Were Destin pioneers homesteaders or squatters? Find out on Jan. 14

Special to The Log

The Destin Library will host a presentation by historical researcher H. C. “Hank” Klein, a distant relative through marriage of the founder of Destin, Leonard Destin, at 6 p.m. Jan. 14. The presentation is free and open to the public. Seats will be limited and interested individuals are encouraged to arrive early for this event.

The presentation, "Destin Pioneer Settlers — Homesteaders or Squatters?," traces the history of the property at what is today Destin from the time before it was ceded by Spain to the United States in 1819 through when the early pioneer settlers were able to buy their land for $50 an acre directly from the War Department in the 1930s.  Highlights of the presentation will be:

• Spain’s ceding both west and east Florida to the United States for $5,000,000 in 1819;

• Where the name Moreno Point came from;

• How and Why Moreno Point became a Military Reservation;

• The United States War Department’s leasing of lots to early pioneer settlers for their fish camps;

• How and why Moreno Point Military Reservation became surplus military land in 1926;

• The United States War Department’s efforts to sell the land, which took more than 10 years;

• The early pioneer settlers who purchased their waterfront land for $50 an acre in the early 1930s.

H. C. “Hank” Klein has long been interested in the history of Destin and the genealogy of his father-in-law’s and mother-in-law’s families (Marler and Shirah). He has contributed historical research for Tony Mennillo’s recently published book "Salty Memories … Along The Coastal Highway — Historical Stories of Destin and the Emerald Coast."

A local writer, photographer and author, Mennillo will act as master of ceremonies for this informative evening about Destin history.  Following the presentation, Mr. Mennillo’s book will be available for purchase.

For further information on this upcoming presentation please call the Destin Library at 837-8572.