Norriego Point was at the east end of Santa Road Island- What Happened?

HANK KLEIN
HANK KLEIN

Another one of the History Mystery’s of Destin is how Norriego Point moved from the East End of Santa Rosa Island to the West End of Holiday Isle in Destin, Florida.

Based on a 1916 nautical chart, Norriego Point was the eastern most tip of Santa Rosa Island. Santa Rosa Island runs from Pensacola Harbor on the west to East Pass on the east – directly across from Destin. Santa Rosa Island in Okaloosa County is called Okaloosa Island.

In 1929 when the current East Pass was cut through the east end of Santa Rosa Island, Norriego Point became a small island.

According to a sketch made by the U.S. Corp of Engineers in 1934 after the new East Pass was cut thru in 1929 in what had been Norriego Point – the end of Santa Rosa Island – was now just a small island sitting in the middle of the new East Pass and was beginning to closing off the old East Pass.

By 1961, Norriego Point has grown in size and as the old East Pass was closed completely. Norriego Point becomes what we know today as Holiday Isle.

Holiday Isle, or the remains of Norriego Point (the tip of the end of Santa Rosa Island), also forms what we know today as Old Pass Lagoon or Destin Harbor.

There isn’t a precise date that the old (pre-1929) East Pass was closed. It happened gradually and was helped by hurricanes.

A Plat of the East Pass Subdivision shows the old East Pass was completely closed by July, 1937 when this Plat was drawn.

Also notice where the county line is drawn. The line is drawn on what was the west side of the old East Pass.  That had been the end of Santa Rosa Island at one time and was called Norriego Point.

All of Santa Rosa Island from Pensacola Bay to Choctawhatchee Bay was military property at one time. When it was declared surplus in 1926, the same time Moreno Point or Destin was declared surplus by the War Department, the government of Escambia County gained possession of all of Santa Rosa Island.

H. C. “Hank” Klein is a Destin historian who visits often and lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with his wife (the former Muriel Marler of Destin).  He also contributed historical research for Tony Mennillo’s recently published book “Salty Memories along the Coastal Highway – Historic Stories of Destin and the Emerald Coast.”  He can be contacted at klein@aristotle.net.