Milton and its surrounding areas have vastly changed in the years I have been around to see the changes. These years are considerable. Not only the landscape but business and the generations, as well, have evolved.
Pa, my maternal grandfather, (called "Sweeter" by his friends) moved his family, consisting of his wife and five children, to Milton from Harold to a "bungalow-type" house, now destroyed, on Canal Street where, later, I was born.
He operated a railroad cross tie yard. The tie yard was located in East Milton on a narrow strip of ground between Marquis Bayou and the old brick road, then Highway 90. I do not know what his arrangement was with the railroad, whether he bought and sold to the train companies or to others.
The tie yard was located across the brick road and a bit west of what later became Milton Courts. However, at that time, there was a pavilion standing in that location, among large trees, mainly stately, old magnolia trees.
Later, during World War II, the Estes family had a barge-loading and truck repair shop adjacent to the old tie yard. This adjoined another small inlet from Blackwater River and was barely separated from Marquis Bayou by land.
The pavilion, a circular or octagonal wooden structure, was used for various types of entertainment. One of the regular activities was a square dance, maybe weekly during the summer. Before air conditioning was in common usage, the pavilion was built with open sides for airflow, and bench-type seats built around the sides under the side openings. There was one closed-in side for a band or other performers.
When I was small, my mother's extended family, including her siblings, my aunts and uncles and cousins, but never Pa, went to the square dances in the pavilion. The adults took quilts and pillows to "bed down" us small children when we became sleepy, while the music and dancing went on until midnight.
Pa was a gentle, quiet man and did not like loud noises or crowds. He, therefore, avoided these Saturday night dances. He did not mind his family going, but it was not for him.
Pa never learned to drive although he owned a Model T Ford truck. My dad drove for him possibly as long as Pa had the cross tie business. That is the way my dad met my mother.
In the Model T and Model A Ford days, Blackwater River, going into Milton, had a draw bridge that creaked when it was raised and lowered. The bridge also had a wooden plank sidewalk with spaces between the planks, that, to me at the time, seemed large enough that I could fall through, which, of course, was not possible.
Many, maybe most, of these Milton characteristics, the businesses, the landscape and most of the generations of the people have drastically changed, but Milton — and the old brick road, though in sad disrepair and partially destroyed — have endured.
Doris Melvin Kingry , retired English and Journalism teacher, was first woman elected to public office in Santa Rosa County where she served eight years. She is a native Santa Rosan, living where her family has lived for several generations.