Latitude / Longitude:
30°12′N 84°11′W / 30.200°N 84.183°W / 30.200
Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
Newport is a small unincorporated community in Wakulla County, Florida, United States of America, situated where U.S. Highway 98 meets State Road 267.
In 1841, the current Newport area and the community of Port Leon, just south, endured a severe yellow fever epidemic. In 1843 Port Leon, located on the St. Marks River, was devastated by a hurricane that produced a 10 foot storm surge. The area still struggles against the same recurring hurricane surges that move up the St. Marks River entrance. After the hurricane of September 13, 1843, washed away all of the homes, buildings and railroad tracks in Port Leon promoters Nathaniel Hamlin, James Ormond, Peter H. Swain and several others met a week later and made plans to establish another town.
In 1856, the Pensacola and Georgia Railroad obtained controlling interest in the Tallahassee-St. Marks Railroad. The new company improved the tracks and replaced the mules with a steam locomotive that cut travel time from nearly five hours to two hours. Newport has Newport Springs, a sulfur spring said to have healing properties. The spring empties into the St. Marks River. Below the springs there are a series of caves. Wakulla County has taken over maintenance of Newport Springs.
They spent several days searching for a site safe from the sea, then selected a piece of land on the west side of the St. Marks River, about two miles below the old town of Magnolia, Florida. This location offered high ground, fewer swamps, and beautiful bubbling springs. It was owned by the Apalachicola Land Co. The organization permitted citizens who had suffered from the storm to draw lots at a cost of $25 and up. The promoters named this new town Newport and platted it with four streets running east and west. The streets were New, Washington, Market and Adams. Those that extended north and south bore the names Bay, Pine, Elm and West. These street names were remarkably similar to those in St. Joseph, Florida territorial Florida’s largest town, about 80 miles to the west down the coast.