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Monday, November 16, 2009

The History of Bayview RV Campground in Destin, Florida

Bayview RV Campground dates back many years...some say to the post-war 1940s and 1950's "Happy Days." The 1/2 acre land, before it was subdivided and given its name, may have been under water, specifically, Choctawhatchee Bay, meaning "Big Water," named by the local Choctawhatchee Indian tribe. Today, Joe's Bayou is the inlet across the street on 749 Beach Drive, and the City of Destin built the existing boat launches. Joe, many believe, was "Indian Joe," a single native- American who lived in Destin during the time of the earliest settlers. No one knows for sure what became of him, or if he had family. Bayview RV Campground used to be what was called a "fish camp." At that time, in the off season, the captains of Destin hand built their fishing boats of all sizes on the shores of Joe's Bayou. It was a natural choice because the depth of the water was perfect for launching the vessels and sailing to Destin's Harbor where there was an outlet to the Gulf of Mexico. Joe's Bayou was also used as safe harbor during Destin's frequent unnamed hurricanes. One can imagine the construction noise of hammering and hand saws echoing through the pine scented woods under a deep blue winter's day. Maybe the busy captains bought coffee or purchased "fast food" at Bayview where icecream and sandwiches could be ordered through a small window inside a screened porch with a few small tables and chairs. Athena Marler Creamer remembers visiting the tiny restaurant when she was perhaps 3 years old with her Dad, Capt. Ben Marler. Researching its history, one of the first names of the park was "Patty's Campground", and then "Bayview Courtyard Camping." In 1979, the place was renamed "Bayview Camping," by the Lapinskis, it's managers. Dr. Tom Toomey owned Bayview Camping for a few years. Finally, in 1990, the name was expanded to "Bayview RV Campground." Underground renovations revealed traces of electrical wiring that was used in the 1940s, confirming its past at a time whe the village of Destin was actually being introduced to electricity in homes. Ms. Creamer says that God told her that she would own the campground one day in 1979 when she lived there briefly. "The managers kept asking me for suggestions for improvements," she remembers, "and I would give them ideas of where to place the washers and dryers, and coke machine. One day I told them that what they really needed for the hot sun and grass was shade trees. What kind, they wanted to know. I said long needle pines like there are in Ft. Walton Beach. Soon after, I returned home to find them brushing soil off their hands and they had just finished planting 42 waist high pines saplings that day. In 1990 when we acquired the campground, a tree survey had to be done, and guess what- there were exactly 42 giant 60 foot pine trees! Every one of them made it."
"The Lord is good, says Ms. Creamer. He has been very good to me."//

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