Lakewood – Highest Point in Florida

Might have mentioned this in my previous post about the place I go for walks. This is inline with my thoughts of writing about interesting places I visit on the motorcycle or my daily life within the small area near me that hopefully some will find interesting.

Still trying to get back in the swing of things and get my legs back to somewhat normal after the accident last year, by walking as much as possible. It is a great place to walk, has three different trails to hike, longest being about seven tenths of a mile but if you walk them several times it’s possible to build up any distance you desire.

A very quiet place rarely anyone around to disturb you and since it’s only about five or six miles from my home, it provides a great excuse to jump on the motorcycle, take a little ride and do some walking. The trails are soft with leaves most of the time which is better than walking on pavement or concrete in my recuperation. You’re basically walking through the woods, trees shading all the trails. Before the accident I was walking there three or four times a week an average of four to five miles each time. Two miles is my current goal and have been reaching it for the last couple of weeks with only a day or two off due to rain, etc.

Florida’s highest point is in the country, North Walton County bordering on the Alabama state line east of Paxton, Florida, a place called Britton Hill. At 345 feet above sea level, Britton Hill is Florida’s highest natural point – and the lowest “high point” in the United States. Your grandmother can get to the top without breaking a sweat. 345 feet is pretty high for us Floridians since the Mean Elevation of Florida is only 100 feet above sea level. It also has many visitors from the of which their motto is: Education, Support & Conservation of the Highest Point in each of the 50 United States. Have actually met a few of their members while there for my walks.

Found this interesting article about the area of Lakewood and it’s history:

From The Palm Beach Post archive (Oct. 1993), Florida historian and author of Florida Time, Eliot Kleinberg, visits Britton Hill, Florida’s highest spot.

This 400-by-900-foot plateau less than 2 miles south of the Alabama line has been declared the highest spot in Florida – a nosebleed-inducing 345 feet above sea level.

Margaret Jean Britton Richbourg has heard the jokes. It doesn’t change her love for this unique spot on a stretch of Panhandle country road.

On the west side of County Road 285, a turnoff leads to an open shelter. A short walk into the woods brings one to a granite marker reading “Lakewood Park: Florida’s Highest Point. 345 feet.″

The settlement surrounding the marker “is kind of a ghost town,″ Richbourg says sadly.

The post office is now a guest house. The old railroad depot sits in a pasture across the road. The former one-room schoolhouse is a dusty private museum filled with rusting chains and tools, mementos of the region’s once-thriving lumber and railroad trades. The Richbourgs open it on request.

The lumber company founded by Margaret Richbourg’s father and uncle at the turn of the century was the economic heart of this region. It owned 90,000 acres and a 22-mile-long railroad spur and was cutting 100,000 feet of lumber a day.

At its height, Lakewood had boasted 101 buildings, including a three-story hotel, rail depot, store, commissary and housing for 400 mill workers.

But the Depression, a timber glut and fires – the mill burned down three times – had taken their toll by World War II.

In 1956 state engineers did a survey to find Florida’s highest point. Other sites made the claim but the honor fell to a spot just south of Lakewood.

Richbourg’s mother, post office manager Hazel Slaughter Britton, saw a chance to resurrect the town. She pursued investors without success and died at 87 in 1976. Soon her post office was closed and mail routed from Florala, Ala.

It was an insult to be in the highest point in Florida and get our mail from Alabama,″ Richbourg says.I wrote (then-president) Jimmy Carter up in Georgia and asked him how he’d like to get his mail from Alabama.″

She never mailed the letter but mail now goes through DeFuniak Springs, about 20 miles south.

The year her mother died, Richbourg got a letter from a girl in Lakewood, N.Y., wanting to know what the Florida town planned for the Bicentennial. That sparked her to pick up her mother’s cause.

She set up the museum in the old schoolhouse, pushed to convert the post office into a historical exhibit, and began organizing homecoming festivals. Reunions in 1978 and 1979 drew as many as 1,000 former residents. But the town returned to obscurity. Richbourg partially blames a 1982 Associated Press story that cynically described “Midget Mountain″ and told of visitors showing up in climbing gear.

In 1984, the Richbourgs donated 17 acres and the county spent $17,000 of a state grant to build the park and monument.

Richbourg envisions a restored settlement and museum complex, with a barn, a cane-grinding mill, a blacksmith, and harness, gun smith and bicycle shops, along with a studio for weaving, pottery and leather crafts.

But, she says, “I’m getting old. It’s just in limbo. I’d like to see somebody pick it up and carry on.″

Florida Time is a weekly Florida history column from Palm Beach Post historian and reporter, Eliot Kleinberg. The series launched on January 3, 2019 across 22 GateHouse Florida website markets including Jacksonville, Fort Walton Beach, Daytona Beach, Lakeland, Sarasota and West Palm Beach.

Here is an idea of what Lakewood Park looks like today. Nice clean quiet place in the country that not many people know about and that’s great for me. Like being able to walk in peace, maybe listen to some music. 🙂

My Walk 05/12/21

Found this video on You Tube posted by Two Egg TV talking about Florida’s Highest Point.

Once again, thanks for reading and hopefully following. Not an “Old Biker” by definition, just an old man that loves to ride motorcycles. Not really a Biker “motorcyclists” fits better.

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