Towns A-I

Alachua

Alachua Woman’s Club

In 1912, a group of women founded the Alachua Woman’s Club to support the local schools. They usually met in the homes of club members before the construction of a new building. The architect was most likely Sanford Goin of Gainesville. He built this limestone structure in 1938 when the group finally raised enough money. Today, the building is still used by the Woman’s Club, and is also used to host many local events.

Alachua Woman_s Club building

Alachua Woman’s Club, courtesy of the Matheson History Museum

First National Bank Building

In 1907, a group of men named Dr. J. C. Bishop, T. W. Shands, C. A. Williams, S. J. Ellis, E. E. Bell, and J. W. Roberts founded this historical bank on Main Street with a capital stock of $25,000. After surviving the Great Depression, the bank stayed in that location until around 2005 when it was purchased by the Capital City Bank Group. Today, the building serves as a store.

Old First National Bank

First National Bank Building – 1999, courtesy of the Matheson History Museum

First United Methodist Church

Many people consider this First United Methodist Church to be the oldest Methodist church in Florida. In 1822, some of the first Methodist missionaries in Florida started the original church group, and they built a small log cabin. In 1828, Maxey Dell built a better wooden structure known as “Dell’s Meeting House.” In 1856 and 1898, the congregation built two new, larger structures. In 1910, a fire destroyed the wooden 1898 building. In 1912 at the same location, the group erected a brick structure. This brick building continues to serve as the church meeting place today.

Methodist Church, Alachua, Fla

First United Methodist Church, courtesy of the Matheson History Museum

Newnansville Cemetery

Once located northwest of today’s downtown Alachua, the town of Newnansville was settled in the 1820s as “Dells.” In 1828, the town became known as “Newnansville” and was also named as the county seat. In 1853, the county moved its seat to Gainesville, which was along the Savannah, Florida and Western Railroad. The city of Alachua emerged near Newnansville closer to the railway. As Alachua grew, Newnansville joined with the more prosperous city. The cemetery property once also held a Methodist Church. Today, the cemetery is all that remains of this original town site. The oldest grave in this cemetery is that of Colonel Samuel Pyles, who was born on March 4, 1788 and died in January 1837.

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Pierce-Bishop House

In 1898, Leroy Pierce built this beautiful, Queen Anne style home. Eventually, the house became the home of Dr. James Bishop, who was a well-known local doctor during his life. Dr. Bishop’s son Howard Bishop would later have a middle school in Gainesville named after him. This school still stands today as Howard W. Bishop Middle School.

Pierce-Bishop House

Pierce-Bishop House, courtesy of the Matheson History Museum

Cross Creek

Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s House

The house of author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was built sometime during the late 19th century. In 1928, Rawlings’s husband bought this Florida citrus farm where she lived until 1942. She then only occasionally visited Cross Creek until her death in 1953. The natural environment of Cross Creek inspired Rawlings as she explored her surroundings. She used the nearby rivers and woods as inspiration for her books such as The Yearling and Cross Creek.

In her book Cross Creek, Rawlings’s description of her home is that “One is now inside the grove, out of one world and in the mysterious heart of another. Enchantment lies in different things for each of us. For me, it is in this: to step out of the bright sunlight into the shade of orange trees; to walk under the arched canopy of their jadelike leaves; to see the long aisles of lichened trunks stretch ahead in a geometric rhythm; to feel the mystery of a seclusion that yet has shafts of light striking through it.”

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Evinston

Evinston Community Store & Post Office

This building was a warehouse until it was purchased by Joseph Wolfendon who turned it into a store. In 1882, it became Evinston’s only post office. The structure actually still has its original service window and P.O. boxes. The building now belongs to the Wood family, who has owned it since 1906. In fact, Fred Wood was the postmaster for 44 years, which is longer than any other postmaster in Florida. In 1979, Victor Nunez used this building in his movie adaptation of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’s story “Gal Young ‘Un.”

Evinston Community Store _ Post Office

Evinston Community Store & Post Office, courtesy of the State Library & Archives of Florida

Evinston United Methodist Church

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Wolfendon, who owned the Evinston Store & Post Office, built this structure in 1909. Before constructing this building, members held services in local houses or the school. Today, the building is still used as a meeting place by the church.

Evinston UMC 1985

Evinston United Methodist Church – 1985, courtesy of the Matheson History Museum

Haile Plantation

Haile Plantation House

Thomas and Serena Haile came from South Carolina in 1854 to settle and farm this land. They also brought their 4 children and many enslaved people. They bought 1,500 acres of property that they named “Kanapaha.” The Hailes took this word from the Timucuan Indian words cani (palmetto leaves) and paha (house). Over 50 enslaved craftsmen constructed the current house around 1856. The family also helped build the original Kanapaha Presbyterian Church building.

In 1868, the Hailes went bankrupt because of crop failures. In the mid-1870s, they financially recovered by expanding their crop diversity. By 1870, Thomas and Serena had 15 children. During the 1930s, the house was largely unused. In the late 1970s, Victor Nunez used the building in his movie adaptation of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ story “Gal Young ‘Un.” Throughout the building’s empty years, people stole furniture from the house. Luckily, some items were returned and restored. In 1986, the house became part of the National Register of Historic Places. In 2001, the house held its first tours which are still available today.

Haile Plantation House- 1903

Haile Plantation House – 1903, courtesy of the State Library & Archives of Florida

Hawthorne

Hawthorne Apartments (Moore Hotel)

William Shepard Moore bought this property in 1882 and turned it into the Moore Hotel. The center building is possibly the oldest because it was built before Moore bought the property. The Moore Hotel was an important local place where visitors would pay around $2 for a room. These visitors usually came for hunting and fishing. Locals knew the hotel as being the first building in the area to have running water and carbide lights. Today, the structure is an apartment complex for people wanting to live in Hawthorne.

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Hawthorne Woman’s Club

Mr. George Peacock built the current building in 1912. Dr. George Lloyd, a notable town physician, used it as an office for many years. In 1920, the Hawthorne Woman’s Club acquired the building where the group has continued to meet since. The building was remodeled in 1950 and 1971.

First United Methodist Church

The First United Methodist Church of Hawthorne was organized on December 5, 1890. In 1891, the organization built this wooden structure. Today, the original church building is still used to hold services.

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High Springs

Grady House

The location where the Grady house now stands held the town’s bakery before 1900. A German immigrant named Charles Nisi and his family owned this bakery. Eventually, the property came to hold the house of H. L. Grady who lived there with his family for many years. In 1917 a second floor was added, and the home was later used as a boarding house. In 1990, Ed and Diane Shupe bought the house and turned it into a bed and breakfast. Today, the house still serves as a B&B for visitors to High Springs.

High Springs Grady House

Grady House – 1990, courtesy of the Matheson History Museum

Opera House

The Opera House in High Springs was built around 1896. Many merchants and shop owners used the first floor, while the second floor held the opera house. Later, the building served as a community center until after World War II. Today, the second floor holds the Theater of Memory, and the first floor is home to the Great Outdoors Trading Company and Café.

High Springs Opera House

High Springs Opera House – 1989, courtesy of the Matheson History Museum

Priest Theater

This historic theater began as a car warehouse in 1926. Shortly after, in 1929, the building was changed into a local movie theater. Having withstood the test of time, the building continues to serve as a movie theater where films are still shown today.

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Island Grove

Crosby House (Dupree-Crosby House)

This home was reportedly built in 1885 by William Dupree. Around 1900, a man named George Crosby married Mattie Dupree and they moved into this house. The Crosby family went on to live in the home until the 1970s. Today the house stands unoccupied, but it is available for sale to anyone interested in owning a piece of history.

Crosby house undated

Crosby House – courtesy of the Matheson History Museum