Welcome to Freeport, Florida

Freeport’s roots date back to around 1830, attracting settlers to its natural harbor

Freeport’s Roots Date Back to Around 1830, Attracting Settlers to Its Natural Harbor

Freeport’s roots date back to around 1830, attracting settlers to its natural harbor, LaGrange Bayou, nestled near the eastern edge of Choctawhatchee Bay and the mouth of the Choctawhatchee River.

Originally known as Genoa and later Four Mile Landing, Freeport earned its name during the Civil War. Initially dubbed Four Mile Landing, it transitioned to Freeport due to the absence of docking fees in the port area where Four Mile Creek meets LaFayette Creek. Legend has it that during this period, an unclaimed shipment of wine was discovered, leading locals to jest about enjoying some “free port.”

The area’s first residents were predominantly farmer/boatmen, as noted in the 1850 census. They engaged in farming, fishing, and working on commercial fishing boats and cargo vessels. These founding families traded their produce and livestock while some migrated to the region with the establishment of lumber mills, naming various landings after the settling families along the waterways.

Freeport thrived as a commercial and political center for Walton County, boasting steamboat and schooner connections to Pensacola and Geneva, Alabama, via the Choctawhatchee River. It served as a vital hub for mail delivery and transportation of goods, particularly from Pensacola, using wagon trains to towns like Cerro Gordo.

Post-Reconstruction, the lumbering and naval stores industries took precedence, with mills strategically positioned along waterways for transportation. Notably, in 1918, the Valparaiso Development Company cultivated sugar cane in Freeport and shipped it to Chicago.

Today, Freeport’s original port area, where Four Mile Creek meets LaFayette Creek, hosts Gulfstream Ship Building and Murphy USA. Residents find employment in various sectors, including Eglin Air Force Base, county jobs, construction, and the service industries associated with South Walton County’s tourism.

Geographically advantageous, Freeport is a pivotal point between North and South Walton County, proximate to Tallahassee, Pensacola, Montgomery, Ft. Walton Beach, and Panama City. It’s conveniently close to multiple regional airports and within a half-hour drive to the beaches and golf courses of South Walton. With its proximity to Eglin Air Force Base, Freeport stands as a progressive small city with promising prospects on the horizon.