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Trip Planner USA  /  Florida  /  Florida Panhandle  /  Valparaiso

Valparaiso

4.6
History Museums
Valparaiso is a city in Okaloosa County, Florida, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 6,408. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2004 estimates, the city had a population of 6,336. It is part of the Fort Walton Beach - Crestview - Destin Metropolitan Statistical Area.HistoryValparaiso was named after Valparaiso, Indiana.Chicago businessman James E. Plew, who relocated to the Panhandle of Northwest Florida in 1922, became "one of Northwest Florida's pioneer developers," and settled on Valparaiso "as the most likely spot for development. He founded the Bank of Valparaiso, constructed the Valparaiso Inn, organized the Chicago Country Club which constructed the Valparaiso Country Club golf course and was instrumental in many other development activities in the community.""Other interests of Mr. Plew included the founding of the Shalimar Winery, which was established to use the surplus grape crop of the county. He also founded the Valparaiso Novelty Company, helped to establish a knitting mill in the community and was interested in a number of other enterprises to which he made investments to help their development."Plew thought that a military payroll would boost the depression-stricken economy of the region. He leased from the City of Valparaiso the Valparaiso Airport, an arrowhead-shaped parcel of 137acre cleared in 1933 as an airdrome. In 1934, Plew offered the U.S. government 1460acre contiguous land for a bombing and gunnery base. This leasehold became the headquarters for the Valparaiso Bombing and Gunnery Base activated on June 14, 1935, under the command of Captain Arnold H. Rich. This was the founding of Eglin Air Force Base. The field was assigned the ICAO airport code VPS for Valparaiso, which Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport retains to this day.
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