Chattahoochee, originally known as Mount Vernon, was established as a ferry landing on the Apalachicola River during the 1820's. Prior to that time the site had already developed as a major landmark of Florida history and prehistory.
The Chattahoochee Landing Mounds, a major Fort Walton Era (Mississippian) mound group, was constructed and used between 900-1500 A.D. It originally consisted of seven mounds, three of which survive and are protected by the City of Chattahoochee. Major preservation and interpretation efforts are underway at the mounds. The largest of the surviving mound was the site of Nicolls' Outpost, one of the only two British forts built in Florida during the War of 1812. On the Apalachicola River, just south of the mounds, was the site of the Scott Massacre of 1817, a major battle of the First Seminole War. The first US defeat of the Seminole Wars, this engagement led President James Monroe to order General Andrew Jackson's 1818 invasion of Spanish Florida.
In 1835, construction began at Chattahoochee on the Apalachicola Arsenal. Completed in 1839, this complex was Florida's only US arsenal of the antebellum era. Seized by state forces on January, 6, 1861, it was the first federal installation in Florida to fall at the beginning of the Civil War. After the Civil War the arsenal was converted for use as a prison and during the late 19th century converted again for use as an asylum, the predecessor of today's Florida State Hospital. Three of its original buildings - the officer's quarters, guard room and an external powder magazine structure - survive intact.
Chattahoochee grew to become a thriving riverboat port during the heyday of paddlewheel steamboat traffic on the Apalachicola River. Many of the historic structures along Washington Street in the City's Main Street district date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and resulted from the strong river-based economy.
The city today is emerging as a unique heritage and co-tourism destination. Its parks focus on both natural and cultural history. New efforts are underway to provide for improved interpretation of historical resources as well as the preservation of the city's unique cultural landmarks.
The Apalachicola River Blueway begins in Chattahoochee and flows 107 miles from the Jim Woodruff Dam to its mouth under the John Gorrie Bridge in Apalachicola. The pristine natural resources are home to abundant species of wildlife making the river's watershed one of six national biodiversity hotspots in the country! The scenery is magnificent, and the river, sloughs, coves, and bluffs are delightful to explore. Numerous meandering, narrow, creeks flow through vast tracts of Apalachicola National Forest making excellent paddling destinations.
Apalachicola River Blueway is a National Recreation Trail
The Upper Ochlockonee River State Paddling Trail is a 27-mile designated paddling trail beginning near the Georgia state line and forms the eastern boundary of Gadsden County
Things to Do
· Chattahoochee Smoochie 5K Run (February)
· Flea Across Florida (April & September)
· “Charlie-fest” Music Festival to support Shands leukemia research (May)
· Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration
· Chattahoochee Thunder Drag Boat Race (August)
· International Coastal Cleanup (September)
· Intertribal Pow Wow (October at the River Landing)
· Three Rivers State Park Holiday Lighting Event (December)
RiverTrek 2014 KickOff Celebration in Chattahoochee Oct 2014
Sending bright bolts of red, green, blue and a rainbow of other colors in the Apalachicola River Tuesday morning, more than a dozen kayakers entered the river at the landing in Chattahoochee to launch their five-day RiverTrek southbound to Apalachicola.
It's a 107-mile journey, as the river flows. Energetic and smiling widely with anticipation over the adventure to come, they gathered first for a group photo, with the noses of their vessels pointed north toward the bridge that crosses the water. Then they turned south and spread out to make their leisurely start one by one. They'd meet up again at rest points and finally in camp that night to sleep under the stars.
Before they departed, the kayakers took part in a brief ceremony to unveil a new sign that had the town leaders beaming. Chattahoochee is now officially a Blueway Community, giving it much more visibility in the ecotourism market. That designation was celebrated in the pre-launch gathering, along with a nod to the fact that, in June, the beloved river that caresses the western border of town has been dubbed the Aplachicola Blueway by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The river is also a Florida Paddling Trail and a National Recreation Trail.
Chattahoochee City Manager Lee Garner, Mayor Champ James and Chattahoochee Main Street volunteers were among the dignitaries who said the town's new distinction breathes new life into the town's economy and the freshens the diversity of the community's reputation.
Garner and other said they felt that RiverTrek launch day would also be looked back on in years to come as launch day, too, for a more active ecotourism future that will make the town a must-go destination for water enthusiasts. With a company already poised to open an outfitters shop just down from the landing, the town leaders are excited about the other possibilities to come.
Sneads, the Jackson County town that borders the other bank of the Apalachicola, has also expressed hopes for more ecotourism in the near future.
By 3 p.m. Central Daylight Time, the kayakers had almost reached the first-night's designated camp, a sandbar across from a bluff near Bristol. Along the way, said participant Doug Alderson, they'd seen bald eagles in flight, lots of wading birds at the river's edge, and, out in the woods at Torreya State Park on a break, three copperhead snakes. Two of them were coiled together in a picturesque mating ritual, he said.
The first day gave the paddlers some picture-perfect weather, as well, with sunny skies and a slight breeze nudging them along.
The paddlers were to have dinner on their own that night once they set up camp, but would gather later for a s'mores fest around the campfire, where Steve Seifert might be persuaded to play the ukulele he stashed in his vessel. After that, they would stretch out in their tents for a night under the stars before heading on downstream at morning light.
Recreational Trails Program grant
supports grassroots community trail project
The CRT Annual Achievement Award was presented in Washington, D.C. on June 5. (l to r) Derrick Crandall, Co-Chair of the CRT; U.S. Representative Steve Southerland; Lee Garner, City Manager, Chattahoochee; Anne and Charles Thrash, City of Chattahoochee volunteers; Jack Terrell, RTP Member; Marianne Fowler, Co-Chair of the CRT.
The small Apalachicola River community of Chattahoochee was recently awarded one of only nine national Annual Achievement Awards by the Coalition for Recreational Trails (CRT), a federation of national and regional trail-related organizations. The award, specifically for construction and design, was for a sustainable and accessible trail of approximately 2.3 miles added to the city's Angus Gholson Nature Trails. The project involved development and/or enhancement of three trails and a new trailhead, as well as amenities that include interpretive kiosks, benches, water fountains, picnic areas and restrooms. Sustainable and accessible design principles were applied throughout the project for design, layout and construction.
“We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with OGT on this project.” Chattahoochee City Manager Lee Garner said. The trail project, in conjunction with an RV Park, performance stage, boating and fishing opportunities, enhances eco-tourism opportunities that could result in positive economic impacts for the community. Thanks to the vision of dedicated volunteers and enthusiastic city leadership, the Nature Trails project was awarded a grant of $95,145 through the OGT-administered Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and the city supplied $63, 430 in matching funds, for a total project cost of $158,575.
In addition to Chattahoochee officials traveling to Washington, D.C. for the awards ceremony, the city celebrated the project's completion with a grand opening event in late May.