The Kelly Fleet at the Kelly Docks

Coleman Kelly came to the Ft. Walton/Destin area in the 1930's as superintendent of a turpentine and lumber company. He then co-founded the Destin Lumber Company which dissolved a few years later and he took his proceeds as real estate. Kelly opened concrete plants which supplied much of the area during the years of growth. Destin and his wife Mattie donated land to the community for the Episcopal Rectory, the Methodist Parsonage, the Presbyterian Manse, and the Destin Elementary School. They gave 75 acres of land for the Destin Airport and helped in its construction. In addition to owning the Kelly Docks and boats, Coleman Kelly owned a service station where he pumped gas and checked oil. From 1959 to 1971 they sponsored the Kelly Fishing Jubilee during August and a free fish fry on Labor Day. For years the Kelly's allowed free use of the Kelly Docks for the Destin Fishing Rodeo.