History Mystery: Where did Freeport get its name?

Hank Klein
Aerial Photo of Four Mile Landing at Lafayette Creek and Four Mile Creek

Another one of the History Mysteries of Destin is how did its neighbor Freeport, across the bay in Walton County, get its unusual name?

Back in the 1800s the main mode of transportation was water so boats needed to tie up at what were called “landings.”  Most landings charged a fee for tying up your boat to their dock.

Four Mile Landing was unusual in that it was free to tie your boat up at this landing.

When the only transportation in this area was by boat, folks used the water to go just about everywhere.

After the Civil War, what was known as Four Mile Landing became what we know today as the city of Freeport, in Walton County.  The name Freeport was taken from the fact that because Four Mile Landing did not charge a fee for mariners to tie up their boats at this dock, it was a “FREE port.”

Today Four Mile Creek still exists.  Where Lafayette Creek intersects Four Mile Creek there is a city park where the landing once thrived. In this park you can launch your boat or fish from the dock where commercial boats once tied up for free.

Today folks use roads to get from one place to another and the street names are about the only thing left that will give you a clue that Four Mile Landing even existed.  There is also a Four Mile Road in that area.  Notice the street signs – they both say Four Mile Road. I have never seen an intersection before where both roads had exactly the same name – but these do.

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).  Klein recently published a historic book about Destin's pioneer settlers.  Destin Pioneer Settlers...A Land History of Destin, Florida from 1819-1940  can be obtained from Tony Mennillo of Arturo Studios at 850/585-2909.  Klein can be contacted at