Steffens Restaurant has been a Kingsland and Highway 17 landmark since it first opened in 1948. Trellis Crews writes: I owned & operated Steffens Restaurant from August 23, 1989 until December 31, 2007. This is the original location which is about 4 miles from the Florida line. As a note of interest I worked there as a waitress in the late 60’s before the interstate I 95 came through & in the 80’s (a fire shut it down in the 70’s) with the previous owners Darrell & Willie Mae Dyal who purchased it from the Steffens family 23 years earlier. It retains much of the charm of the roadside diners that once thrived along the Coast Highway when it was the main route to Florida on the Eastern Seaboard.
The restaurant is almost always busy, attracting both locals and road trippers.
Recently moved and restored through grants from the Georgia Department of Transportation and the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the Kingston Depot now serves as the downtown welcome center. It’s so nice to see small communities restoring these icons of the railroad era and understanding the impact they have on tourism.
Kingston Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
This seems to be where it all began, in 1949. When blood tests were required for marriage licenses, Kingsland saw an opportunity. Make it easy to get a blood test and a license and reap the revenue. It was a good idea and it led to Kingsland’s distinction as the “Marriage Capital of the South”. Georgia hasn’t required blood tests for licenses since 2003, so the old sign is just a nice reminder of what helped put Kingsland on the map.
Kingsland Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Heritage Gardens, where this gazebo is located, was the brainchild of florist Pauline Butler, who saw opportunity in the hordes of Floridians who come to Kingsland to circumvent their state’s more complicated marriage laws. In 2005 she told Florida Times-Union columnist Roger Bull a great story of an 81-year-old groom and 75-year-old bride from Melbourne who came up to avoid their wedding announcement being published in their local paper. “They didn’t want anyone to know,” she stated. The gazebo is modeled after Rome’s Pantheon…the Latin on the frieze reads: M. Agrippa L. F. Cos. Tertium.Fecit (trans. Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, in his third consulate, made it)