It’s hard to miss the historical richness of DeFuniak Springs. A short drive down Main Street, past the historic train depot, and around the lake allows for residents and visitors alike to experience the city almost exactly as it was 100 years ago. A quick Google search will tell you all you need to know about the Victorian homes, the Florida Chautauqua Association, and even the oldest continuously running library in the state. However, not everything in the history of DeFuniak Springs is as apparent as the hundred year old architecture. A deeper investigation reveals surprising ties that connect DeFuniak Springs to a rare monument in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Edinburgh is home to the only U.S. Presidential monument outside of the United States. The monument depicts Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves and is a Civil War memorial honoring the Scottish-American soldiers who fought in the war. What does this have to do with DeFuniak Springs? The two are connected by a man named Wallace Bruce. Wallace Bruce was an internationally known author, lecturer, the longest acting President of the Florida Chautauqua, and the former U. S. Consul to Edinburgh Scotland. He also built some of the homes in DeFuniak Springs. Bruce had the idea to build the monument after receiving a call from the widow of a Scottish-American Soldier. Bruce was inspired by the widow to commemorate the soldiers. He then started to raise the funds needed for the memorial and enlisted sculptor George Bissell to cast the monument.
It’s important to know that DeFuniak Springs was built on the shoulders of men like Bruce. Men, who not only shaped the local history, but helped shape transatlantic alliances and gave examples of American democracy to countries that needed it. History, such as this, is what makes DeFuniak Springs special, important, and worth preserving.
Read more about the monument and the events leading to its creation by clicking the link below: