Keaton Beach Pier

Keaton Beach Pier

According to local historians, Keaton Beach was named for Abb and Sam Keaton, two brothers who apparently first settled in the area and who are thought to be its original owners. It is believed that their family originally owned cotton farms in the area, however, their primary source of income gradually shifted as mullet fishing became one of the thriving industries in Taylor County. In the early 1900s, mullet were caught off the Florida coast and residents of south Georgia and north Florida would come to Keaton Beach to buy the fish, which were salted down for use during the winter. Thus mullet became a staple food of the regional diet. The real commercialization of the beach came when Captain W. Alston “Cap’n” Brown, who owned the turpentine works at Blue Springs Creek, became involved with the area in the early 1920s. The Keaton Brothers were said to have worked with Brown, and he named the Beach in honor of them. Keaton Beach has had several primary owners throughout the years, however it has currently developed into a residential area with homes that are owned by individual families.

Early on the community consisted of two houses, a pavilion, a sawmill, a church, a commissary and several workers’ houses along Blue Creek Spring. The pavilion was constructed by Captain Brown in the early 1900s, and was passed on to Walter Howard at a later date. By day it was used by Mr. Howard and his partner, Mr. Kelly, as a place to repair their mullet nets. However the pavilion soon became known as a non-commercial place for family and friends to meet in the evenings. One area resident was quoted in a local publication as having said, “The pavilion was a fun place to square dance at night.” Later the pavilion was used primarily as a fish camp by day and as a dance hall and restaurant by night.

The Stephens family purchased the property of Keaton Beach from Clarence Kelly of Madison County, Florida in 1946. In the 1940s the Stephens family frequently visited Keaton Beach as a weekend getaway. However, the Keaton Beach, Inc. company eventually bought a parcel of 337 acres of Taylor County beaches that included the Keaton Beach area from Mr. and Mrs. Stephens. The Keaton Beach restaurant, pavilion and eight cottages were included in the deal. The land area included the frontage on the Gulf as well as Blue Creek.

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