PO BOX 1909
POST FALLS, ID 83877
The Old Dixie Highway came into Alachua from the Lake City side, then it turned down Main Street and went out, going by Burnett's Lake. In later years, they put up this new highway through here. This became the main route you used to go from Alachua to Gainesville. Nestled beneath huge live oaks, magnolias, cedar and hickory trees the town of Alachua is steeped in Florida history dating back to the Spanish explorers who were looking for land for their cattle ranches. The DeSoto trail winds through the area and can be followed by those interested in Indian and Spanish culture. You can`t talk about the history of Alachua without mentioning the history of another settlement nearby called Newnansville. The two are entwined in early history. In the early 1800`s Alachua County was a wild land inhabited and controlled by the Seminole Indians. Indian raids were common in the area. In 1818, a settlement was established in the area now known as Newnansville. A treaty was signed in 1824 and the Seminoles were moved to a reservation further south. Early in 1826, a post office was established, roads were built, stores were set up and a settled land began to emerge. This area was then called "Dell`s Post Office" in one historical document and in another it is referred to as "Dell`s Court House". It was named for the Dell brothers who came to the Alachua area during the "Patriot War" (1812-1814). They liked the area and decided to return after the war. A land grant office just east of the present site of the city was built and offered early settlers land, provided they promised to live on the land, farm and keep the Indians off of it. It was located about a mile northeast of present day Alachua.The name "Dell`s Post Office" or "Dell`s Court House" was changed by the Territorial Legislature to "Newnansville" in honor of a Patriot War hero, Daniel Newnan and officially made the Alachua County seat. Alachua was one of the largest counties in the state at this time. The county`s land area has decreased considerably over the years.
"I have a true passion for photography, creavitity, and secrets that photography allows you
to explore. Every picture tells a secret about a secret. This is why every time I hear the
shutter a photograph comes alive". Samantha Hitchcock: lifelong family/resident of Alachua.
The Alachua Swamp - where it all began...
Alachua County 1865: The year Jesse Mansfield Shaw arrived in Alachua
Alachua County 1874
Alachua County, 1880
The city of Alachua has its roots in the 1818 pioneer town of Newnansville, which was built on the major trade route crossing Florida, Old Bellamy road. In 1854 when the railroad replaced the historic trails as the major route of transportation, Alachua was born. In 1995, the State of Florida awarded Alachua the honor of "Most Outstanding Rural Community" in the state. Today Alachua is a prosperous town, which is a wonderful mix of local folks who are direct descendants of the Newnansville founders, and transplanted folks who fell in love with the friendly small town atmosphere. Newnansville was a crossroad point for several important trails through early Florida. During the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), hundreds of displaced settlers were sheltered there and at Ft. Gilleland. There were eight forts in Alachua County for the protection of whites against the Indians between 1835-1855, but bear in mind that Alachua County was much larger at the time. When the war was over, Newnansville became a commercial center for an area that was beginning to grow as a large number of the refugee settlers stayed and others moved in. Newnansville and the surrounding area was the most thickly populated section of Alachua County for fifty years. More than one third of the voters lived in Newnansville in 1857.Newnansville was so much in the main stream it served as the Alachua County seat until 1854 when a railroad was constructed from Fernandina to Cedar Key. It bypassed the town to the east. To be nearer the railroad the U.S. Land Office located there, along with the Alachua County seat was moved to the new railroad town of Gainesville, located more in the center of present Alachua County. The town of Newnansville was no longer a center for activity and declined for the next 30 years. In 1884 when the Savannah, Florida and Western Railroad bypassed it about a mile to the south, the settlers moved their businesses closer and a new town, Alachua, began as a shipping point. Newnansville slowly became a town of the past as it gave way to this new town. Meanwhile in Alachua, Mr. F.E. Williams took advantage of the tracks running through his property. According to a March 1885 issue of the Alachua Advocate (the forerunner of the Gainesville Sun) "F.E. Williams is making an effort to get a post office established in his new town at the railroad depot. He has about 150 signatures to his petition for the same. This new town is laid off into large lots..."Several fine houses are already completed and others are being erected. Mr. Williams will soon remove his stock of merchandise from Newnansville to his new town," the advocate reported.
Mr. Williams didn`t actually succeed in getting a post office until April 30, 1887. A hotel, livery stable, and several other stores opened. A few homes were already occupied. A grist mill and lumber mill were being erected. The Advocate reporter wrote: "Alachua will swallow up the trade of Newnansville." The prediction came true, although one man continued to operate a store in Newnansville until his death in the 1930's.
On April 12th, 1905 the City of Alachua was officially incorporated and had a population of 526. By 1912 it had three hotels: the Sheffield Hotel; Transient House; and a second Transient House. In 1914 Alachua had two banks, three hotels, a number of stores ranging from a fruit stand to a large, well-stocked department store, ice plant, electric light plant, waterworks, two cotton gins, two grist mills and bottling works. The electric light and waterworks plant began operating in 1913. Electricity cost $1 per month for the first 300 watts and $1.25 for 300-500 watts. The cost of water was $1 per month "for the first opening and 25 cents for each additional opening."
Alachua Depot 1975
By this time in 1915, the new township of Alachua had constructed two church buildings, Baptist and Methodist. The local Presbyterians held their own services in the Baptist church. The school building stood on the hill "to the northeast of town." At first, there were seven teachers. The school`s first graduating class, two boys and a girl, were to graduate in May. The schools grew and in 1924, the Alachua High School Basketball team upset the sports world with a victory in the state tournament over Duval High of Jacksonville and in nearby Gainesville people were becoming aware that the Florida Gators were being supported by a state-wide audience. By 1925 Alachua had a population of 1,100. It still had two banks and its own utilities but all three churches now had their own building. There was now a telephone connection to the outside world.
Main street originally was a dirt road lined with trees running through the middle of town. Saturday on main street in Alachua was the busiest time of the week. Local farmers from miles around would come to town with their families to buy groceries, plow lines, bridles, nails, buckets, cloth, shoes, and any other household needs.
Early in the morning the wagons would start lining up with the mules pulling into shady places where they were parked for the day. Most of them behind stores or out in the vacant lots behind Fisher`s Hotel (where the famous Ma Barker once spent the night with her boys). Everybody came dressed up in clean overalls and starched and ironed dresses, including the children. They`d spend some of the time standing around in front of the Post Office, Mr. Hasting`s or Mr. Joseph Edgar Fugate`s grocery store or Dale`s or Joiner`s Drug Store, where they`d buy liniment, Grover`s chill tonic, 666 tablets and ice cream cones.
Most of the families brought their own shelled corn to Mr. Petitt`s to be ground into meal and grits. He`d do the grinding for half the corn so there was no exchange of money. The store windows had prices painted on them with white watery chalk. Inside the stores, rice, beans and sugar were scooped up out of barrels into brown paper bags and tied with white string that came down through a hook in the ceiling and up through a hole in the counter. White bacon and cured meat along with beef and pork that was recently butchered, hung behind the counter, and Mr. Hastings would cut off a pound or two at a time with the same knife he used to cut the yellow wedges of cheese. Canned goods were stacked in rows and people would wait in line for a clerk to take their order. They would fill up their kerosene cans for their lamps and put a raw potato back in the spout. Many farmers would bring eggs to sell and each would be held over a light bulb to determine if it was good.
In the afternoon visiting would begin again and the streets would be so crowded no one could move around too much. After a few hours of this, they would begin to load up and the children would begin to be packed in between sacks of flour and meal and other good things. One by one they would pull out and drive slowly home in time to feed the livestock before dark.
Some of the men who had been working in the stores all day would go to Mr. Stoke`s little barber shop down by Mr. Eddy`s hardware store or to Willie Cauthen`s bigger barber shop by Charlie Smith`s dry cleaners. They`d sit for hours on the benches covered with green oil cloth until it was their turn for a hair cut, shave and sometimes a bath in the large tub in the back of the shop. They`d come out in a puff of steam and always smell like Palmolive soap and show up at church the next day smelling like a combination of soap, Mennen`s shaving lotion and Three Roses talcum powder.
The next Saturday would be a repeat of the day. One of the popular sites on Sunday afternoon`s was Burnett`s Lake, which got it`s name from a Mayor of Gainesville, Samuel W. Burnett.
The wagons didn`t stop suddenly, but rather dwindled down to a trickle and were gradually replaced by the Model T Ford. The farmers still came to town to buy supplies but now most of them now drove a Model T pick-up. Later the Model T was replaced by the Model A and in 1932 everyone went to Enneis Motor Company to see the brand new Ford with the new V8 engine, the rumored choice for bootleggers.
As the thirties came so did adversity. Banks began to fail and long lines formed, and when some banks weren`t able to produce the money people had in checking and savings accounts, they closed their doors, leaving people in financial disarray. However, some banks withstood the runs and The First National Bank of Alachua was one of them. People coming out of the bank were asked how much money remained, and their assurances that there was plenty left helped return the confidence of those who had withdrawn their funds and they returned to redeposit their money. Watermelons were being grown in increasing number and fresh corn, cucumbers, beans, and squash were being shipped to northern markets. Demonstrators from North Carolina showed people how to grow tobacco. Tobacco barns and packing sheds then began to replace cotton gins. In 1928, Copeland Sausage Company opened its doors. It was first built near The Alachua Recreation Center. However, they were not allowed to kill the hogs inside the city limits. Therefore, they would kill the hogs across the street (which was not in the city limits at the time). When they built the new plant, they built it outside the city limits.
Although the Depression hurt everyone, there always seemed to be enough to eat and the farmers brought produce into town and shared with those less fortunate. According to one article, you could always tell who had a good year in cucumbers or tobacco. In the fall of the year there were peanut boilings and cane grindings. Neighbors in this community still integrated their work and play. They came together to butcher hogs, make syrup, or raise a house or church. Births, deaths and marriages were told through word of mouth. Then came World War II and things were never the same in Alachua. Boys and girls left for the armed services, many never to return again. Families moved to find work in the shipyards or other war related jobs. Most of the old buildings in town survived though the old oaks that lined the street were cut down because of old age or to make room for "progress."
The City of Alachua continued to grow. In 1950 the population was 1,116 and by 1960 it had grown to a population of 1,974. In 1970, the U.S. Census listed it at 2,252, by 1990 it was 4,529.
Although the packing sheds have disappeared from town, area farmers still plant crops of beans, corn, squash, peppers and cucumbers. In this small community, local folks still spread the news of births, marriages, and deaths by word of mouth. Families still watch out for each other`s children. Neighbors still come to each other`s aid in the time of need and farmers still come to town on Saturday. Now they stop at the local supermarket and you can find them sitting on a bench outside one of the local stores or restaurants for a neighborly chat and the post office is still a popular place to catch up on the local gossip.
Alachua has had families that have been here for years and years and years. Families that are still here, like the Fugates, Shaws (1865), Waters, Harrisons, Bryans, Goodes, Williams, Cauthens, and the Robartses.
In 1987, the historic Main Street, with its quaint brick, 1900's architecture and grand old Victorian homes, was redeveloped. This revitalization has provided the perfect environment for our Main Street business to flourish. Through the continued support and efforts of our citizens in the downtown Redevelopment Committee, additional grants have been obtained to build a sitting garden park within the towering, antique brick walls of the old Main Street cinema.
Richard Bryan: " When I grew up here, you knew everybody in Alachua, and everybody knew you. I remember going downtown when I was four or five years old. My great-uncle, E. D. Hague, used to sit out in front of Thigpen's, where they had some benches. He would always give me a dime, and I would go in and buy a Coke. Inside, Mr. Thigpen had a big black and white marble counter top, and if you could reach up to it you could get yourself a Coke. Mr. Martin's store was across the street on the corner, and the bank was on the other corner, and that was just about it. Around the corner there was a stable where the post office is now. Yes, what I miss most is that when I came up, everybody in Alachua knew you, and you knew everybody. Then I went to the University of Florida for four years, and then to Georgia for four years. Then when I came back, and I will be very honest with you, today I am very lucky if I know one of ten people. It used to be where most times I knew ten out of ten people. That is something we have lost, it is something I miss most - getting to know everybody, and everybody knowing me."
Conye Rimes Shaw's Alachua Home CSWaters-Mixon
Vida Water's Alachua Home - Main Street CSWaters-Mixon Vida Waters Home, Main St, Alachua JWShaw
Blanche LeRoy's Alachua Home CSWaters-Mixon
This large frame house with the three-story tower on one corner and fish scale shingles on the dormers and tower, was built near the turn of the century by Furman E. Williams. He was postmaster from 1897 to 1907 and a founder of the Bank of Alachua. A nephew, H.N. LeRoy, who lived with the Williams and served in the bank, later inherited the house. A daughter, Blanche LeRoy, owns the home.
Ivy House (LeRoy Home) on Main Street, Alachua JWShaw
LeRoy - Ivy Home
Meyer Home: Queen Anne Victorian
Built in 1898, The Meyer House is the oldest structure on Alachua Florida's Historic Main Street
Stephens House on Main St Alachua JWShaw
This home, shaded by two trees in the front, was built by J.T. Mizell, an Alachua builder. There is evidence to indicate that the house was built prior to 1904. The piping of an acetylene gas lighting system is still in this house. About 1918 it became the residence of Frazier Stephens, a prominent merchant. It is presently the residence of George Stevens.
Historic Main Street, Alachua JWShaw
ALACHUA WOMEN'S CLUB
Originally called the Alachua Improvement Club, it was organized in 1912 with the objective of improving the schools. Members met in homes until this native stone building was constructed with WPA labor in the early 1930's. Some of the early Presidents included Mrs. W. E. Enneis (1937-39) 2013-2014 Corresponding Secretary, Linda Kay Shaw
Shaw Farm House CSWaters-Mixon
Shaw Farms Old Dairy Barn & Silo CSWaters-Mixon
Our Old Alachua Home 1960's CSWaters-Mixon
(Picture taken in 1980)
Indexes of Original Alachua County Land Patent Holders
'ALACHUA PORTRAIT: The Living Heritage Project' 1999
Sponsored by the Florida Endowment for the Humanities, and the City of Alachua.
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
"Oldest Methodist Church in Florida."
The church was organized in 1822 in Newnansville, and eventually built a frame building there. With the rise of the new com-munity of Alachua, and the decline of Newnansville, the Methodists, after lengthy debate, built a white frame church on this site in 1898. In 1910 a fire destroyed the church and parsonage. The congregation used the Baptist facilities until 1913 when this red brick church, with stained glass windows, was completed.
Historic Main Street, Alachua
Historic Main Street, Alachua CSWaters-MixonHistoric Main Street, Alachua CSWaters-Mixon
2008 David & Charley Shaw Waters-Mixon with Allen Hitchcock at LeRoys Home on Main St, Alachua CSWaters-Mixon
Alachua High School,
circa 1917 - Photo: Earnest Spencer
Eva Shaw/mother, was a cheerleader for four years. During her Junior & Senior years, she was the head cheerleader. The graduating Class of 1947.
Old Alachua Main Street
Enneis Building, Main Street Alachua
Mr. W. H. Enneis, Bill Enneis, Sr., has lived in Alachua as long as I can remember. He and his father before him are associated with the Ford Motor Company, which they purchased from Charlie Marks. Came to Alachua in a Maxwell touring car, and we had four blowouts. On the last blowout, I distinctly remember my daddy taking the last tire and slinging it way out across the field. He was very mad because he had so many blowouts on one trip. When we finally got here, we lived in the McCann Hotel for six months, later this hotel burned. Mrs. W. E. Enneis was the President of the Alachua's Women Club from 1937-39. Bennie Shaw would buy a new Ford each year from W. E. Enneis & every other year a Buick or Chevr from High Springs. Barbara Graham-Langer, remembers that her husband bought their first car when they married in 1957, from Bill Enneis.
Futch Building: I.S. Futch with his brother, had a furniture store on North Main Street in the building immediately north of the old theater. Can see the Futch Building in the picture below.
CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT II - North Main St
These buildings were also early 20th century buildings. The wrecked theater building had been a dry cleaning establishment before it became a movie house. The next building housed the I.S. Futch furniture store in the 1920's. At the alley was H.N. Harris' grocery about the same time period
CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT - South Main East
This group of buildings are also part of Alachua's commercial heritage. The two-story structure, built by Leroy Pierce, was later D.S. Water's Dry Goods Store. Fiermon Welch worked for Mr. D. S. Waters in his store. Next door was J.E. Harrison's seed and feed store and then a grocery store owned by Mr. Fugate in the 1920's.
CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT I - North Main St
On the N.W. corner of Florida Avenue is the first home of the First National Bank of Alachua, organized in October of 1907. Bank officers were Dr. J.C. Bishop, president; C.A.. Williams, vice president; and G.W. McCall, formerly cashier of the Bank of High Springs, cashier. This bank is still serving Alachua. The other buildings all date from the early 1900's and were for many years the heart of Alachua's commercial activities.
Main Street 1890-1905
Originally was a dirt road lined with trees running through the middle of town. Saturday on main street in Alachua was the busiest time of the week. Local farmers from miles around would come to town with their families to buy groceries, plow lines, bridles, nails, buckets, cloth, shoes, and any other household needs. Most of the families brought their own shelled corn to Mr. Petitt`s to be ground into meal and grits. He`d do the grinding for half the corn so there was no exchange of money. The store windows had prices painted on them with white watery chalk. Inside the stores, rice, beans and sugar were scooped up out of barrels into brown paper bags and tied with white string that came down through a hook in the ceiling and up through a hole in the counter. White bacon and cured meat along with beef and pork that was recently butchered, hung behind the counter, and Mr. Hastings would cut off a pound or two at a time with the same knife he used to cut the yellow wedges of cheese. Canned goods were stacked in rows and people would wait in line for a clerk to take their order. They would fill up their kerosene cans for their lamps and put a raw potato back in the spout. Many farmers would bring eggs to sell and each would be held over a light bulb to determine if it was good.
Early in the morning the wagons would start lining up with the mules pulling into shady places where they were parked for the day. Most of them behind stores or out in the vacant lots behind Fisher`s Hotel (where the famous Ma Barker once spent the night with her boys). Everybody came dressed up in clean overalls and starched and ironed dresses, including the children. They`d spend some of the time standing around in front of the Post Office, Mr. Hasting`s or Mr. Fugate`s grocery store or Dale`s or Joiner`s Drug Store, where they`d buy liniment, Grover`s chill tonic, 666 tablets and ice cream cones. There was Mr. Stoke`s little barber shop, Mr. Eddy`s hardware store...
The Colvin Building: built originally as a cigar factory early in the 20th century, it was remodeled in the late 1920's as Fishers Hotel, serving business travelers for several years. It is now owned by Elden and Sue Colvin. Tobacco barns and packing sheds began to replace the old cotton gins...
Copeland Sausage Plant 1928
In 1928, Copeland Sausage Company opened its doors. It was first built near The Alachua Recreation Center. However, they were not allowed to kill the hogs inside the city limits. Therefore, they would kill the hogs across the street (which was not in the city limits at the time). When they built the new plant, they built it outside the city limits.
Updated news 2010: Wilbur Gene Copeland of Dasher, died on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 at his residence following a lengthy illness, at 76. He was born on April 10, 1934 in Alachua, Florida to the late Johnnie and Geneva Scruggs Copeland and has been a resident of this area since 1950. Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Martha Jean Grant Copeland of Valdosta; three sons and daughters-in-law, Kent and Cindy Copeland of Valdosta, Scott and Tamara Copeland of Dahlonega, and Burt and Michelle Copeland of Valdosta; grandchildren and their spouses, Nick and Kami Copeland, and Drew and Jennifer Copeland all of Valdosta, Megan Copeland, Kendall Copeland and Jared Copeland all of Dahlonega, Erin Copeland, Emmy Copeland, Grant Copeland and Evan Copeland all of Valdosta; two great-granddaughters, Jovie Copeland and Kady Anne Copeland both of Valdosta; beloved dog, Max. He was preceded in death by his infant sister, Myrtle Louise Copeland and a brother, Johnnie Frank Copeland.
CITY OF ALACHUA
Alachua Short History
1824 - Territorial Times
1887 - 1st Post Office
1905 - Population 526
1907 - "Newmansville" was renamed and incorporated as The City of Alachua
1925 - Population 1,100
1926 - Joseph Edgar Fugate/Waters General Store
1928 - Copeland's Sausage Company opens
1949 - Hitchcock's Market opens
1950 - Population 1,116
1960 - Population 1,974
1970 - population 2,252
1990 - Population 4,529
2000 - Population 6,098
2006 - Population 7,554
2009 - Alan Hitchcock Theater Park
2010 - Population 9,059
2015 - Population 9,732
FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
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.
Dr. James Bishop, was the only physician in Alachua for many years and father of Howard Bishop, Alachua County educator.
Bank Of Alachua
The first bank in Alachua, this structure was built in 1904 by Furman Williams. H.M. LeRoy was an officer in the bank. It fell victim of the depression and closed its doors in 1931.
The First National Bank Of Alachua
1973 ~ Barrel Bank
Alachua Sports Pub
Dan Hitchcock worked for Copeland's for 27 years...
Hitchcock's Grocery Store 2008
In 1949, Bob Hitchcock, Dan & Allen's father, opened the first store on Main Street Alachua. Betty Hitchcock, wife of Bob, worked with my father at the General Store on Main Street.
Alachua Movie Theatre
You could go in for nine cents. Alan has converted the land into a city park-see below.
Alan Hitchcock 05/13/2009
She came through one time out there. She stopped to buy some beer at Aunt
Thelma's store out there. She spent the night here in Alachua 1930's. Mary Jones mother was the cook at the hotel where Ma Barker stayed.
Lige Jenkins is the one who had the ice delivered around town.
Civilian Draft Registration
Alachua County, FL
World War I ~ 1917-1918
Alfford Jefferson Shaw 02/28/1900
Benjamin Thomas Shaw 02/07/1894
David Levi Shaw 09/28/1898
James Mallie Shaw 06/13/1899
Jerry Thomas Shaw 12/04/1876
John Shaw 03/27/1891
John Jefferson Shaw 05/21/1879
Leonard William Shaw 02/05/1892
Sol Shaw 05/28/1874
William H. Shaw 07/24/1894
William Oscar Rimes 11/03/1874
PO BOX 1909
POST FALLS, ID 83877