Laurel Hill Florida

FEATURED LISTING: Florida ::: Laurel Hill


People who live in Laurel Hill are happy to stay where they are and the way they are. This rural community in Okaloosa County in the Fort Walton Beach metro area is near the Alabama border. A population of less than 600 persons lives in Laurel Hill, a town without any major lakes or water bodies. Almost 70% population is of white ancestry and majority of the rest is African American.

This may sound dull place but it does not convey the warmth and neighborliness of the community. Nor does it explain that the local school Laurel Hill School is free from the usual problems of drugs and adolescent problems that are common in larger places. Laurel Hill is a place where every one knows every one else and most people have lived there all their lives – content with their rural lifestyle.

It comprises of vast open properties and you have to traverse 1000 acres of surrounding woodlands before you even reach any populated or sub populations of the Laurel Hill area. The cost of property is much lower than in the rest of Florida and some people have chosen to relocate here after retirement as they got better value for money and there is no millage tax here. These new members are welcomed with warmth and friendliness and are made to feel at home very quickly.

Incorporated in1954, Laurel Hill is in fact one of the earliest settlements of Florida in the early nineteenth century. This was a farming community in the Water River region that grew when the railroad reached here. Initially it was a logging camp and timber was transported on the railroad from here. Later the River Railroad established its headquarters here. When all the timber was cut, the railroad sent a Mr. Axelson as their land commissioner to sell the land. He was responsible for bringing in new business into the town and started a newspaper, the Laurel Hill Gazette. Property was advertised for sale in the paper and this was Laurel Hill’s boom time. In 1945 a mill was started here. Things went into a slump over the years and Laurel Hill lost its significance.

Today, many of the residents, who are descendants of the early developers, have worked to restore the downtown area with its century old buildings and hope to bring its former glory back to Laurel Hill. Many tracts of property now up for sale and development. A new golf course has been developed in the neighborhood, which will probably bring in visitors and new residents. There are numerous churches in the area, many a hundred years old. They include the Mount Zion Church, First Baptist Church, and the Pentecostal Church. 1905Gallery and Antique Mall has a variety of collectibles for sale by 40 vendors.

A highlight in the calendar is the annual Hobo festival in October. Celebrated at the local Gene Clary Park on the first Saturday of October every year, it is an occasion for live entertainment and music and stalls of fifty local vendors.

Florida Cities and Towns