Crawfordville, county seat of Wakulla County, had its earliest beginnings in the riverside town of Port Leon, located on the eastern side of the St. Marks River, not far from the present day town of St. Marks. In 1843, a devastating hurricane and tidal surge destroyed the town and shipping port, forcing relocation of the county seat. To be more centrally located, eventually the county seat, which is named after Senator John L. Crawford, relocated in 1892 a final time to its present location.
Crawfordville remains the central hub of government and business in the county. Yes, there is a large chain discount store, a grocery store, and several franchised restaurants, but Crawfordville has what so many other places have already lost. The “small town” merchant is alive and well in Crawfordville and its surrounding communities, which only adds to the county’s authenticity. In Crawfordville, you will find unique antique and gift shops, restaurants and friendly businesses run by folks, who take pride in what they do. Plan to spend some time poking around Crawfordville to see what you can find.
In downtown Crawfordville stands the Historic Courthouse completed initially in 1894. It is constructed of solid heart pine with a cupola that is graced by a unique cypress weathervane, which is hand-carved in the shape of a mullet -- a commercial fish important to the history of Wakulla. The Old Wakulla Courthouse is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and one of only three existing wooden courthouses in the state. Across the street from the Historic Courthouse, The Old County Jail houses a fully-functional museum of historic displays, a museum shop, and a genealogy room.
Visitors to Crawfordville can enjoy several parks, which can be accessed easily. In the Azalea, a walking park, lives a colorful lion near the gazebo; the lion is painted monthly by families and volunteer citizens to entertain onlookers. The adjoining Hudson Park is the site of many county parades and celebrations. Nearby is Hickory Park, complete with playground, tennis courts, hiking/biking trail, and picnic facilities.
Crawfordville is also home to a satellite campus of Tallahassee Community College and the Wakulla Environmental Institute. The Institute is an emerging state-of-the-art, environmentally-sensitive, and efficient learning laboratory for students seeking real life, hands-on educational opportunities in conservation, the environment, recreation, and hospitality industries.