Crawfordville.6


Spanish rule[]

In 1528, Panfilo de Narvaez found his way to what would be Wakulla County from Tampa 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 1800s. 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 C Ambrister and Alexander George 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 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 [1]

Antebellum Wakulla[]

Wakulla County was created 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 gallons 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 possibile 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.

Civil War[]

During the Civil War, Wakulla County was partly involved. From 1861-1865 a Union squadron blockaded 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.


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.

Since Wakulla was probably a Timucuan word, it is unlikely that its meaning will ever be known. It may contain the word kala which signified a "spring of water" in some Indian dialects.[2]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,906 km² (736 sq mi). 1,571 km² (607 sq mi) of it is land and 334 km² (129 sq mi) of it (17.54%) is water.

Wakulla County is part of the Tallahassee Metropolitan Statistical Area.


As of the census² of 2000, there were 22,863 people, 8,450 households, and 6,236 families residing in the county. The population density was 15/km² (38/sq mi). There were 9,820 housing units at an average density of 6/km² (16/sq mi). 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.




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 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.


County representation[]

Wakulla County Government
Position Name Party

Commissioner Brian Langston Democrat
Commissioner George N. Green Democrat
Commissioner Ed Brimner Republican
Commissioner Howard Kessler NPA
Commissioner Maxie Lawhon Democrat
Sheriff David Harvey Democrat
County Judge Jill Walker Democrat
Clerk of the Court Brent Thurmond Democrat
Propery Appraiser Donnie Hartman Democrat
School Superintendent David Miller Democrat
Elections Supervisor Sherida Crum 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. [4]


No railroads currently operate within Wakulla County. In the past the Georgia passed through Sopchoppy on its route between Tallahassee and Carrabelle until its abandonment in 1948 [5], while the Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad, the first railroad in Florida, was abandoned by the Seaboard Coast Line in 1983.


The Wakulla County Airport (2J0), located south of Panacea, is a small public-use airport with a single 2600-foot, north-south turf runway. [6]


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.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Simpson, J. Clarence (1956). Mark F. Boyd. ed. Florida Place-Names of Indian Derivation. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Geological Survey. 
  3. ^ "Wakulla County Supervisor of Elections". Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  4. ^ Florida Atlas & Gazetteer (7th ed.). DeLorme. 2003. ISBN 0-89933-318-4. 
  5. ^ "Donald R. Hensley, Jr.'s Taplines". The story of the Georgia Florida & Alabama RR. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  6. ^ "AirNav, LLC". 2J0 - Wakulla County Airport. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 

External links[]

Government links/constitutional offices[]

Special districts[]

Judicial branch[]

Tourism links[]


Coordinates: 30°09′N 84°23′W / 30.15, -84.38

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Wakulla County, Florida. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.