Wednesday 61°F
| Miramar Beach, Florida

11 Feb

Three Fun Facts about Destin History

And How They Relate to Howard Hospitality Today

The team here at Howard Hospitality loves history. So, on January 21st for National Museum Selfie Day, we traveled to the Destin History and Fishing Museum to learn about our neighboring city and, of course, to snap a selfie. Now, you may ask, “What does Destin history have to do with Howard Hospitality today?” The answer is…nothing, or so we thought. Keep reading to learn a few fun facts about Destin’s history and what the heck that has to do with us now. Oh, and to see our #museumselfie with a 436lb warsaw grouper caught in Destin.

Tree Tappin’
Turpentine Tree

Old Destin was not only a fishing village but was also home to a booming turpentine industry. Turpentine is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin harvested from living trees, mostly pines, and was crucial for ship maintenance, thinning oil-based paints, and more. Collecting it is a complicated and time-consuming process. It involves debarking and ‘tapping’ a terebinth, Aleppo, or longleaf tree, all of which are native to Northwest Florida, and guiding the resin into a container through cut grooves. In Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, one of our favorite beach access points and just five minutes from either property on Grand Boulevard, you can find many trees with the turpentine “cat-face” grooves cut into the trunks.

Get lucky 
Destin Fishing
Photo by

Destin was dubbed “the world’s luckiest fishing village” in 1956. While passing through Destin, Gov. Collins went out on a boat for a few promotional photos. The captain set out a few rods to appear as if Gov. Collins was fishing, and on the way back, he caught at 29lb King Mackerel! When asked how he was able to capture such a large fish in less than 20 minutes, Gov. Collins said: “What do you expect from the world’s luckiest fishing village?”

Today, the surrounding waters of Destin still remain lucky due to the array of fish species available to catch. Back bay fishing in South Walton is very popular, and boats can be chartered just a few miles from Grand Boulevard. From a 5lb pompano to a 400lb yellowfin tuna, you never know what could be at the end of your reel. Click here to book your next fishing adventure.

Call me, maybe?
Destin phone history

We know the ability to communicate over distance has long been a part of human history. But did you know that the first telephone call in Destin wasn’t made until 1952? Influential in bringing the telephone service to the Bay and Gulf areas were Al Fox, a retired phone company manager from New York, and Captain Dave Marler. Both men were Destin residents in 1937 during World War II. The extensive project took nearly 15 years to complete and cost $50,000, adjusted for inflation today would be about $484,865. In 1951, after years of lobbying and trial-and-error, Southeastern Telephone built its central switching office. Standing in that little concrete building, (where What-A-Burger is today) Mr. Fox and Capt. Marler placed the first phone call to Charles Absolom Marler, a relative of Dave. 

Be our guest

In just a few weeks, Howard Hospitality will embark on our own extensive project – moving to a new office space. While fortunately, it isn’t a 15 year or half a million-dollar project, we can learn a bit from Fox and Marler. That’s the great thing about history. The past gives us valuable insight into the present and even the future. Destin history teaches us to dream big even from humble beginnings.

Relocating takes a lot of work, and we’re sure to experience some challenges, but we know at the end of that struggle is a ringing telephone. And we hope on the line will be you, our guests. For more on the Grand Boulevard hotels, visit Our Properties.

As promised, here is our Media Coordinator, Nogah Winfield, taking a selfie with a replica of the largest warsaw grouper ever caught.

warsaw grouper

The award-winning team of Howard Hospitality manages the hotels on Grand Boulevard.