Florida Historical Markers Programs - Marker: Columbia

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Location:Downtown Courtyard between NE Madison and W Duval St.
County: Columbia
City: Lake City
Description: Originally called Alpata Telophka, or Alligator Town, this site was a Seminole village, ruled by the powerful chief Alligator, an instigator of the Dade Massacre, which began the great Seminole War of 1835. Following the cessation of hostilities, a white settlement sprang up on the site of the old Seminole village and became known simply as Alligator. Prior to the War Between the States, the name was changed to Lake City.
Location:4843 South US Hwy. 441 at County Road 133-B
County: Columbia
City: Lake City
Description: Old Bethel Church was first organized by Alligator area settlers as early as the 1820s. The original church was a small log structure located some two miles northeast of this site. In 1855, this building was erected to accommodate a growing number of parishioners. One of only a few Antebellum church buildings which have survived in rural Florida, Bethel Church has served its congregation continuously since its mid-19th century founding. The building has been known in the community as "the white church by the side of the road" for over a century.
Sponsors: Bethel United Methodist Church in Cooperation with The Florida Department of State
Location:N 1st St., Deese Memorial Park
County: Columbia
City: Fort White
Description: The town of Fort White, named for a former Second Seminole War fort built nearby in 1837, was founded in 1870 and flourished briefly after the arrival of the railroad in 1888. Phosphate mining and the growing of citrus and cotton sparked a boom that before 1900 made Fort White the second largest city in Columbia County with a population of nearly 2,000. The boom collapsed when severe freezes in the winter of 1896-1897 destroyed the local citrus industry. Phosphate mining ceased by 1910, and the boll weevil ended cotton farming before World War I. A handful of historic buildings, such as the Old Fort White School (1915) remain from the town's era of prosperity.
Sponsors: The Florida Department of State
Location:O'Leno State Park
County: Columbia
City: near Mikesville
Description: Originally called "Keno", for a variation of lotto gambling, the town was settled in the 1860's. Ecclesiastical and commercial pressure changed the name to "Leno" in 1876. A grist and saw mill, cotton gin, stores, and hotel sprang up in the settlement. Railroad construction bypassed the town, and by the 1890's Leno became a ghost town. The site of old Leno (O'Leno) was purchased by the state as a park and forestry station in 1934.