Burney Henderson

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Burney McIver Henderson (1905-1989) was a businessman who acquired vast land holdings in the Destin area in the late 1930s. In 1935 and 1936 Frances Beeland Wilkinson of Greenville, Alabama purchased over 6 miles of what now Destin and Okaloosa Island. In 1937, Mrs Wilkinson and her husband Broughton Wilkinson assigned a 1/2 interest in 2 miles of Destin property. In the same transaction Henderson and appointed as trustee for the Wilkinson’s remaining 1/2 undivided interest. Many of these beachfront parcels have since been developed. One large tract remained in its natural state and became known as Henderson Beach. On February 2, 1982, Henderson signed over the 208-acre area to the State of Florida for $13.1 million, to be preserved as the Henderson Beach State Park.[1] Henderson was revoked as trustee for Mrs. Wilkinson in 1952, therefore he sold his remaining interest to the State of Florida for 1/2 the appraisal value. Mrs. Wilkinson’s undivided interest remains in the East portion of Henderson State Park while West (the bulk of the park) is/ was the Eastern portion of undeveloped lands being in the Plat of Silver Beach subdivision. James Dew of Coastal-Glades Reality Co had began developing Silver Beach but later released back to Wilkinson.

Also in 1983, Henderson was crowned De Luna in Pensacola's Fiesta of Five Flags celebration.


  1. "State creates newest park on Okaloosa County tract." The Ledger, February 6, 1982.