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A Brief History of Perdido Key

Located on a narrow strip of snow white beaches and crystal blue waters, Perdido Key is in the Northwest Panhandle of Florida, between Pensacola, Florida, and Orange Beach, Alabama. No more than a few hundred yards wide in most places, Perdido Key stretches some 16 miles, with almost 60 percent of it located in federal or state parks – making it one of the last remaining unblemished stretches of wilderness in the Florida Panhandle.

Perdido Key’s literal translation means “Lost Key,” so named by the early Spanish who discovered it in 1693. Until then, the key was the well-kept secret of gulf coast Native Americans – Perdido Key’s first inhabitants.

The Perdido Key Association originated in 1954 by a group of about 100 people. At that time, the 700-acre Gulf Beach Gunnery range was declared surplus by the Navy, and the entire tract was auctioned off to a single developer/builder. After much perseverance and trips to Washington, this small group convinced the government to honor their individual bids, and in 1957 a portion of the land was subdivided into 700 lots known as the Gulf Beach Subdivision. Records indicate that Gulf-front lots were originally $50+/- front/ft. or about $2,700 for a 50-foot beach parcel.

Initially known as the Gulf Beach Development Association (a not for profit), the small group was incorporated in 1970 as the Perdido Key Development Association, and later being more concerned with the “changes in the environment," became the present Perdido Key Association, Inc., in 1986.

SOURCES: Perdido Key Chamber and Perdido Key Association

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