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Holmes County Cities
|Bonifay||Ponce de Leon|
Holmes County Government
Holmes County Education
History of Holmes County
Located in the northwest section of the State of Florida in an area known for southern hospitality and natural beauty is the rural County of Holmes. Holmes County was established on January 7, 1848 as the State's twenty seventh county. It was the second county established after the Florida Territory achieved statehood in 1845. Since then the land and the inhabitants have enjoyed in some cases, and endured in others, many changes. It is an area that is rich in history, natural resources, character, and progress.
The early settlers of Holmes County were preceded primarily by Native American Indians. Artifacts found in the surrounding area serve as a testimony of their occupancy and livelihood for many thousand years. Holmes County was named possibly for Holmes Creek which was supposedly named for the Creek Indian Chief Holmes.
The Legislature positioned the first governing bodies, the Circuit Court and County Commission, at Hewett's Bluff on the bank of the Choctawhatchee River. Resident voters later chose Hewett's Bluff to continue hosting the county seat of government. A post office was established at the site on July 5, 1848 and it was named Cerro Gordo. In 1861 the Legislature formerly changed the county seat's name to Cerro Gordo. During the following years the communities of Westville and Pittman Ferry held the distinction of being the county seat until the honor finally settled in Bonifay in 1905.
Surrounded by forests, creeks, clear springs, rivers, lakes, swamps and wetlands, inhabitants had an opportunity to see nature at its very best. The area could then be described as lush forest land with deep flowing streams and native plants ample to support a wide variety of wildlife. It also provided various opportunities to support a growing number of early settlers. The early settlers became progressively involved in such industries as logging, farming, cattle ranching, and other agricultural endeavors. The same is true today. The Choctawhatchee River and Holmes Creek continue to serve as county line boundaries in many areas and both still exhibit clean flowing streams lined with long leaf and loblolly pine, cedar, cypress, many varieties of hardwood, and farmland. Several other streams, lakes and ponds also continue to contribute to the quality of nature. Native wildlife can still be enjoyed by both amateur and professional nature seekers. Conservation projects practiced in the area has helped to maintain a balance between man and nature.
According to the Census of 1850 the population was recorded as 1,205. Today the population is estimated to be approximately 20,000. Towns other than Bonifay in the County include Esto, PonceDeLeon, Westville, Poplar Springs, Noma and Prosperity. There are also small communities and neighborhoods spread across the County far too numerous to mention but equally important in making Holmes County a great place to live.
The geographical location of Holmes County makes it an ideal location for both business and pleasure. It is centrally located between the major cities of Pensacola, Tallahassee, and Panama City. Proximity to a major Interstate Highway System (I-10 and US 90), multiple improved state maintained roads (SR 79 and SR 2), a system of rural county roads (paved and dirt), and commercial rail and air transportation systems, coupled with available real estate and economic develop incentives, empowers Holmes County entrepreneurs to pursue an enormous variety of business prospects.
The Holmes County Economic Development Commission and the Chamber of Commerce, through cooperative endeavors, continue to seek out and pursue economic opportunities that offer potential to better position the area to be proactive rather than reactive to future changes in the economy, public policy, the demands of a growing population and a changing job market. Although agricultural industries are still predominant to the area, other industries with exciting potential for economic growth are beginning to emerge. Environmentally friendly commercial manufacturing, retail sales, auto repair, real estate, residential and commercial construction, general assembly, computer sales and services, commercial trucking and ecological tourism are but a few of the promising industries. It is also noteworthy that Holmes County is centrally located between several Department of Defense military installations (Tyndall and Eglin Air Force Bases, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Pensacola Naval Air Station, and Forts Rucker and Benning Army Installations).
At the request of the Development Commission two studies were recently conducted by independent and professional organizations and both concluded Holmes County has tremendous potential to support an ecological tourism market. Taking advantage of this information, the Development Commission has ongoing initiatives that are producing very encouraging results and may soon develop into mature and exciting opportunities for both resident jobs and tourists to the area.
Information provided by the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce. Need a relocation packet? Contact them at:
Holmes County Chamber of Commerce
106 East Byrd Avenue
Bonifay, FL 32425
West Florida Energy Co-Op
Waste Management of Springhill
Ponce de Leon Carriage Rides
On the Wild Side Ranch
2654 Wolf Hollow Drive
Ponce de Leon, FL 32455
Vortex Spring Speedway
Highway 81 North
Ponce de Leon, FL 32455
Old Town Trading Post
2988 Highway 81
Ponce de Leon, FL 32455
Pine Log State Forest
5583 Longleaf Road
Ponce de Leon Springs State Park
601 Ponce de Leon Blvd
Ponce de Leon, FL