Fort Walton Temple Mound
A massive "Indian mound" in
the center of town was a
major ceremonial structure.
Confederate Cannon
This 18-pounder was used to
defend Camp Walton, a Civil
War encampment that gave
Fort Walton Beach its name.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida - Historic Sites & Points of Interest - Fort Walton Beach, Florida - Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Camp Walton Schoolhouse
The restored one room schoolhouse is a charming
addition to downtown Fort Walton Beach.
Heritage Park & Cultural Center
The beautiful Northwest Florida city of Fort
Walton Beach is best known today as a
gateway to some of the most beautiful white
sand beaches in the world. Overlooked by
many, however, is the city's fascinating
Heritage Park & Cultural Center.

A beautifully preserved complex of historic
sites, restored structures and a museum of
archaeology, the park is located in the heart
of downtown Fort Walton Beach.

The park is centered around the noted
Walton Temple Mound, a major ceremonial
structure build by Native Americans of the
Mississippian culture (A.D. 900-1500). The
platform mound, comparable to the pyramids
of the Aztecs and Mayans, was the center of a
large mound group built along the shores of
Santa Rosa Sound. The prominence of the
site caused archaeologists to give the label
of "Fort Walton" to Northwest Florida's
Mississippian people.

Adjoining the mound is the Indian Temple
Mound Museum. Founded in 1961, this was
the first municipally owned museum in
Florida. It houses a collection of more than
4,000 artifacts including elaborate pottery
vessels excavated from the mounds at Fort
Walton Beach as well as relics left behind by
early Spanish explorers.

On another side of the mound can be seen
the cannon of the Walton Guards. This 18-
pounder was sent from Pensacola to help
Camp Walton, a Confederate camp
established at the base of the mound in
1861. Southern troops were posted here until
the summer of 1862 to guard Santa Rosa
Sound and Choctawhatchee Bay from Union
attack. It is from this Civil War camp that the
modern Fort Walton draws its name.

In addition to the museum, mound and camp
site, two beautiful historic structures can be
found on the grounds of the Heritage Park.

The Camp Walton Schoolhouse was built in
1912 as a one-room school offering eight
grades. A room for high school students was
later added on to the back of the building.
Beautifully restored as a project of the Junior
Service League and Okaloosa County School
Board, the old school is open from Monday
through Saturday from 12 noon until 4 p.m.
Immediately behind the schoolhouse is the
historic Garnier Post Office.

Built in 1918, it is one of the oldest surviving
post offices in Northwest Florida. Built of
cypress, the structure also served as an early
voting precinct. Restored in 1979 by the City
of Fort Walton Beach and the Junior Service
League, the old post office is open during the
same hours as the Camp Walton School-

The grounds of the Heritage Park & Cultural
Center are open daily. The Indian Temple
Mound Museum is open Monday through
Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
click here to visit their official website.

The complex is located at 139 Miracle Strip
Parkway (U.S. Highway 98) in downtown Fort
Walton Beach, Florida.
Temple Mound Museum
The Indian Temple Mound
Museum preserves stunning
prehistoric artifacts.
Garnier Post Office
Built in 1918, this little post
office is a fascinating
reminder of Florida's pioneer
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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