Santa Rosa Island, FL Tower Beach Amusement Area Fire, Mar 1942

"Amusement Area Of Tower Beach Is Destroyed By Fire"

Almost all of the amusement area of Tower Beach, popular Gulf Coast playground, was destroyed by a fire of unknown origin last Saturday afternoon [7 March 1942]. The entire board walk, with the exception of the souvenir shop went up in flames.

Mr. [Thomas E.] Brooks said that it was believed that the fire started in the archery range and exceptionally high winds quickly spread the flames to other buildings. Mr. Brooks placed the loss at between $25,000 and $30,000.

Fortunately, none of the many summer cottages on the beach were damaged.

Volunteer fire fighters, numbering hundreds, attempted to form a bucket brigade from the waters edge in order to stem the roaring flames without success. Fire fighters and equipment from Eglin Field were sent to the scene but arrived too late to prevent the destruction.

The casino, restaurant, 110 room bath house, and several small concession buildings went up in flames.

The loss was keenly felt in this area because Tower Beach has always been one of the major attractions for summer tourists along the Gulf Coast. Mr. Brooks said that it would be almost impossible to secure materials for reconstruction at this time.

Okaloosa News-Journal, Crestview, FL, Friday 1942-03-13, Volume 28, Number 8, page 1.