Cast Your Net

Jun 3, 2024 | Communities, Freeport, Walton & Beyond

Image of Grady Vinson Brown Sr casting a net

Grady Brown Park is named after a beloved local fisherman

By Wendy O. Dixon

Grady Brown Park, located on the north side of Choctawhatchee Bay at the Clyde B. Wells Bridge in Freeport, is a popular spot for boating, kayaking, paddle-boarding, canoeing, fishing and picnicking.

The park is named after Grady Vinson Brown Sr., a contractor turned full-time commercial fisherman who loved his spot on the bay. It’s thanks to his granddaughter, Hannah Brown, that his memory lives on at the park.

“He worked as a commercial fisherman, making a living to support his family,” Hannah says. “I always wanted to go watch him cast his net. So my grandmother said, ‘You’ve got to be in the truck on time.’ I’d hear that truck crank since they lived across the street from us, and I’d head out with them. I’d play in the rocks and find crabs. And my grandmother sat in the truck drinking a Dr. Pepper while he threw his net.” 

The park existed before it became the popular spot it is today. “Back when my grandparents got married, there was a restaurant,” Hannah says. “They had their wedding night dinner there.”

view of park waterfront

Grady was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and died in August of 2017.  As the county was remodeling the park, Hannah saw an opportunity. She jumped on a chance to petition the Walton County commissioners to get it named after her Paw Paw. A memorial stone at the park commemorates the beloved fisherman.

Memorial for Grady Brown

These days, you might spot Hannah casting her net at the park. “I’m down there once a week at the foot of the bridge,” she says. “Dad and my brothers still throw the net, too. It reminds me of the best childhood memories I will ever have.”


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