The Panhandle Pioneer Settlement was founded in July 1989 to bring together the material history of life in Calhoun County and the Florida Panhandle between the 1820s and the 1940s. Back then, Blountstown was a bustling community that relied heavily on commerce carried along the Apalachicola River, also known as the "Big River." Today, the Settlement has 18 buildings of historical significance, as well as exhibits and collections. New pieces of history are added every year!
Our founders, Willard and Linda Smith, first envisioned the Settlement years before it became a reality. As people who lived the pioneer lifestyle, the Smiths realized that the values and traditions of the past were being lost as time progressed. The Smith's desire was to preserve the pioneering traditions that formed the foundations of the Florida Panhandle. With a dedicated group of other historic-preservation enthusiasts — and with perseverance, commitment and passion — the Smiths established the Settlement. Through a land-grant lease from Calhoun County, the Settlement was able to move its first buildings and materials from their original locations to preserve the pioneer lifestyle and stand as a living-history experience to educate future generations. As a public, educational institution, the Settlement's vision is to:
- Preserve the pioneer lifestyle for future generations;
- Encourage interest in the stories and ways of the past;
- Provide relevant and creative educational programs, performances, exhibits and visitor experiences;
- Create an inviting environment where ideas are shared and gathered.
The purpose of the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement Museum is to promote knowledge and understanding of the history of pioneer life in Calhoun County and the surrounding northwest Florida region, through its stewardship of the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement Community Foundation Endowment Fund as resources for education, use and appreciation. This purpose shall be fulfilled by preserving, maintaining and interpreting its site, structures and collections and making them available to the public for research, education programs, and appropriate private and community functions.