Milton Downtown District
Milton (Santa Rosa County)
Period of Significance: 1855-1930
Milton is one of the oldest cities in the state of Florida (incorporated 1844). It played a major role in the 19th and early 20th century American lumber trade. Large shipyards were located along the banks of the Blackwater River, which also served as a 19th century highway of commerce. The historic district is compact but has remarkable integrity; containing marvelous examples of vernacular brick commercial buildings, antebellum homes, wood frame Folk-Victorians, colonial revival, and craftsman style bungalow homes. Today Milton is a window on Florida’s past – a time when motorists traveling across the panhandle had no choice but to take two-lane roads through little towns like Milton.
Threat: For decades the Florida Department of Transportation has consistently proposed widening Highway 90 through Milton to four lanes, necessitating the demolition of historic buildings and forever changing the character of the entire downtown. Currently, the FDOT is conducting a Project Development & Environmental (PD&E) Study that is set to determine the fate of Highway 90 and downtown forever. The two official routes in the study (including a four-lane option) would have major negative impacts on the district and surrounding eligible historic resources outside the district. The FDOT has failed to include a viable route in the study that has no direct impact on historic buildings despite overwhelming public support and several feasible options suggested by the preservation community – such as a southern-alternate.