History Happened Here

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Gadsden County

Year Founded: 1921


In 1681, the Spanish located their mission of Santa Cruz de Sabacola here. The community was first established around 1828. For part of its history, the city was known as River Junction because the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers join nearby to form the Apalachicola River. It took its current name from the Chattahoochee River. The word is Seminole Creek and means “marked rock,” deriving from the peculiarly colored and patterned stones that are found in the bed of the river. In 1834, a U.S. federal arsenal was constructed on the grounds of what is presently the Florida State Hospital. Constructed of locally made brick, the arsenal consisted of various buildings erected so that their exterior walls formed a quadrangle of four square acres. It served as munitions storage for the federal government during the Indian Wars, and later as a Camp of Instruction after it was seized by the Confederacy during the Civil War. In 1869, the buildings were given to the State of Florida for use as a prison, and in 1876 the prison became a mental institution.

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