Chattahoochee is an idyllic representation of the real Florida…the Florida that many remember, most have forgotten, and countless others have never known. High on a hill above the east bank where the Apalachicola River begins its winding journey to the Gulf of Mexico, a walk through our town evokes feelings of both quiet nostalgia and a restlessness spirit yearning for a vibrant future.
The oldest buildings lining the downtown stand as embattled sentinels. Though many are in various states of disrepair, they steadfastly remain; each having its own story to tell. Listen closely as you stroll by the old Gibson Theater while the sun begins to set over the River, and you might believe you hear the chattering hum of the old projector reel rolling and even swear that you detect a faint scent of gunpowder as if Randolph Scott jumped off the movie screen and his trusty Winchester rifle once again found its mark. Come experience Chattahoochee and play a role in a new chapter of stories yet to be told.
Serene Lake Seminole and the mighty Apalachicola River are a sportsman’s paradise. The dark waters are teaming with largemouth bass and stripers voraciously pursuing their next prey. Come experience Chattahoochee and cast a line to see how quickly your cork goes under and your line runs tight.
The people who make Chattahoochee their home are the greatest treasures of all. It is felt in the kindness of a helping hand in a time of need without a word spoken, and without expectation of a returned favor. It is seen in each wave from behind the wheel as you are greeted by every car and truck that passes. It is evidenced in their quiet dignity and pride because they know they belong to a very special place.
Come to Chattahoochee and rest….sit a spell.…and let your cares drift down the River. You will discover the secret we already know….Chattahoochee is a “beautiful place to call home.”
Benjiman Chandler, AICP
Chattahoochee Main Street
“Dedicated to promoting a better quality of life for our community through historic preservation, education, revitalization of downtown Chattahoochee and the River Landing, and arts and cultural events.”
Chattahoochee — Florida’s Scenic River City
High on a hill above the east bank where the Apalachicola River begins its winding journey to the Gulf of Mexico, is the charming city of Chattahoochee, Florida. Thousands of years ago its strategic location on high ground at the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers established it as an important Native American trade center. As Florida’s river gateway to the Gulf of Mexico, its rich and colorful history spans centuries and includes the location of a major ceremonial mound complex, a river crossing on the original Old Spanish Trail, a late 1700s observatory and weather station, a British outpost, a Federal arsenal, connection to a major railroad junction, a Confederate training facility, a Freedman’s Bureau, Florida’s first penitentiary and first hospital for the mentally ill.
Thriving Riverboat Port and the Old Spanish Trail
From the 1820s to the early 1900s Chattahoochee grew to become a thriving riverboat port where paddle-wheel steamboats once docked and commercial river traffic fueled the town’s growth. A ferry crossing operated until the completion of the Victory Bridge in 1922 connecting not only eastern and western Florida, but St. Augustine to San Diego as a very important link in the development of the Old Spanish Trail highway system. This southernmost transcontinental highway was promoted as “America’s Highway of Romance” with an exotic narrative of missions, forts and Spanish explorers. Its route brought travelers through Chattahoochee and service stations, motels and restaurants benefited from the increased traffic. The paving of the Old Spanish Trail placed Chattahoochee firmly on the map as the East-West gateway on one of the most traveled roads in the state.
Interstate 10 Bypasses the City
In the mid-1970s construction of Interstate-10 was completed through North Florida. Running roughly parallel to US 90, this more direct route runs through the least populated areas of the state and bypasses the urban core of the cities along US 90. One-by-one service stations, motels and other businesses in Chattahoochee that were dependent on travelers and motor traffic closed.
Rich heritage, Historical landmarks, Eco-tourism and recreation
Chattahoochee today is a peaceful community known for its scenery, nature trails, historic sites, quaint business district and oak-lined streets. The City is re-emerging as a unique heritage and eco-tourism destination. New efforts are underway to provide for improved interpretation of historical resources as well as the preservation of the city’s unique cultural landmarks. Serene Lake Seminole and the mighty Apalachicola River are a sportsman’s paradise. There are growing numbers of tourists who canoe and kayak from Chattahoochee to Apalachicola. Chattahoochee’s nature trail system is a botanically rich habitat featuring bluffs and ravines near the Apalachicola River. The scenic beauty of rolling hills and deep ravines make Chattahoochee a perfect destination for hiking and biking.
Revitalization Project and the Main Street Program
A walk through Chattahoochee evokes feelings of both quiet nostalgia and a restlessness spirit yearning for a vibrant future. The oldest buildings lining the downtown stand as embattled sentinels. Though many are in various states of disrepair, they steadfastly remain; each having its own story to tell. In 2012 a group of dedicated citizens formed the Chattahoochee Revitalization Project and a year later the city was officially designated a Florida Main Street community. This achievement brings with it a grass roots commitment to revitalization honoring the City’s heritage and promoting economic development though historic preservation, but the real success of the program rests with the community leaders and volunteers who offer their time, expertise and enthusiasm to revitalizing downtown. Community visioning workshops have established several strategic themes of focus: develop historic Main Street district design standards; preserve historic downtown and the city’s heritage; protect the river landing and promote eco-tourism; promote business retention, expansion and recruitment; and foster partnerships.