About 1919, W.H. Butler, acquired the Grayton Beach property in a trade for the Phillips Inlet property now known as Camp Helen. He also acquired all of Grayton except the Beach-Rogers house and a few other lots scattered around. Mr. Butler continued to live in DeFuniak Springs for 15 years. He began to think that he could develop Grayton Beach since land was cheap and carpenters were begging for jobs since the big mills at Point Washington had closed.
He first built a house at Point Washington and after he finished that, he started on Grayton Beach. First, here - opened ditches to take water away from the Washaway house and divert it into the Western Lake. When the pond dried up, he had a crew jack up the big house and, with some six-foot flat lightered wood posts, leveled it up on new supports.
In the 1920's and 1930's, early visitors to Grayton Beach remember the hardships that they endured to get to the beach. There were no real roads to Grayton - only sandy ruts. Travelers cut palmetto branches that grew along the road to use for traction when a vehicle got stuck - which happened often. Usually someone came along to help, if only because they couldn't pass until they got the other vehicle out of the way. Grayton wasn't a bad place to live in the Twenties and beyond. There was plenty of free fuel if you had a fireplace or wood stove. You could comb the woods for a mile radius and find enough wood knots and lightered wood in a hour to last a month.
The hurricane of 1926 really hit Grayton hard. The hurricane swept off the beach completely for a couple of hundred feet and washed into the high dunes, leaving a bluff and sudden drop-off. The beach was swept so clean there was no sign of any lake outlets from Grayton to Destin. After the storm subsided the small fishing shacks at Destin were either gone or in the Gulf. All that was left of a little dance hall was a piano sitting in three feet of water! That hurricane made a lot of changes. Before it hit, the Choctawhatchee Bay was not nearly as salty. There were lots of weeds and grassy areas out a few hundred yards from shore.
World War II also had its effect on Grayton as well. German subs had sunk several freighters off the coast, and it was apparent these subs might need fuel and supplies and might even make a landing for a soiree at Eglin Air Force Base. The military authorities saw fit to place a 60-man Coast Guard detachment at Grayton Beach for the purpose of patrolling the beach and watching for any enemy activity. In 1942 the government sequestered the Grayton store and cottages to use for housing and sustenance operations. The land north of the old Plank House was used for a stable to house the beach patrol's horses.
Grayton Beach is constantly changing. Storms rearrange the landscape, the lake opens and closes, people come, people go, buildings are built, buildings are torn down. What remains constant is people keep coming back year after year. It may get a little noisy here from time to time, but it's happy noise. It's the sound of good times and wonderful memories.