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Chipley owes its existence and name to the Pensacola & Atlantic (later L & N) Railroad. In 1882 the railroad was being constructed near a community known as Orange Hill in northwest Florida. Construction of a railway siding was completed beside what is known today as Tank Pond, near the Agricultural Center and City Hall. Local residents were not keen to have a town beside the railroad on the hill as it fell into Jackson County. Some of the Orange Hill and other Washington County promoters met Col. W. D. Chipley, manager of the new railroad and proposed that the new town be built in Washington County. Col Chipley agreed and the townsfolk named the town Chipley.
As the town developed, its northern and eastern sections spread into Jackson County. That created problems for law enforcement and school officials so the border was adjusted in 1915. Chipley’s railway station and post office were originally located in railway box cars. The first school was called Limestone, for Limestone Church and the name changed to Chipley in 1886. The Methodist Church that now stands at the top of the hill on Jackson Street was built. The Collier House, a boarding house, existed before 1890 near today’s Chipley hotel. The Chipley Hotel was completed in 1890. Chipley was reincorporated in 1901 and in 1902, the Presbyterian Church was built. Chipley became the Washington County seat of government in 1927 and a courthouse and jail were added.
Vicinity of Chipley
A great fire destroyed and gutted thirty-five buildings when Chipley was 20 years old. The town was slowly resurrected. In 1916 Chipley was the scene of a religious revival, which attracted wide attention. It was directed by an Evangelist with the assistance of Chipley’s Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches. Even today the population of around three thousand five hundred prays regularly at the many churches. The health of the community is well cared for at the Northwest Florida Community Hospital. Children receive a good education in the many schools. Interested students can avail of further training at the Washington-Holmes technical center.
Falling Waters Park is the local reserve where one can relax by the waterfall for which the park is named. You can swim in the waters or take a leisurely stroll on the nature trails within the park. Camping is very popular here. A boardwalk takes visitors to Florida’s highest waterfall. Huge trees and ferns cover sinkholes on the Sink Hole Trail. The park provides travelers with a quiet, serene stop on their journey. Revel in the sight of beautiful native and migratory butterflies in the butterfly garden. Take a dip in the lake while the kids play in the playground in these peaceful surroundings or have a family picnic.
There are several good hotels and motels for visitors to stay while in Chipley. Chipley Days Inn is a popular and comfortable hotel. Holiday Inn Express is the other popular hotel frequented by visitors who cannot have enough of this lovely city.