How South Walton became a gateless gated community

Published: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 09:16 AM.


So it came to pass that 30A would not have the “wall of condos” and the multi-storied motels that were rising at Panama City Beach and Destin. Nor would it have the “amusements” and bars that attracted the sort of people who rented those condos and motels — no Goofy Golf, no carnival rides, and no bands with the name “Trashy White” singing “I’ll be glad when you’re dead you sumbitch you.” 

30A would attract affluent and accomplished baby boomers looking for a place to relax and young urban professionals — “yuppies” — whose attitudes and affectations were anything but redneck.

They found what they wanted at Seaside.

Seaside’s story is well known.  Its “founder,” Robert Davis, set out to create a “real town,” yet one more carefully designed and controlled than anything C. H. McGee ever envisioned. There people would live, work, and interact with their neighbors — even if the interaction was only sitting on the mandated front porch and talking with folks on the other side of the required picket fence.

What started as a collection of cute, brightly painted cracker cottages around a village grocery, hardware store, and shrimp shack quickly evolved into an architectural fantasy world, a laboratory for New Urbanist ideas, an investment opportunity, an upscale resort, and a tourist attraction, complete with concerts and events, like wine tastings. Seaside has been called many things, but never redneck. 

Not long after Seaside began, the honky tonk in the curve closed. 

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