DeFUNIAK SPRINGS — The Walton-DeFuniak Library, the train depot, various churches and dozens of the historic homes that surround Lake DeFuniak each were built because of the Florida Chautaugua Association and its annual assembly, says local historian Chris Mitchell.

Those and other buildings were part of the nonprofit association’s historic, almost 300-acre resort, where famous speakers and thousands of lovers of learning began visiting in the late 1800s.

“Most of our people here do not know that it’s a resort, or that it used to be,” Mitchell, who is the grant writer for the city of DeFuniak Springs and a member of the board of directors of the Florida Chautauqua Association, said recently.

Thanks to a state grant, however, local residents and visitors soon will have

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