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Contact: Chris Cate

Secretary Detzner Designates Lynn Haven as Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Recognizes organization’s contribution to preservation and restoration

Tallahassee, Florida –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner today announced Lynn Haven Main Street as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month for April 2012. The selection for this award is based on the Lynn Haven program’s involvement and active participation in the Florida Main Street Program.

“Lynn Haven Main Street is a great example of a successful Main Street community,” said Secretary Detzner. “By recognizing the value of their unique history, Lynn Haven residents are inspiring other Main Street communities, as well as all Floridians, to invest in their city’s future by recognizing the value of its past.”

Early settlers of Lynn Haven knew the location as a beautiful area with an agreeable climate and vast stretches of fertile land. W.H. Lynn, who published a national veteran’s magazine in Washington D.C., decided to settle two towns in Florida as homes for Northern Civil War veterans. Lynn Haven was one of those towns and the other was St. Cloud.

Lynn Haven was incorporated on June 10, 1913, with J.H. Hughey serving as the first mayor. The city was called the “Old Soldiers Colony” and made national news as a colony for Civil War veterans. Many vets moved to the retirement community that they also called, “Magic City.” It was a tight knit group of people and they worked hard to build homes and plant gardens. The media of the day took notice and began to call the town of Lynn Haven, “Queen City of the South.” The veterans provided schools for children and educational opportunities for all its citizens. Over time, Lynn Haven became well known as a destination for retired veterans.

Lynn Haven experienced its “Second Colonization” when soldiers who had fought in the Spanish American War made their way to Lynn Haven. Minor C. Keith, President of the United Fruit Company, was a brother-in-law to W. H. Lynn and, in 1917, he acquired nearly 200,000 acres of land around the area of Panama City. Keith’s investments in the area are credited with putting Bay County on the map. Keith also purchased the railroad and area mills and built the Lynn Haven Hotel. However, despite these developments, Lynn Haven remained, in large part, a bedroom community rather than a tourist destination.

Since the 1970s Lynn Haven has become the second largest city in Bay County. Despite its sizeable growth, however, Lynn Haven has maintained its small town appeal. It is a community where new businesses and industries continue to prosper. Thousands of today’s residents are descendants of those same veterans who came to the city in its early years. Lynn Haven residents have a rich history to celebrate. Since becoming a Main Street Community, Lynn Haven has been able to invest more money into their historic central business district and encourage residents to open businesses there. Lynn Haven’s Redevelopment Agency, created in 2004, has also contributed a great deal to the revitalization of downtown. Lynn Haven Main Street also hosts a farmer’s market where residents can enjoy the local products that their community has to offer.

The Florida Main Street Program designated Lynn Haven as a Main Street Community in 2010. As a Florida Main Street Community, Lynn Haven has attracted a net gain of 11 new businesses and 36 jobs, as well as investments totaling nearly $2 million dollars in 27 public and private construction projects. Additionally, dedicated community members have contributed more than 800 volunteer hours in their Main Street Program.

To learn more about Lynn Haven Main Street, contact program manager Ben Janke by phone at 850.265.2961 (ext.131) or e-mail [email protected].

About Florida Main Street

Florida Main Street is a technical assistance program of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, managed by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. The bureau conducts statewide programs aimed at identifying, evaluating and preserving Florida’s historical 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.