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Alachua

WILLIAM BARTRAM (1739-1823)
Location:N.E.Cholokka Blvd. County Road 25-A at N.E. Semin
County: Alachua
City: Micanopy
Description: The great quaker naturalist of Philadelphia made a long journey through the southeastern states in the 1770's collecting botanical specimens. In May, 1774, he visited the Seminole Chief, Cowkeeper, at the Indian village of Cuscowilla located near this spot. His book, "TRAVELS...", provided the earliest reliable account of North Florida landscape, flora, fauna and Indian life and his vivid images of local scenes inspired Coleridge, Wordsworth and Emerson.
DICKISON AND HIS MEN / JEFFERSON DAVIS' BAGGAGE
Location:S.R. 24. in Waldo on front of caboose in City Park
County: Alachua
City: Waldo
Description: Side 1: John Jackson Dickison (1816-1902), Florida's famous Civil War guerrilla leader, bivouacked at Camp Baker, south of here, during the closing weeks of the conflict. Dickison and his men became legendary figures. As Company H, Second Florida Cavalry, they engaged in skirmishes, raids, battles, scouting expeditions, and forced marches from the time of organization at Flotard's Pond, Marion County, in 1862, until the force was mustered out at Waldo on May 20, 1865. Side 2: On June 15, 1865, a detachment of Union soldiers under Captain O.E. Bryant seized personal baggage belonging to Confederate President Jefferson Davis and some of the Confederate government's records in a house near this site. The trunks and papers were hidden first at Senator David Levy Yulee's plantation, "Cottonwood" between Archer and Gainesville. The baggage was moved to Waldo and placed in care of the railroad agent.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials in Cooperation with Seaboard Air Line Railroad Company
CITY OF GAINESVILLE
Location:200 East University Avenue, between 1st St.NE & 3rd St.NE, Gainesville City Hall
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Designated the County Seat in 1854, and incorporated as a City in 1869, Gainesville takes its name from General Edmund Gaines, captor of Aaron Burr and commander of U.S. Army troops in Florida during the Second Seminole War. The town was the fourth Alachua County Seat of government. The University of Florida and its educational predecessors have been located in Gainesville since the 1850's.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
FIRST GAINESVILLE SKIRMISH / BATTLE OF GAINESVILLE
Location:200 East University Avenue, between 1st St.NE & 3rd St.NE, Gainesville City Hall
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Side 1: The first Civil War gunfire in Gainesville's streets came on February 15, 1864, when a raiding party of 50 men from the 40th Massachusetts Cavalry entered the City to attempt the capture of two trains. The raid was unproductive, for the Federal troops were met and repulsed by the Second Florida Cavalry at what is now Main Street at University Avenue. Five days later, the main Federal force was defeated at the battle of Olustee, 50 miles to the north. Side 2: A Civil War battle was fought in Gainesville on August 17, 1864, when about 300 occupying Federal Troops were attacked by Florida Cavalry under Captain J.J. Dickison, called "Florida's most conspicuous soldier." The Federals were driven from the City after a brisk fight and suffered severe casualties during hard pursuit, which ended in victory for the Confederate force.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
SPANISH CATTLE RANCHING
Location:E. University Ave near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Garden
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Present-day Gainesville was the center of a large Spanish cattle ranching industry, founded on the labor of native Timuqua Indians, during the 1600s. LaChua, largest of the ranches, was a Spanish corruption of an Indian word, and in turn was corrupted into "Alachua County." English raids destroyed the Indian civilization and Spanish ranches, although large wild herds of cattle were not uncommon during Seminole War years (1835-1842).
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
EAST FLORIDA SEMINARY
Location:200 East University Avenue, between 1st St.NE & 3rd St.NE, Gainesville City Hall
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Founded as the Gainesville Academy before the Civil War and later renamed, the East Florida Seminary served Gainesville's need for higher education until the University of Florida was created bythe Florida Legislature in 1905. The Seminary school building, erected after an earlier structure burned in 1833, was converted to use as a fellowship hall by the First Methodist Church, at 419 N.E. 1st Avenue.
Sponsors: Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials
ALACHUA COUNTY COURTHOUSE
Location:Corner of Main (SR 329) & SE 1st St.
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: The Alachua County Commission, by authority of the Florida Legislature, selected this site for a courthouse in 1854, moving the county seat from Newnansville. The first courthouse was a frame building completed in 1856. It was demolished on the completion of a red brick courthouse in 1886. The current building, completed in 1958, and its 1962 addition, were erected in response to the continuing expansion of governmental needs in Alachua County.
Sponsors: Alachua County Historical Commission, Authorized by the Board of County Commissioners in Cooperation with Department of State
FORT CLARKE
Location:W. of city on S.R. 26, on grounds of Ft. Clark Chu
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Near this site was located Fort Clarke, originally a U.S. Army post during the Seminole War, and afterwards a settlement. The name is preserved in nearby Fort Clarke Church. At this site crossed the early settlement and military road connecting the old county seats at Newnansville (near present-day Alachua) and Spring Grove with Micanopy. Fort Clarke was named for a U.S. Army officer.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Alachua County Historical Commission, Authorized by The Board of County Commissioners In Cooperation With Department of State
ARCHER, FLORIDA
Location:16870 SW 134th Ave City Hall grounds
County: Alachua
City: Archer
Description: Side 1: When Europeans first arrived in this area in the 16th century, the inhabitants were Timucuan Indians. In 1774, traveling botanist William Bartram visited Seminole Indians nearby. In the 1850's a town called Deer Hammock was established here, probably in anticipation of the construction of the Florida Railroad from Fernandina to Cedar Key. Upon completion of the railroad to Deer Hammock in 1859, the name of the town was changed in honor of James T. Archer, Florida's Secretary of State 1845-49 and advocate of internal improvements. The Archer post office was established the same year. In May, 1865, the remnants of the Confederate treasury, removed from captured Richmond and conveyed by baggage train into Florida, were hidden at Cotton Wood, the Archer plantation of David Yulee, just prior to Union seizure at Waldo. Side 2: In the contested presidential election of 1876, the votes of the Archer precinct for the Republican candidate were among those challenged but allowed to stand, thus securing the victory of Rutherford B. Hayes over Samuel J. Tilden. The town of Archer was incorporated in 1878. Among new arrivals in the 1880's were Quakers who planted extensive orange groves using avenues of oaks as windbreaks. The freezes of 1886 and 1894-95 killed the orange trees, but the oaks survived to shade the city streets. Archer's oldest surviving industry is the Maddox Foundry, established in 1905 by H. Maddox and operated by his descendants.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Alachua County Historical Commission In Cooperation With Department of State
CITY OF ALACHUA
Location:15100 NW 142nd Terrace
County: Alachua
City: Alachua
Description: Upon completion to Gainesville of the Savannah, Florida and Western Railway in May 1884, citizens from the former county seat at Newnansville were among those who moved to the present site of Alachua which was near the railroad. The city is located in a productive farming area. The Bellamy Road, a national highway from St. Augustine to Pensacola authorized in 1824, originally passed near the northeast city boundary. The post office was established April 30, 1887. The city was incorporated April 12, 1905.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Alachua County Historical Commission In Cooperation With Department of State
NEWBERRY, FLORIDA
Location:25440 W Newberry Road
County: Alachua
City: Newberry
Description: Side 1: Only after about 1870 did phosphates become an important world industry. In Alachua County, phosphates were discovered late in the 1870's, but as in other regions of Florida, the major developments in phosphate mining and processing began about 1889. The western part of Alachua County contained the major local deposits of rock phosphates Mines began to spring up after 1890, and by 1893, the Savannah, Florida, and Western Railway, already active in the area, extended its tracks southward from High Springs through the phosphate producing territory. Side 2: As a result of the mining activity and the appearance of the railroad, a new settlement appeared. A post office was established on March 19, 1894, under the name of Newtown; on August 1, the name was changed to Newberry. Most probably the new name was intended to honor Newberry, South Carolina, as many people had moved to North Florida from that town in the nineteenth century. The town of Newberry was incorporated in 1895. Phosphates continued to be the area's most important industry until the events of World War I reduced the market for the mineral. The region was later noted for its watermelon production and for other agricultural crops.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Alachua County Historical Commission In Cooperation With Department of State
HAWTHORNE, FLORIDA
Location:N. Johnston St. between 65th Ave and SE 66th Ave
County: Alachua
City: Hawthorne
Description: Side 1: In 1774, noted botanist William Bartram travelled across what is now the southeastern corner of Alachua County following an old Indian and trading trail. In Florida's territorial period, English-speaking settlers used the same route as a frontier road. By 1840, another road from the north crossed that trail near present day Hawthorne. In 1848, Morrison had begun to operate a mill there on what Bartram had described as a "rapid brook." A United States post office called Morrison's Mills was established at that site in 1853 in order to serve the increasing population of the area. Side 2: In 1879, the Peninsular Railroad was completed from Waldo to Ocala, bypassing Morrison's Mills. In that year, a new town grew up nearer the railroad. This village was at first called Jamestown, but in 1880, the name was changed to Hawthorne. Both names were in honor of James M. Hawthorne, a local landowner. In 1881, the Florida Southern Railway was completed from Palatka to Gainesville, crossing the Peninsular Railroad at Hawthorne. In the 1880's the community there was also known unofficially as Wait's Crossing in reference to another family living in the area. In 1883, a stone quarry near Hawthorne became the site of Florida's earliest phosphate mill. The mill was operated for two years by Dr. C. A. Simmons, who in 1879 had been the first person to recognize phosphate in Florida. However, the most important resources of the Hawthorne area have been its agricultural and forestry products such as sea island cotton and turpentine.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Alachua County Historical Commission In Cooperation With Department of State
WALDO
Location:S.W. 5th Blvd.(east bound SR24) at S.W. 2nd Way in
County: Alachua
City: Waldo
Description: The first permanent English-speaking settlers came to the northeast portion of Alachua County in the 1820's. In 1837, during the Second Seminole War, an army post, Fort Harlee, was established on the Santa Fe River about three miles north of this spot. Abandoned as a military installation in 1838, the settlement at Fort Harlee served as a postal center for the surrounding community until 1858. In that year a post office was established at a town being founded at the point where the Florida Railroad (then under construction) would cross the Bellamy Road. This new town was named Waldo in honor of Dr. Benjamin Waldo. The name was probably selected by David Levy Yulee, president of the Florida Railroad. By February 1, 1859, the Florida Railroad was completed through Waldo to Gainesville. The Peninsular Railroad, planned as early as 1859 to run from Waldo to Tampa, was completed to Ocala in 1881. Both roads were part of the Florida Transit Railway. Waldo had become an important rail junction and continued to be until the shops and headquarters were moved beginning in 1929. Another transportation link was established in 1879 when the Santa Fe Canal Company completed construction of two canals from Waldo to Melrose via Lake Alto and Lake Santa Fe. In the late 19th century the steamboat "F.S. Lewis" and later the "Alert" carried passengers and freight. Commercial use of the canals declined around 1920, but they continue to be used by pleasure craft. Waldo citizens met in 1876 and organized a municipal government. The town was incorporated August 1, 1907. Many settlers and tourists came to Waldo in the 1880's, reflecting the growth of the citrus industry in North Florida. The freezes of 1886 and 1894-95 ruined the citrus groves in the Waldo area, but the region has remained an agriculturally productive one.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Alachua County Historical Commission In Cooperation With Department of State
HIGH SPRINGS, FLORIDA
Location:110 Northwest 1st Avenue
County: Alachua
City: High Springs
Description: The northwest region of Alachua County was probably first settled on a permanent basis by English speaking people during the late 1830's. One of the earliest settlements `in the vicinity was a Crockett Springs, located about three miles east of present day High Springs. Settlers who were living there during the 1840's included Fernando Underwood and Marshal Blanton. No town developed in the area before the latter part of the nineteenth century. In 1884, the Savannah, Florida, and Western Railroad was extended from Live Oak to Gainesville. A post office and station were established here in that year under the name of Santaffey, which was a common spelling of the name of the nearby Santa Fe River. The town was also known unofficially as Orion before the name was changed in 1880 to High Springs. In the next few years, High Springs boomed as a result of the development of phosphate mining in the area. In 1892, the town was incorporated. During the next year, the Savannah, Florida, and Western Railroad completed its South Florida Division which connected High Springs with Port Tampa. By the beginning of the twentieth century, High Springs was known as an important railroad center. In later years, High Springs has been the focus for the surrounding agricultural region.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Alachua County Historical Commission In Cooperation With Department of State
HAWTHORNE, FLORIDA
Location:218th Street near Gainesville Hawthorn Trail
County: Alachua
City: Hawthorne
Description: Side 1: In 1774, noted botanist William Bartram travelled across what is now the southeastern corner of Alachua County following an old Indian and trading trail. In Florida's territorial period, English-speaking settlers used the same route as a frontier road. By 1840, another road from the north crossed that trail near present day Hawthorne. In 1848, Morrison had begun to operate a mill there on what Bartram had described as a "rapid brook." A United States post office called Morrison's Mills was established at that site in 1853 in order to serve the increasing population of the area. Side 2: In 1879, the Peninsular Railroad was completed from Waldo to Ocala, bypassing Morrison's Mills. In that year, a new town grew up nearer the railroad. This village was at first called Jamestown, but in 1880, the name was changed to Hawthorne. Both names were in honor of James M. Hawthorn, a local landowner. In 1881, the Florida Southern Railway was completed from Palatka to Gainesville, crossing the Peninsular Railroad at Hawthorne. In the 1880's the community there was also known unofficially as Wait's Crossing in reference to another family living in the area. In 1883, a stone quarry near Hawthorne became the site of Florida's earliest phosphate mill. The mill was operated for two years by Dr. C. A. Simmons, who in 1879 had been the first person to recognize phosphate in Florida. However, the most important resources of the Hawthorne area have been its agricultural and forestry products such as sea island cotton and turpentine.
Sponsors: Sponsored by Alachua County Historical Commission In Cooperation With Department of State
HOGTOWN SETTLEMENT / FORT HOGTOWN
Location:West Side park on corner of 34th St. and 8th Ave.
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Side 1: Near this site was located Hogtown, one of the earliest settlements in Alachua County. It was originally an Indian village which in 1824 had fourteen inhabitants. Hogtown settlement is also mentioned in documents of the early nineteenth century which discuss land grants issued by the Spanish crown during the Second Spanish Period in Florida's history (1783-1821). In the late 1820's Hogtown became a white settlement as American pioneers occupied Indian land from which the Seminoles had been removed by the terms of the Treaty of Moultrie Creek. In 1854, the town of Gainesville was founded on a site located a few miles east of Hogtown. Side 2: During the Second Seminole War (1835-42), a settler's fort was built at the Hogtown settlement near this site. Shortly before the onset of that war, men from the Hogtown settlement and from Spring Grove, a community located about four miles to the west, organized a volunteer company of mounted riflemen, the Spring Grove Guards. Spring Grove was at that time the seat of justice in Alachua county (1832-1839). For several months, members of the Guards periodically paraded and patrolled the countryside to protect the inhabitants against Indians. The fort at Hogtown was one of more than a dozen Second Seminole War forts located in or near present-day Alachua County.
Sponsors: sponsored by alachua county historical commission in cooperation with department of state
NEWNANSVILLE TOWN SITE
Location:Northeast of Alachua on S.R. 235. between Hipp Way and NW 12st Terrace
County: Alachua
City: Alachua
Description: At the end of 1824, Alachua County was organized as a political unit of the new Territory of Florida. The Seminole inhabitants of the Alachua region had recently been ordered to a reservation, and land was available there for white settlers. Early in 1826, a post office was established in this area called "Dell's P.O." It derived its name from the Dell brothers, who had first visited the Alachua region during the "Patriot War" (1812-14) and had later returned to settle there. In 1828, the settlement near Dell's P.O. was officially made the Alachua County seat and named "Newnansville" in honor of a Patriot War hero, Daniel Newnan. Newnansville became the junction of several important trails through frontier Florida. This marker stands on the site of the Bellamy Road, a cross-Florida route authorized by Congress in 1824 as the first federal road in the new territory. During the Second Seminole War (1835-42), hundreds of displaced refugee settlers were sheltered at Newnansville and also at Ft. Gilleland, a nearby military post built in 1836. After the hostilities were concluded, Newnansville prospered as a commercial center for the expanding Middle Florida frontier. The chief products of the area were corn, cotton, and after the Civil War, citrus. Except for a few years between 1832 and 1839, Newnansville served as the Alachua County seat until 1854. In that year, the political center of the county was moved to the new railroad town of Gainesville. During the next three decades, Newnansville slowly declined in population and importance. The community was dealt a final blow in 1884 when the Savannah, Florida and Western Railroad bypassed it. A new town, Alachua, grew up near that railroad. As the years passed, the residents of Newnansville moved there or elsewhere. By the 1970's only a few traces remained of the former community. In 1974, the Newnansville Town Site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as an historic district in recognition of the importance of that nineteenth century community.
Sponsors: sponsored by alachua county historical commission in cooperation with department of state
LaCROSSE, FLORIDA
Location:Near junction of S.R. 121 & S.R. 235.
County: Alachua
City: LaCrosse
Description: The LaCrosse area was settled before the Civil War. Cotton was the chief crop. John Eli Futch was a cotton buyer who built a warehouse for cotton, a store to serve the growers, and his home near the store. This store became the first post office and Mrs. Futch named the town LaCrosse. The post office was established April 22, 1881, and the town incorporated December 17, 1897. Before the boll weevil ended the cotton era, LaCrosse had two cotton gins and grist mills. Naval stores was also a prominent industry until this activity ended in the 1940s. The town was a shipping point for potatoes for many years and had a large cooper's shed which built barrels for shipping the potatoes by rail from a depot here. It is still an important farming area, producing corn, vegetables, tobacco and livestock.
Sponsors: sponsored by alachua county historical commission in cooperation with department of state
THE BAILEY HOUSE
Location:1121 NW 6th Street
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: This is one of the oldest houses in the city of Gainesville. It was constructed about 1850 by Major James B. Bailey, a prominent citizen of Alachua County. Bailey was a leading proponent of moving the county seat away from Newnansville to a new place, later known as Gainesville, part of which was to be located on his own plantation. The Bailey House was entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Although it has been slightly altered during its existence, Major Bailey's house survives as a good example of the Antebellum domestic architecture of this area.
Sponsors: sponsored by the bailey house in cooperation with department of state
MADISON STARKE PERRY
Location:C.R. 234, on grounds of Oak Ridge Cemetery
County: Alachua
City: Alachua City: Hague
Description: Madison Starke Perry, born in Lancaster County, S.C., moved to Alachua County, Florida and became a prosperous planter. His plantation was located about six miles east of Gainesville in the area of present-day Rochelle. Perry was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1849 and to the Florida Senate in 1850, where he gained a wide reputation as an orator. A Democrat, he was elected fourth Governor of Florida, serving from 1857 through 1861. While Perry was Governor, major developments occurred in Florida. The Florida Railroad from Fernandina to Cedar Key was completed. A long-standing border dispute with Georgia was settled. Expansion of slavery brought related unrest, and in response, Governor Perry called for a strong state militia and the upgrading of military resources. As the Presidential election of 1860 neared, Governor Perry warned that secession might be Florida's only option, should the Republican Party be victorious. On November 27, 1860, Governor Perry recommended that a convention by called to consider secession. The Florida Convention adopted the Ordinance of Secession on January 10, 1861. The Governor quickly ordered evacuation of all United States troops from Florida military installations, and their replacement by State militia troops. At the expiration of his term as Governor in October, 1861, Perry joined the Confederate army. He was soon elected Colonel of the newly organized Seventh Regiment of the Florida infantry. Illness forced his resignation in 1863. Returning to his plantation in Alachua County, he died in 1865. Perry is buried here at Oak Ridge Cemetery on land he set aside in 1854 for the community. Buried here with him are his wife, Martha Starke Perry; a daughter Sallie Perry; and a son, Madison Starke Perry, Jr., also a Confederate veteran.
Sponsors: sponsored by the alachua county historical commissionin cooperation with the department of state
THE LAW SCHOOL MOUND
Location:University of Florida Law School grounds, near the interestion of SW 25th St. and 2nd Ave
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: 100 yards west is an aboriginal burial mound built ca. A.D. 1000 by Alachua tradition peoples, ancestors of the Potano Indians who lived in Alachua County in the 16th and 17th centuries. Initially several individuals were buried in a central grave, and a small earthen mound was raised over them. Through time additional burials were laid on the mound's surface and covered with earth. The villagers who built the mound probably lived along the shore of Lake Alice. Well before the mound was built, people of the Deptford Culture, 500 B.C. to A.D. 100, camped on this same location. The remains of their campsite were covered by the mound. First dug in 1881 by a local Gainesville resident, the mound and earlier campsite were excavated by Florida State Museum archaeologists and students in 1976.
Sponsors: sponsored by the university of florida law center association in cooperation with the department of state
HISTORY OF EVINSTON, FLORIDA / EVINSTON COMMUNITY STORE AND POST OFFICE
Location:18320 Southeast County Road 225
County: Alachua
City: Evinston
Description: The community of Evinston, Florida, situated on the Alachua-Marion County border, is part of the Spanish Arredondo Grant of 1817. A grant for this land was received from Arrendondo by N. Brush who later sold two sections to the Evins family of South Carolina. Captain W. D. Evins, of this family, had large land holdings here west of Orange Lake, and gave the right of way for the narrow gauge Florida Southern Railroad in 1882. The station was given the name Evinston and the depot was built in 1884. At that time the present country store and post office were established. The community once consisted of two other stores, a schoolhouse, 3 churches, a blacksmith shop, 2 packing houses and a grist mill. This area was known for orange groves until the 1890's freezes. Agricultural crops and cattle were and are still raised here. In 1956, the depot was moved and the railroad discontinued passenger service. Freight service continued until the tracks were removed in 1982. The community park was established in 1909 by J.L. Wolfenden, W.P. Shettleworth and F.B. Hester and continues to serve as a pleasure to the residents, many of whom are direct descendants of the original families. The Evinston community store, originally a warehouse, was built of heart pine in 1884 by W.P. Shettleworth. it was bought by Joseph Wolfenden, who first operated it as a store. The post office, established in 1882 was later moved into the building. The present store sits 100 feet south of its original location. It was moved in 1956 because of road paving. Located across from the railroad depot, it was a meeting place then as now. Numerous owners managed the store through the turn of the century. In 1909 H.D. Wood and Robert Evins bought the store. The later partnership of Wood and Swink, in 1934, is still indicated on the store front. Fred Wood became postmaster of Evinston in 1934 and served for 44 years, longer than any other postmaster in Florida. Still containing original post office boxes and equipment, this is one of the few remaining country store-post offices. In 1977, the country store was used as a set for the movie adaptation of Marjorie Rawlings' short story Gal Young'un.
Sponsors: sponsored by the alachua county historical commissionin cooperation with the department of state
DAVID YULEE and COTTON WOOD PLANTATION
Location:16994 SW 134th Ave
County: Alachua
City: Archer
Description: David Levy Yulee was born at St. Thomas, West Indies, in 1810. He attended school in Virginia from 1819 until 1827 when he went to Micanopy to work on one of the plantations of his father, Moses Elias Levy. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1836. His time was divided between the practice of law and agriculture. Yulee was elected to the Florida Constitutional Convention at St. Joseph in 1838. He was a delegate to Congress from the Territory of Florida from 1841-45 and spearheaded the drive for statehood. In 1845, he was chosen as the first U.S. Senator from Florida and was the first Jew, in the United States, to be elected to the U.S. Senate. Defeated for reelection in 1851, Yulee was again elected to the Senate in 1855. In the Senate he served as chairman of the committees on naval affairs and on post offices and post roads. Yulee served in the U.S. Senate until he resigned upon the secession of Florida in 1861. While serving as territorial delegate, Yulee obtained a railroad survey of Florida and was one of the first railroad promoters in the South. In 1853 he incorporated the Florida Railroad which, when completed in 1860, passed through Archer, connecting Fernandina and Cedar Key. Long an advocate of the Southern movement and secession, Yulee supported Florida's entry into the Confederacy. However, he chose not to pursue elective office and devoted time to his plantations and his railroad. He was at odds with Confederate authorities who wanted to use materials from his railroad for more vital lines. Cotton Wood Plantation, located about one mile northeast of this site, was the home of Yulee during the War Between the States. Upon the fall of the Confederacy, personal baggage of President Jefferson Davis and part of the Confederate treasury, reached Cotton Wood, under armed guard, on May 22, 1865. Following the war, Yulee was imprisoned at Ft. Pulaski, at Savannah, until Gen. U.S. Grant intervened for his release in March of 1866. Yulee sold his holdings in Florida and moved to Washington, D.C. in 1880. He died in 1886 and was buried at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. Originally known as David Levy, he had his name changed by an act of the Florida Legislature in 1845.
Sponsors: sponsored by the alachua county historical commission in cooperation with the florida department of state
JOSIAH T. WALLS
Location:University Avenue, between NW 1st Street and NW 2nd St.
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Born in 1842 to slave parents in Winchester, Va., little is known of Josiah T. Walls' early life. After a short term of Confederate service, he enlisted in the Third Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops in 1863. Transferred to Picolata on the St. Johns River in 1864, he married Helen Ferguson of Newnansville and in 1865 moved to Alachua County after he was mustered out. After passage of the U.S. Military Reconstruction Act of 1867, Walls entered into Florida politics; as a delegate to the 1868 State constitutional convention, followed by election as a State representative and later senator from Alachua County. The 1870 nominee of the Republican Party for Florida's only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, Walls defeated Silas Niblack after a bitter contest, riddled with charges of fraud and intimidation. Josiah T. Walls thus became the State's first black congressman. Although unseated by the House near the end of his term, Walls was re-elected in 1872. In another contested election in 1874, Walls defeated J.J. Finley, a former Confederate General, but, in 1876, was again removed from office. Walls was elected to the Florida Senate that year. After 1879, Josiah Walls concentrated on his farming activities. He had first acquired land near Newnansville in 1868 but in 1870 had moved to Gainesville. In 1871 Walls bought for their home the western half of the block now bounded by University Avenue on the south and N.W. 2nd Street on the west. In 1873 he purchased a 1175 acre plantation on the west edge of Paynes Prairie. In that year he acquired the weekly newspaper, THE NEW ERA, and was admitted to the Florida Bar. Remaining active in local politics, Walls served at various times as mayor of Gainesville, a member of the Board of Public Instruction, and County Commissioner. A highly successful and prosperous farmer through the 1880's, he suffered financial ruin as a result of the severe freeze of the winter of 1894-95. Walls moved to Tallahassee to become the farm director at the school that is now Florida A. and M. University. He died in Tallahassee in 1905.
Sponsors: sponsored by the alachua county historical commissionin cooperation with the florida department of state
SANTA FE DE TOLOCA
Location:Northern Alachua County C. R. 241 just after NW 294 Ave.
County: Alachua
City: Bland
Description: A Spanish Mission was established near here within sight of the Santa Fe River about A.D. 1606 by Franciscan missionaries. The river took its name from the mission, as did the modern town of Santa Fe. At one time, Santa Fe de Toloca was said to be the principal Timucuan Indian mission in a chain that stretched across the interior of la Florida from St. Augustine on the east coast. during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, la Florida was a battleground where England, France, and Spain fought for control of the New World. This was part of a greater struggle between Old and New World cultures that began with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Archaeological investigations between 1986 and 1989, by the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida, have revealed traces of a Spanish-style church, a cemetery with Indian burial in Christian fashion, traces of Indian village life, and fragments of seventeenth century Spanish and Indian pottery. The Indians at Santa Fe provisioned the Castillo de San Marcos and the town of St. Augustine with their crops of corn, wheat, and probably peaches, which they carried in baskets strapped to their backs along the Old Spanish Trail. Produce and cattle were also boated down the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers to Cuba. Several generations of Timucuans were born and died at this site. Everyday life centered on tending their gardens and studying Roman Catholic doctrine. Their routines were broken by visitations by the Bishop of Cuba, the Indian Rebellion of 1656, epidemics of disease introduced by Europeans, and the influx of other Indian groups. The mission church and village were attacked and burned in 1702 by invading English soldiers and their Indian allies from the Carolinas. The destruction of Santa Fe de Toloca, and the other missions of la Florida, weakened Spain's control and led, ultimately to Florida becoming a United States' possession in 1821. Santa Fe de Toloca was located at an existing Indian village. This may have been the same village visited by Hernando de Soto's army in 1539; a village called Cholupaha. This area was called "Bland" by its first and only postmaster, J.L. Matthews, who named it for his son in 1903.
Sponsors: The Alachua County Historical Commission in Cooperation with the Florida Department of State
MELROSE
Location:On S.R. 26 between Quail & Trout Sts.
County: Alachua
City: Melrose
Description: Side 1: The region south of Santa Fe Lake was not settled until after the Seminole War in 1842, although it was on the Spanish mission trail from St. Augustine from about 1600 to 1763 and, during the English (1763-1784) and second Spanish (1784-1821) periods, on the overland route to Pensacola. Florida's first Federal highway, the 1826 Bellamy road, followed about the same path. Many of the early landowners came from South Carolina and Georgia. After the decade of Reconstruction following the Civil War, an influx of new families came to the region, many to engage in planting orange groves, a few of which had been started in the 1850's. Because the route of the Florida Railroad, completed in 1861 and reorganized after the War, passed west of the region, the Santa Fe Canal Company was chartered in March of 1877 to open a waterway from the railroad in Waldo through Lake Alto to Santa Fe Lake. In May of 1877 Alexander Goodson, Isaac Weston, and Meridth Granger, platted a 30-block town site south of the little bay on the southeast side of Santa Fe Lake. The old Bellamy Road was the main east-west axis, with Centre Street, straddling the Alachua, Putnam, and Clay county border, as the north-south axis. Side 2: The origin of the town name, Melrose, is shrouded in conflicting legends. The canal linking Waldo to Santa Fe Lake was completed in March of 1881. The stern-wheel steamer, F.S. Lewis, built in Waldo, made its maiden voyage in April 1881. Northern visitors, who came to improve their health and invest in orange groves, built winter cottages or stayed at the boarding houses or the several hotels that catered to the winter tourists. The town soon had a number of general stores, a sawmill, cotton gin, livery stables, several churches, and a high school. The Western Railroad reached Melrose from Green Cove Springs in 1890. The town was then a thriving waterfront resort, lake port, and a horticultural and agricultural center. Devastated by the freezes of 1894-95, the citrus groves never recovered. Melrose became a quiet lakeside retreat for seasonal and week-end residents, with a small permanent population. In 1901 Melrose was incorporated but gave up its charter in 1917. Many of the nineteenth century homes and buildings still survive. The Melrose Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Sponsors: The Alachua County Historical Commission in Cooperation with the Florida Department of State
MATHESON HOUSE
Location:528 S.W. First Street, Matheson House grounds
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Side 1: The Matheson homestead dates from 1857, when Alexander Matheson brought his family from Camden, South Carolina to establish a home on the Sweetwater Branch at the eastern edge of the new town of Gainesville. The present one and a half story Matheson House is believed to incorporate much of the original one story home. Alexander moved his family back to South Carolina in the early years of the Civil War. After the war and settlement of a mortgage foreclosure, the property was acquired by his younger brother, James D. Matheson, who had served as an officer in the Seventh South Carolina Cavalry and surrendered at Appomatox. He moved into the home in 1867 with his new bride, Augusta Florida Steele, daughter of Judge Augustus Steele, founder of Cedar Key, and an influential Florida pioneer during the territorial and early statehood period. James, a prominent businessman and merchant, ran a successful dry goods store and engaged in other commercial enterprises. He was also a trustee of the East Florida Seminary and served on the Alachua County Commission from 1895 to 1899. Elected County Treasurer in 1909, he held that office until his death in 1911. Side 2: By 1907, James and Augusta had enlarged their home, adding the second floor bedrooms, the distinctive gambrel roof and gabled dormers, a first floor sitting room, and enclosing part of the back porch. Their son, Christopher, born in 1874, continued to live here after completing his education at the East Florida Seminary and the Citadel. He established a law practice in 1900, and served as mayor of Gainesville from 1910 to 1917 and in the Florida Legislature in 1917 and 1919. Ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1919, he left his law practice to serve the ministry in Oklahoma for the next 26 years. During this time the house was rented to various tenants. On his retirement in 1946, he returned home with his wife, Sarah Hamilton Matheson. She maintained her residence here after his death in 1952, and in 1989 donated the property to the Matheson Historical Center, Inc. The evolution of the Matheson House from a modest, mid-19th century farm house to its early 20th century appearance reflects the increasing prosperity of its owners in a growing community. It is preserved today as a reminder of their accomplishments and of those other early residents of Gainesville.
Sponsors: The Alachua County Historical Commission in Cooperation with the Florida Department of State
ROCHELLE VICINITY
Location:CR 234 and CR 2082 along the Hawthorne/Gainesville Trail
County: Alachua
City: Rochelle
Description: Side 1: Colonel Daniel Newnan led a troop of the Georgia militia on a raid into the area in September 1812 in an attempt to annex Florida to the United States in the War of 1812. The raiders engaged a force of Seminole Indians under the command of Seminole chief King Payne. Several soldiers and Indians were killed in the fierce battle, including King Payne. Ft. Crane, named for Lt. Colonel Ichabod Crane, Commander of the U.S. Army District of Northeast Florida, was built in January 1837 during the Second Seminole War. It was located just south of Rochelle and was commanded by Lt. John H. Winder, who later served in the Mexican War. By the 1840s settlers had moved into the area from South Carolina and Georgia. The Perry, Rochelle, Tillman and Zetrouer families were among the earliest arrivals. Early roads in the area were heavily travelled by settlers and the military. One important route linked St. Augustine with Newnansville, located about 16 miles northwest of this marker. Union troops passed near this site in August 1864 enroute to Gainesville, where they were defeated by Confederate cavalry led by Capt. J.J. Dickison. Side 2: The community of Rochelle, located about one mile south of this marker, was first called Perry Junction and grew up around the site of the plantation of Madison Starke Perry, Governor of Florida 1857-61. In 1854, Perry had donated land for Oak Ridge Cemetery, located between Rochelle and Micanopy. Perry and many pioneer families from the area are buried there. The town was renamed Gruelle in 1881 and changed to Rochelle in 1884 in honor of the parents of Gov. Perry's wife, Martha Perry. Rochelle became a hub of the Florida Southern Railway in 1882 and later lay on the main line of the Plant Railway System, being a daily stopover between Jacksonville and St. Petersburg. By 1888 twenty-four trains a day passed through the community of about 100 residents. Rochelle became a citrus center, but the Great Freeze of 1894-95 destroyed the citrus crop, causing many of the inhabitants to leave. Today only a few buildings remain as reminders of the once thriving settlement. One of these is the Rochelle School (Martha Perry Institute), constructed in 1885, which served the community until 1935. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
Sponsors: THE ALACHUA COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
RAILROADING IN HIGH SPRINGS
Location:20 NW Railroad Ave., in front of High Springs
County: Alachua
City: High Springs
Description: This old passenger depot, built c. 1910, is all that remains of the vast railroad complex located southwest of downtown that made High Springs a bustling railroad center for nearly 50 years. In 1895 the Plant Railroad System chose the town as the site of its divisional headquarters. Rail yards, workshops, and a roundhouse serviced hundreds of steam engines and cars sent to High Springs to be cleaned and repaired. The importance of High Springs as a rail center declined as diesel engines replaced the old steam locomotives after World War II. Gradually, all of the railroad buildings disappeared, except the depot, which was moved to this site and renovated as a railroad museum in 1994.
Sponsors: Sponsored by the Florida Department of State
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA HISTORIC CAMPUS
Location:Near corner of University & 13th
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: The University of Florida Campus Historic District and two individual campus buildings were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and 1990 in recognition of their architectural and cultural significance and the coherence of the campus plan. The buildings were designed by architects William A. Edwards from 1905 to 1924 and Rudolph Weaver from 1925 to 1939 in the Collegiate Gothic style. The landscape plan was developed in 1926 by Olmsted Brothers, the firm that designed New York's Central Park. The historic campus reflects the university's rich heritage and the significant place it holds in Florida's educational history.
Sponsors: The Florida Department of State
CITY OF NEWBERRY HISTORIC DISTRICT
Location:25440 W Newberry Road
County: Alachua
City: Newberry
Description: The discovery of hard rock phosphate in Alachua County in 1889 sparked the appearance of boom towns wherever large deposits of the mineral were found. Incorporated in 1894, Newberry thrived until 1914 when the onset of World War I forced the mines to close. The mines did not reopen after the war, causing the economy of the town to collapse and forcing many residents to leave. The buildings in Newberry's historic district reflect the boom town atmosphere of small mining communities founded in Florida at end of the 19th century. The district was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
Sponsors: The Florida Department of State
JESSE JOHNSON FINLEY
Location:401 Se 21st Ave, Evergreen Cemetery
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Jesse Johnson Finley was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, November 18, 1812 and educated in Lebanon, Tennessee. After service as a captain in the Seminole War of 1836, he studied law and was admitted to the bar. During a ten year period he served in the Florida and Mississippi legislatures and as mayor of Memphis, Tennessee. He was elevated to the Florida bench in 1853 and was appointed Confederate district judge for the state in 1861 but soon promoted to colonel of the 6th Florida Infantry, where he participated in the Kentucky campaign under General Kirby-Smith and at Chickamauga. Commissioned as brigadier general in November 1863, he was assigned to command of Florida infantry regiments in the Army of Tennessee, where he led his brigade with great credit in the Chattanooga and Atlanta campaigns. Twice severely wounded, he was incapacitated for further field duty after the battle of Jonesboro. After the war, he served parts of three contested terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in 1887 was appointed by the governor to serve in the U.S. Senate in anticipation of a resignation which did not occur. He had served in all three branches of government, with service at the local, state, and national level. This service was rendered in three states. He dies in Lake City on November 6, 1904 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery. His son, Samuel Y. Finley, elected as Gainesville's first mayor in 1869, is also buried here.
THOMAS GILBERT PEARSON 1873-1943
Location:Corner of US 41 and SW 137th Ave
County: Alachua
City: Archer
Description: Thomas Gilbert Pearson was an ornithologist, college professor, and world leader of the bird preservation movement. Pearson grew up in Archer, where he collected bird skins and eggs and taught himself ornithology to pay for his schooling at Guilford College in North Carolina. Pearson donated his collection to the college museum and served as curator. He taught at Guilford and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He joined the American Orinthologists' Union, which initiated the Audubon movement to protect the nation's rapidly declining bird populations. He founded and directed the Audubon Society of North Carolina, the South's first state wildlife commission. He served successively as secretary and president of what is now the National Audubon Society. The Audubon movement changed public attitudes toward birds, and was instrumental in obtaining government action that saved millions of birds and brought several species back from the verge of extinction. The movement also helped lay the foundation for a global effort to save the earth's diverse biological systems. Pearson is buried in Greensboro, North Carolina. His parents and brother are buried in Archer.
Sponsors: Alachua County Historical Commission, City of Archer Alachua Historical Society, and Alachua County Commission and the Florida Department of State
GAINESVILLE'S RAILROADS
Location:Corner NW 3rd Ave. & 6th St.
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: The coming of the Florida Railroad opened up the interior of Florida for both settlement and trading and helped establish Gainesville. On February 1, 1859 the Florida Railroad entered town and connected Fernandina Beach with Cedar Key by 1861. Built from the northeast along what is now Waldo Road, the rails crossed 13th Street at Archer Road, and continued southwest along Archer Road to Cedar Key. The 19th century Florida roads were sandy, swampy and nearly impassible, so early rail access to two ports dramatically increased Gainesville's prosperity. Railroads provided transportation for outgoing agricultural products and brought in the region's first tourists, creating a demand for hotels, restaurants and other services. As the demand for North Central Florida agriculture grew at the turn of the 20th century, more railroads crisscrossed the region. The last railroad passenger service in Gainesville ended in 1971. The Atlantic Coast Line (ACL) Railroad built a modern depot in 1948 rerouting its trains from Main Street downtown to tracks on Northwest 6th Street. The ACL depot is presently part of the downtown campus of Santa Fe Community College. Gainesville's first railroad, the Florida Railroad, was started in 1859. In 1881, the Florida Southern Railroad reached town from Palatka, Hawthorne and Rochelle, entering at South Main Street from Hawthorne Road and running the length of Main Street to 8th Aveenue. A route from Rochelle provided service to Ocala. Three years later, the Savannah, Florida & Western Railroad linked to these tracks, providing service through Alachua to Waycross, Georgia. The two lines merged in 1902, becoming the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, providing service from Tampa Bay to New York. ACL trains ran in the middle of Main Street stopping for passengers to use the city's hotels. In 1895, the Gainesville and Gulf Railroad built a line to Micanopy along NW 6th Street. By 1899, the rails reached south past Fairfield to Emathala and north to Sampson City. The Gainesville and Gulf was sold in 1906 and renamed the Tampa and Jacksonville or T&J. In 1900, the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL) was established and acquired the old Florida Railroad right-of-way through Gainesville. When the SAL bought the T&J in 1926, it was renamed the Jacksonville, Gainesville & Gulf. This line was abandoned in 1943.
Sponsors: ALACHUA COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION ANDD THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
ROPER PARK/OLD CITY PARK
Location:No. of NE 4th Ave, W o fNE 2nd
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Roper Park is the original site of the parade grounds (in front of this site) and barracks (behind this site) for the East Florida Seminary, a non-sectarian educational institute and a forerunner of the University of Florida. James H. Roper (1835-1883) moved to Gainesville in 1856 and founded the first school, the Gainesville Academy. The Gainesville Academy moved to this site in 1857. Roper, a member of the State Senate in 1865-66 and the Board of Education, engineered the relocation of the East Florida Seminary to Gainesville by donating his school’s building and site in 1866. He was the president for the first two years. The barracks for the East Florida Seminary were built on this site in 1886. The two-story frame building had a double veranda along the south side, and a two-story porch surrounded an open courtyard in its center. Out-of-town students lived in 45 rooms that contained two iron beds with moss mattresses and feather pillows, a study table, a washstand, and a stove. The City of Gainesville purchased the block in 1906. In 1907, Gainesville’s mayor bought the barracks and added them to the nearby White House Hotel.
Sponsors: THE CITY OF GAINESVILLE AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
TURPENTINE INDUSTRY
Location:SR 24, No. Fairbanks
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Side 1: The naval stores industry was important to maritime power worldwide. Pine tar and pitch were used to seal wooden ships and protect sails and rigging. When settlers came to America - in Florida (1565), in Virginia (1607) and in Massachusetts (1620) - they found vast pine forests with resinous tar and pitch, a scarce commodity for European competitors with wooden fleets. Settlers at first produced pine pitch and tar by distilling resin-soaked fat pine wood from dead tree logs, limbs and knots, covering them with soil and burning them to yield tar and charcoal. After fat pine wood became scarce, pitch was made by chopping deep cavities or boxes near the base of living trees to collect gum. Only crude gum was exported until simple distillation techniques separated volatile turpentine from the residual rosin poured hot into barrels for domestic use or export. During the next three hundred years, with little change, this forest product industry prospered, first in the Carolinas, then Georgia and Florida to become a major U.S. industry. Production of gum was greatly accelerated and tree life protected when the Herty clay cups, introduced in early 1900’s, replaced cut boxes. Side 2: From 1909 until 1923, Florida led the nation in pine gum production. In 1909, the peak year in the U.S.A. gum yielded 750,000 barrels of turpentine and 2.5 million barrels of rosin. The 1910 census listed 27,2ll men and 3l6 women, mostly blacks, working in the industry with 65 percent in Florida. Fairbanks, Florida was a turpentine still town with the Mize family operation processing ten 50-gallon barrels of crude gum at a time. This still required six crops of 10,000 faces (an area where streaks of bark are removed) and each crop covered 400 acres. As recently as 1951, 105 fire stills operated around Gainesville. The Mize family operated the Fairbanks still until 1950. Many of the buildings (the cooper’s shed, machine shop and worker homes) still stand. Ellis Mize (1882-1967) donated land with a lake bearing his name to the University of Florida’s forestry education program. In 1948, they deeded this private cemetery on that property to the Fairbanks Baptist Church. Because of his love for the pine tree industry, Mize had his granite tombstone carved to resemble a working face pine tree. This marker is dedicated to all who toiled to provide an income for families and communities and resinous products worldwide.
Sponsors: FLORIDA SOCIETY OF AMERICAN FORESTERS AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
HISTORIC HAILE HOMESTEAD AT KANAPAHA PLANTATION
Location:Intersection of SW Archer Rd. and SW 85th St.
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: One of the oldest houses in Alachua County, the Historic Haile Homestead was the home of Thomas Evans Haile, his wife Esther Serena Chesnut Haile and 14 of their children. The Hailes came here from Camden, South Carolina in 1854 to establish a 1,500-acre Sea Island Cotton plantation which they named Kanapaha. Enslaved black craftsmen completed the 6,200-square-foot manse in 1856. The 1860 census showed 66 slaves living here. The Hailes survived bankruptcy in 1868 and turned the property into a productive farm, growing a variety of fruits and vegetables including oranges. Serena Haile died in 1895; Thomas in 1896. The Homestead, which passed to son Evans, a prominent defense attorney, became the site of house parties attended by some of Gainesville’s most distinguished citizens. The Hailes had the unusual habit of writing on the walls; all together over 12,500 words with the oldest writing dating to the 1850’s. The Homestead was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. A restoration was completed in 1996. Still partly owned by descendants of Evans Haile, the Homestead is one of the few remaining homesteads built by Sea Island cotton planters in this part of Florida.
Sponsors: THE HISTORIC HAILE HOMESTEAD AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
MT. PLEASANT CEMETERY
Location:2837 NW 13th St. (MLK, Jr. Blvd.)
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: The Mt. Pleasant Cemetery was established c. 1883 by the Mt. Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church as a final resting place for its members and other African Americans in the city of Gainesville. Founded in 1867, the church purchased the 5.38-acre property for $125 in 1886. Among the earliest graves are those of Helen H. Wall (1847-1883) and Jefferson Garrison (1871-1884). Some headstones are of marble or granite carved with symbolic designs, others are simple vaults of stuccoed brick or concrete. Early African American community members and their descendents are buried in individual and family plots here. Among them are civic and religious leaders, educators, physicians, dentists, craftsmen, servicemen, and business owners, some of whom began life as enslaved people. Buried here are the Reverend Alexander DeBose, pastor of the Mt. Pleasant church in the 1870s; Dr. R. B. Ayer and Dr. Julius Parker, the city’s first black physicians; Dr. E. H. DeBose, Sr., Gainesville’s first black dentist; and Lance Corporal Vernon T. Carter, Jr., Gainesville’s first Vietnam War casualty. The cemetery is still maintained by the Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church, located in Gainesville’s Pleasant Street Historic District.
Sponsors: THE MT. PLEASANT UNITED METHODIST CHURCH AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
MOUNT PLEASANT UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
Location:620 NW Second St.
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Mount Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church was founded on July 16, 1867, with the Reverend Isaac Davis serving as the first pastor. The Board of Trustees of the oldest black congregation in Gainesville purchased the lot on which the present church still stands for $160 from Charles W. Brush. He sold lots after the Civil War mainly to African American individuals and institutions in what is now the Pleasant Street Historic District. The founding trustees were Lojurn Davis, Alexander Hamilton, Ethan Daniels, Henry Roberts, William Anderson, Adam Dancy, Shadrach Abendnego, Robert McDuffie and Dr. McDowell. Mount Pleasant soon became a social and religious center for the neighborhood. The first Florida Annual Conference that brought together Methodist churches with black congregations was held at Mount Pleasant in 1874, while the Reverend Alexander DeBose was pastor. The original wood frame building was replaced in 1887 with a brick structure, which was destroyed by fire in 1903. The present church, built of red brick in the stately Romanesque revival style, was completed in 1906 and is noted for its beautiful stained glass windows. In 1968, the congregation was renamed the Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church.
Sponsors: THE MOUNT PLEASANT UNITED METHODIST CHURCH AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
BLAND COMMUNITY
Location:1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Settled in the 1840s by cotton planters from Georgia and South Carolina, Bland became a diverse agrarian area where farmers and sharecroppers raised cattle and grew cotton and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Joseph “Fate” Lafayette Matthews (1868-1934) was the town’s most prominent citizen who moved to the area from Bradford County in 1899. He and Thomas A. Doke initially purchased 720 acres of land which was once part of the Samuel R. Pyles plantation. Matthews built a large home and general merchandise store just under a mile south of here. With cotton gins and a grist mill, the store served as the center of commerce for the area. In May 1903 Matthews opened a post office which was named for his son, Blan C. Matthews (1902-1927). Fate Matthews served as the only postmaster until the closing of the post office in July 1906. By the late 1920s he was one of the county’s largest land owners. On December 1, 1934, Matthews, then president of the Bank of Alachua, was murdered in his home by a man upon whose house he had foreclosed. William and Elsie Washington successfully homesteaded 104 acres in this area in 1879. Among their many descendants is actress, comedienne, and humanitarian Whoopi Goldberg.
Sponsors: ALACHUA COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
EARLETON, FLORIDA
Location:NE 77th Ln and SR 200 A
County: Alachua
City: Earleton
Description: Side 1: Earleton is named for General Elias B. Earle (1821-1893) who received government land grants in Florida for his service in the U.S./Mexican War (1846-48). Born into a prominent South Carolina family, Gen. Earle fought in the Palmetto Regiment, enlisted as a private, and at war's end received the honorary commission of General from the Governor of South Carolina. He moved to the western shore of Lake Santa Fe with his wife and four children between 1856 and 1860. When the Civil War began, Gen. Earle owned a 2000-acre cotton plantation north of here and had 50 slaves, making him one of the largest slave holders in Alachua County. A colonel of the Seventh Florida Regiment, Earle joined Capt. J.J. Dickison's Company H for the 1864 Battle of Gainesville, leading an infantry of ninety men down what is now E. University Ave. After the war, Earle became a director for the canal company connecting Lake Santa Fe to Lake Alto and president of the Green Cove Springs to Melrose Railroad. His son-in-law, German botanist Baron Hans von Luttichau (1845-1926) created the "Collins-Belvedere Azalea Gardens" in Earleton, introducing Formosa azaleas to Florida. Earle is buried in the family plot at Eliam Cemetery in Melrose. Side 2: St. John's Episcopal Church and Cemetery were established at this site in the late 1870s by English settlers. Completed in 1880, the church was one of the first carpenter gothic chapels in Florida. It was at the time known as the mission at Balmoral and the Lake Santa Fe Mission. When Trinity Episcopal Church (still standing) was completed in Melrose in 1886, this smaller church was sold for $15 and torn down. The cemetery was established in 1878 and held between 60-70 graves at the turn of the 20th Century. Little is known about who is buried there because the records were lost when the Diocesan headquarters burned during the Jacksonville fire of 1901. The only legible headstone belongs to Emma Lucy Hilton, who was born in England in 1827, and died in Earleton in 1884. On the banks of Lake Santa Fe (east of here) sat the Balmoral Hotel, which catered to northern tourists who came by train to Waldo and then by steamboat through the Lake Alto canal. Balmoral was an impressive two-story, U-shaped structure and a popular resort through the 1880s, until the 1894-95 freezes ruined the local economy. The hotel was turned into a private residence and eventually burned. No trace is left.
Sponsors: Historic Melrose, Inc. and the Florida Department of State
GAINESVILLE SERVICEMEN'S CENTER
Location:516 Northeast 2nd Avenue
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: The City of Gainesville purchased the Servicemen’s Center lot on December. 7th 1942. The Federal Works Agency constructed a $37,000 building with a ballroom, stage, dressing rooms, second floor reading room, three showers, three telephone booths for long distance calls, a coat check room, a 20-foot-long snack bar, and a kitchen with a ten-burner stove. The FWA provided sofas and easy chairs, a baby grand piano, a fiddle, trombone, radio, juke box, and a victrola. The city paid for kitchen equipment, flowered drapes, the mantle mirror, ping pong and snooker tables. They also paved NE 2nd Avenue and laid sidewalks. The Garden Club supplied and installed plants. Senator Claude Pepper dedicated the building on July 23rd 1943. Servicemen from Camp Blanding, the Alachua Army Air Base, the Officer Candidate School and the 62nd College Training Detachment attended events organized by program director Thelma Boltin (1904-1992) seven days a week from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM that included dances, plays, variety shows, sing alongs, chess, pinochle and bingo. Outdoor activities included badminton, barbeque and shuffleboard. Civic clubs provided funds and hostesses for meals including 400 dinners on Thanksgiving. The city bought the building for $12,500 in 1946 and retained Miss Boltin as Director. A 1928 graduate of Emerson College, she returned to Gainesville after teaching in Polk County 1930-32 and taught English, Speech and directed plays at Gainesville High School. The School Board employed her until 1956 when she moved to White Springs to direct the Florida Folk Festival. She was a founder, actor and director at the Gainesville Little Theater (Community Playhouse), chair of the Florida and National Federation of Music Clubs, received an award from the American Assoc. for State and Local History, was WGGG Radio's “Story Hour Lady,” artist in residence at schools, and assisted folklife programs in Dade City, Apopka, Cocoa, and Fernandina. She was known as “Cousin Thelma,” and “Queen of Florida Folklore.” In 1946 she organized the teen club at the “Rec Center” which continued through the 1960s. Local bands with Stephen Stills, Don Felder and Bernie Leadon played Friday night dances which Tom Petty attended. All four are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The building became a senior center in the 1970s and is also used for dances, wedding receptions and civic events. A $420,000 renovation took place in 2000.
Sponsors: The Alachua County Historical Commission and the Florida Department of State
THE HOME OF A. QUINN JONES, SR., EDUCATOR
Location:1013 N.W. 7th Avenu
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: A. Quinn Jones, Sr. (1893-1997), teacher, educational leader, and prominent African-American advocate, lived here from 1925 to 1997. The home, built ca. 1920, is a one-story frame bungalow set on brick piers. Jones' career, spanning the segregation era, was marked by his determination to provide quality education to all African-American children. Jones served as teacher and principal at two of Alachua County's most important African-American schools, Union Academy (1921-1923) and Lincoln High School (1923-1957). He taught English, Latin, math, and science, and held fundraisers to ensure materials and salaries to his students and staff. In 1924-25, Jones extended Lincoln's grades to the 12th so that students could earn a full high school diploma. The Florida Department of Education noted Jones' leadership and in 1926, Lincoln High School became Florida's second accredited African-American High School. In 1956, Lincoln High School moved to the southeast area of Gainesville and the original building became an elementary school bearing Jones' name. The A. Quinn Jones Center stands as a memorial to his extraordinary contributions to the African-American community, the people of Alachua County, and the State of Florida.
Sponsors: The City of Gainesville and the Florida Department of State
MICANOPY HISTORIC CEMETERY
Location:West Smith Avenue
County: Alachua
City: Micanopy
Description: The Micanopy Historic Cemetery was founded by Dr. H. Lucious Montgomery Sr., a physician in the Township of Micanopy during the 1800's. Dr. Montgomery and his wife, Lucinda Jane Montgomery, the owners of the cemetery land, deeded lot No. 30 to the Cemetery Trustees in 1897 for one dollar. The Township was given the cemetery in 1905 and the Micanopy Cemetery Association was established that year. Thomas McCredie, J.D. Watkins and E.C. Chitty were the first board members. Lot No. 29 was deeded to the Trustee Board and Micanopy Cemetery Association in 1911. It cost $300. Members of the Trustee Board were O.L. Feaster, J.B. Simonton, J.D. Merry, W.D. Merry, W.D. Bobbitt, W.C. Barnett. B.O. Franklin and H.L. Montgomery Sr. Thje cemetery has had over 2,000 butials in it's 181-year history. it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The first recorded burial dated from 1826 and the cemetery is still picturesque and a wonderful example of American history preserved.
Sponsors: The Town of Micanopy and The Florida Department of State
OLD STAGE ROAD
Location:SW 24th Ave at SW 69th Terrace
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: The Old Stage Road, one of Alachua County’s original highways, passed near here. Dating from the 1820s, it connected the county’s two major towns, Newnansville (once the county seat near present day Alachua) and Micanopy to the south. The road served as a major commerce, transportation and military artery. Forts built for protection from Seminole Indians near Micanopy and Newnansville were linked by the road. During the Second Seminole War of 1835 to 1842, Fort Clarke, a U.S. Army post, was built along the road northwest of here. By the early 1860s, local farmers relied on the road to transport crops to the railroad depot in Arredondo. From 1866 to 1876, a stage line used the road, carrying mail and passengers to Ocala and Newnansville, and to Tampa by 1869. Use of the road diminished after steamer service across Alachua Lake (now Payne’s Prairie) began in 1876. Railroad service was expanded to Micanopy in the early 1880s. Newnansville had been deserted by 1900. In the 20th century, sections of the road were abandoned in favor of newer and better roads. Original sections of the Old Stage Road still exist.
Sponsors: SPONSORED BY INFINITE PROPERTIES, LLC., THE ALACHUA COUNTY HISTORICAL COMMISSION AND THE FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
SHADY GROVE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH AND PORTER'S QUARTERS
Location: 804 Southwest 5th Street
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Shady Grove Primitive Baptist Church is a landmark in Porters Quarters, one of Gainesville's oldest and most historic African-American neighborhoods. Dr. Watson Porter, a Canadian physican, established Porters Addition to Gainesville in 1884 and sold lots exclusively to African Americans, many of whom worked in the nearby railroad yards and industrial sites. The Shady Grove congregation was organized in 1894, under the leadership of the Reverend Mose Edwards and Reverend Cobb. Deacons serving were Brothers Mickins, Sweat, Festen, and Clay. Amelia Carter and Penny Brightman served as the first Deconesses. In 1900 the Deacons of the church, Thomas T. Sweat and Jackson Stanley, purchased the corner lot from Dr. Watson Porter and his wife for $30 as a site for the congregation's origianl wood frame church, which was shaded by large oak trees. In the mid-1930s, the wood church was replaced by the present masonry building, constructed of coquina blocks purchased in St. Augestine. During the Civil Rights era, the local NAACP committee met at the Shady Grove Primitive Baptist Church to plan for the integration of Gainesville's public schools. The Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005
Sponsors: Shady Grove Primitive Baptist Church Board of Deacons and the Florida Department of State
SERENOLA PLANTATION
Location:Squirrel Park
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: Side 1: In 1857, David Rogerson Williams II (1822-1907) of Darlington Co., SC, purchased 1,000 acres, including this site bordering Payne’s Prairie, and developed them as a plantation known as “Serenola.” The 1860 census shows 120 slaves lived in 24 houses on the plantation, where cotton, sugar cane, and corn were grown. By 1870, the plantation’s land and tenements were owned by Capt. Garth W. James (1845-1883), a Union veteran of the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Colored Infantry, and William R. Robeson (1845-1922), an attorney from Boston, MA. In 1875, Robeson began selling some of his Serenola land. Among the grantees in 1880 was industrialist Andrew Carnegie. More remarkable were the 250 acres that Robeson sold from 1875 through 1885 to five black families, most of whom had once served as slaves of Williams, the original owner of the plantation. The freedmen and their families included: Harrison Lynch (1835-1916), with his wife Hannah and their four children; Mack Williams (1825-1898), with his wife Sally and their four children; minister Washington West (1853-1942), with his wife Nelly and their two children; Jerry Gregg (1845-1920), with his wife Jane and their five children; and Bina Gregg, a widow (1805-1896). Side 2: At that time, farming was the mainstay of Alachua County. Between 1872 and 1892, the location of the former plantation near the Payne’s Prairie waterways gave the farmers easy access to ship produce north by steamboat. By 1891, the Gainesville, Rocky Point & Micanopy Railroad ran through the property, providing further access to markets. Serenola had a lasting impact on Alachua County’s economy until the 1950s, when farming declined as the farmers passed away. The last of the former Serenola slaves who farmed the land died in 1942. The main house and the slave quarters no longer exist, but the surroundings remain much as they appeared in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A dirt road once known as Rocky Point Road, with its canopy of oak trees, still runs through what was the plantation. It became a public highway in 1889, and is now S.W. 17th Terrace. During the early 1900s, West family members established Minnie Hill Baptist Church, located on the old road. After Washington West retired as pastor of Serenola Baptist Church, which he helped found in 1885, he attended the Minnie Hill Church until his death. That church was renamed Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in 1992
Sponsors: The Serenola Community Cemetery, Inc. and the Florida Department of State
MICANOPY
Location:NE. Cholokka Blvd. at N.E. Peach Ave. in front of gazebo.
County: Alachua
City: Micanopy
Description: Side 1: Founded after Spain relinquished Florida to the United States in 1821, Micanopy became the first distinct American town founded in the new US territory. Originally an Indian trading post, Micanopy was built under the auspices of the Florida Association of New York. A leading member of this company, Moses E. Levy, along with Edward Wanton, a former Anglo-Spanish Indian trader, played important roles here. In 1822, a select group of settlers and skilled craftsmen departed New York harbor and set sail for Florida. After disembarking on the banks of the St. Johns River (at the site of present-day Palatka), and with the added labor of 15 slaves, these men forged a 45-mile road with eight bridges to Micanopy--a vital new pathway into the interior. These first settlers arrived on February 12, 1823, and were in close contact with both Seminole and Miccosukee Indians, as well as the black descendants of runaway slaves who resided among them. This initial period was one of relative peace. Micanopy means "head chief," a title awarded to the leader of the Alachua Seminoles. For a time, this frontier hamlet was also known informally as "Wantons." Side 2: The onset of the Second Seminole War in December 1835 caused great devastation. Nearby sugar plantations and homesteads were burned and entire families sought the safety of Micanopy, which had been barricaded with log pickets and renamed Fort Defiance by the military. During the summer of 1836, the Battle of Micanopy and the Battle of Welika Pond took place here. On August 24, with most soldiers sick or wounded, the US Army evacuated the fort and town and all buildings were intentionally burned. Afterward, Fort Micanopy was erected in 1837. The town was rebuilt after the Seminole War, with few of the original inhabitants returning. Cotton replaced sugar cane as a staple crop and cattle production assumed new importance. Following the Civil War and with the advent of the railroad, the Micanopy area became known as the "leading orange and vegetable growing section of Florida." After a freeze in 1894-95, orange cultivation was curtailed, but farmers continued to flourish by growing winter vegetables for northern markets. By the 1920s, truck farming was largely displaced by the lumber and turpentine industries. Many of the town’s larger surviving homes reflect the previous era of agricultural prosperity.
Sponsors: The Micanopy Historical Society and the Florida Department of State
KANAPAHA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Location:6221 Southwest 75th Terrace
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: In 1857, a group of Sea Island cotton planters from South Carolina who steeled near here called an organizational meeting to establish Kanapaha Presbyterian Church. The Reverend William J. McCormick (1821-1883) was recruited from South Carolina to be its first pastor. The first sanctuary was erected in 1859 on land donated by Moses Ramsey on the old military road now known as S.W. 63rd Boulevard. In April 1859, McCormick conducted the first servives and the church was formally organized. During the Civil War, Kanapaha Church fell into disrepair. A new sanctuary designed in the Gothic Revival Style was built in 1886 near the train depot in South Arrendondo, later called Kanapaha. Beginning in 1961, services were held in a building closer to Gainesville but the congregation returned to the church here in 1970, after restoration was completed. Kanapaha Presbyterian Church is one of the oldest churches in Alachua County, and still retains the original pews, kerosene chandelier, stained glass windows, and bell. The churches original Steeple, badly damaged by hurricanes in the 1940s, was restored in 2001.
Sponsors: Sponsored by the Kanapaha Presbyterian Church and the Florida Department of State
THE BALLPARK
Location:512 SW 2nd Terrace
County: Alachua
City: Gainesville
Description: This site, known locally as the ballpark, was the center of recreational activities in Gainesville for more than 60 years. From 1883-1910 Gainesville's Oak Hall baseball team played here against teams from Florida and the Southeast. The Oak Halls played the first night baseball game in Alachua County here in 1909. The Central City Giants, an African-American team, also played baseball here. When the University of Florida (UF) opened its doors in the fall of 1906, there was no suitable location on campus for playing football. From 1906-10 UF played 15 football games here with a 14-0-1 record. Opponents included the Gainesville Athletic Association (UF's first opponent at the ballpark), Rollins College, Stetson College, Georgia A&M, Gainesville Guards, and the College of Charleston. In 1911, UF began playing games on campus at a location now known as Fleming Field. East Florida Seminary (1902-04) and Gainesville High School (1906-07) also played football here. After 1910, the ballpark was used for tent shows, community fairs, and by traveling circuses, including Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and the King Brothers Circus, which put on the last performance held at the ballpark on November 17, 1946.
Sponsors: Porters Community Neighborhood Organization and the Florida Department of State