History of Lynn Haven

  1. 1910s
  2. Building the Town
  3. 1920s & Beyond

Lynn Haven Main Street in Black and WhiteEstablishment

Lynn Haven was established in 1911 as the third of three Union Veterans Colonies in the South. Fitzgerald, Georgia was established in 1896. St. Cloud, Florida was established in 1909. Although each of the three “Old Soldiers Colonies” was organized separately by independent development companies, each site was chosen for “health, climate and productiveness of the soil” and each recruited future land owners through the use of The National Tribune, a newspaper of the Grand Army of the Republic veterans’ organization.

W. H. Lynn, A. J. Gay and R. L. McKenzie were the primary stockholders of the St. Andrews Bay Development Company. Lynn had been an associate of the National Tribune and the Grand Army of the Republic veterans’ organization; both A. J. Gay and R. L. McKenzie were also major investors in the Gulf Coast Development Company - creators of the new town of Panama City (incorporated in 1909) located on the shores of St. Andrews Bay.

These three men purchased large tracts of land to the east and to the north of Panama City and hoped to use the nucleus of that small city to build a much larger community. That idea was met with much resistance so they then turned their sights to the vast areas of “cut over timber lands” along the northern arm of St. Andrews Bay where Andrew Jackson Gay had already created a small community referred to as “Gay, Florida,” site of today’s Panama Country Club.

Opening Up for Settlement

While the actual location of the “new soldiers’ colony” was not announced until late December 1910, large numbers of Union Veterans had already started the trek down to North Florida to be ready for the opening of the new settlement. On January 11, 1911 the first offerings of land in the new “Lynn Haven” took place. One “town lot” and a five-acre plot outside of the new colony were offered as a package for just $150.

The “City of Lynn Haven - 1911 Plat Map” was surveyed and laid out in even “lots and blocks” - avenues running north to south were named for states and streets running east to west were numbered. That first year all land sales in Lynn Haven were offered “by lottery” - actual sites could not be selected by the prospective buyers.