Florida Panhandle Weird Time Zone Line
Florida is a divided state when it comes to timing. While most of Florida is in the Eastern Time Zone, nine of Florida’s 67 counties are in the Central Time Zone, and one county is divided. (Florida Panhandle Weird Time Zone Line)
The counties in the Central Time Zone are:
- Escambia County
- Santa Rosa County
- Okaloosa County
- Walton County
- Holmes County
- Washington County
- Bay County
- Jackson County (Eastern Time Limits)
- Calhoun County (Eastern Time Limits)
The Gulf is divided into counties (Eastern Time Zones) and two time zones. The northern part of Gulf County is in the Central Time Zone, and the south along the Gulf Coast is in the Eastern Time Zone.
So how did Florida get divided over time?
First, let’s review how time zones were set up. Time zones were first introduced in 1883 by a civil engineer who came up with the idea to help with train schedules.
Then in 1918, the time zone became law with the Standard Time Act, which introduced standard time zones and daylight saving time in the US.
In Florida, the timeline was established along the Apalachicola River, starting at the Georgia border and following Fivers to the south. However, the timeline does not go as far as the river.
The shipping and railroad industries wanted to keep the coastal areas in the Eastern Time Zone. Therefore, the line turns at a fork in the Apalachicola River in Apalachicola and covers Post St. Joe and all the communities and beach towns to the south.
Residents are divided by time zone
Time zones are an essential issue in which residents are also divided. In 1982, residents of Gulf County had the opportunity to convert the entire county to Central Time, but 55 percent chose to keep it that way.
In 2018, the governor of Florida proposed the Sunshine Protection Act that would permanently put Florida on daylight saving time.
The bill was passed by the Florida Legislature but could never happen because it requires an act of Congress to change the time zone.
A related bill that proposed moving the whole of Florida to the Eastern Time Zone was not passed.
While many residents want all of Florida to be in the same time zone, most Central Time Zone counties in Florida’s western panhandle have adapted to the Central Time Zone and want to keep it.
Attractive communities living with daily time zone differences
Bay is the only county in Florida with two time zones. Cities close to the time zone in Gulf County include Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, Wewahica, and Apalachicola.
Residents crossing the Apalachicola River in Florida enter a different time zone. Schools and government offices are often operating from different time zones.
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