The town is reborn

A plaque on the Esto Town Hall commemorates the town's rebirth in 1963.

A plaque on the Esto Town Hall commemorates the town’s rebirth in 1963.

AFTER DECADES of little civic activity in Esto, the town experienced a rebirth in the 1960s. The Town of Esto was reincorporated by legislative enactment in 1963, subject to approval of the voters in a referendum. That was finally achieved on July 17, 1963, with 70 for and 17 against.

The new charter called for the president of the Town Council to serve as mayor. Walter Dixon, son of one of Esto’s original incorporators in 1902, got the job.

Esto’s new charter contained no law enforcement or ad valorem taxing authority, features that to some had made the town’s earlier charter obnoxious. The community had already obtained Florida’s first water system funded by the U.S. Farmers Home Administration; Esto Water Works was organized on April 3, 1963. A town hall and a fruit and vegetable marketing facility was built, along with a development of low-cost housing. Most of the streets were paved and lighted. The town’s corporate area was much larger than it was originally, extending from the Alabama-Florida state line south to Highway 2.

A community recreation center was constructed several years later and dedicated on October 15, 1977. A few years later, on October 25, 1986, the recreation center and the park surrounding it were named the John W. Clark Memorial Park after the prominent Esto resident who was instrumental in the town’s revival.

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