Lawton Mainor Chiles (April 3, 1930 – Dec 12, 1998) was Florida’s 41st Governor from 1991 until his death in office in the last month of his second term as governor. In a career spanning four decades, Chiles, a Democrat who never lost an election, served in the Florida House of Representatives, the Florida State Senate, & United States Senate.
“THE 1,003-MILE WALK”: In 1970, Chiles decided to run for a seat in the United States Senate. At the time, despite his 12 years in the state legislature, he was largely unknown outside his Lakeland-based district. To generate some media coverage across the state, Chiles embarked upon a 1,003-mile, 91-day walk across Florida from Pensacola to Key West. The walk earned him the recognition he sought, as well as the nickname that would follow him throughout his political career– “Walkin’ Lawton”. Sometimes he walked alone, while other times he met ordinary Floridians along the way. In later years, Chiles recalled that the walk allowed him to see Florida’s natural beauty, as well as the state’s problems, with fresh eyes. After the walk, Chiles was elected easily.
You can find this “Walkin’ Lawton Chiles” sign recognizing his historic walk across Florida at Mile Marker 112.7 on US-1’s southbound lane on what’s called the 18-mile stretch and another at Mile Marker 98.0 northbound.