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Gainesville is a city in Alachua County, Floridamarker, United Statesmarker. It is the county seat and the largest city in Alachua County. Gainesville is also home to the University of Floridamarker, which is the second largest university in the State University System of Florida and the third-largest university in the United Statesmarker. Santa Fe College is also located in Gainesville.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated a 2007 population of 114,375. The Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes Alachua and Gilchrist counties, has a population of 257,099, according to 2007 Census Bureau estimates. The Gainesville MSA was ranked as the #1 place to live in the 2007 edition of Cities Ranked and Rated. Gainesville was also ranked as one of the "best places to live and play" in 2007 by National Geographic Adventure.

History

Gainesville, c.
1900.
Confederate Statue in downtown Gainesville


Gainesville's original inhabitants were the Timucua Indians. Spanish colonists began cattle ranching in the Payne's Prairiemarker area using Timucua labor and the largest ranch became known as La Chua (which combines the Spanish article La with the Timucuan word Chua, meaning sinkhole). Though the ranch was eventually destroyed by raiders from the Province of Carolina and their Indian allies, it nevertheless gave its name to the Alachua band of the Seminole tribe who settled in the region in the 1700s under the leadership of the great chief Ahaya the Cowkeeper.

Gainesville was founded to place the Alachua County seat on the proposed route of the Florida Railroad Company's line stretching from Cedar Keymarker to Fernandina Beachmarker. County residents decided to move the county seat from Newnansvillemarker (and chose the name Gainesville) in 1853, as the proposed railroad would bypass Newnansville. A site on Black Oak Ridge where the railroad was expected to cross it was selected in 1854 and a courthouse was constructed there in 1856. The new settlement was named for General Edmund P. Gaines, commander of U.S. Army troops in Florida early in the Second Seminole War. The railroad was completed from Fernandina to Gainesville in 1859, passing six blocks south of the courthouse.

Gainesville was the scene of small-scale fighting in the Civil War. On February 14, 1864, a skirmish erupted when about 50 Union troops entered the city intending to capture two trains. A portion of the Second Florida Cavalry unsuccessfully attempted to repulse this raid and was itself defeated in a street battle. The raiding party was associated with a larger invasion of Florida that was defeated at the Battle of Olustee six days later. Later that year, the Battle of Gainesville took place on August 17, 1864. Three-hundred Union troops occupying the city were attacked by the Florida Cavalry. The Federals were driven out of town and suffered significant casualties.

For several months following the Civil War, the 3rd United States Colored Troops were stationed in Gainesville, which encouraged freed men to settle there. Black residents soon outnumbered whites in Gainesville, which had had 223 white residents in 1860. The Union Academy was established in 1866 by the Freedmen's Bureau to educate freed slaves. By 1898 the school served 500 students, and continued in operation until 1929. Gainesville was incorporated in 1869. A church building shared by itinerant preachers of several denominations had been built in 1859, but formal organization of churches in Gainesville came in the 1860s and 1870s.

Following the civil war, the city prospered as a major citrus growing center, with direct rail access to ports on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. However, this prosperity ended when the great freeze of 1894 and 1899 destroyed the entire crops, and citrus growing moved permanently south to the Orlando area. Other attempts to replace this lost industry included phosphate mining, turpentine production and tung oil, each of which met with only moderate success.

Gainesville experienced many changes when the University of Floridamarker was created by the Florida Legislature in 1905. Gainesville was chosen, beating out other cities who saw their colleges close, such as Lake Citymarker and Bartowmarker. The city had the foresight to construct a modern municipal water, sewer and electric system, and was able to offer these services to a new university location for free. A site was selected at a location then considered about a mile west of town. The first classes were held at Buckman Hall in the fall of 1906.

Over the past century, the university has brought the town a youthful population, cultural opportunities, and world-class medical facilities. The sports drink Gatorade was invented in Gainesville as a means of refreshing the UF football team and UF still receives a share of the profits from the beverage. However, Gatorade's headquarters are now located in Chicagomarker, Illinoismarker.

In April 2003, Gainesville became known as the healthiest community in the United States when it achieved the only “Gold Well City” award given by the Wellness Councils of America (WELCOA). Headed up by Gainesville Health & Fitness Centers, and with the support of Shands HealthCare and the Gainesville-area Chamber of Commerce, 21 businesses comprising 60 percent of the city’s workforce became involved in the “Gold Well City” effort. As of March 2008, Gainesville remained the only city in the country to reach the achievement.

Geography and climate

Gainesville is located at 29°39'55" North, 82°20'10" West (29.665245, -82.336097), which is roughly the same latitude as Houstonmarker, Texasmarker. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which is land and is water. The total area is 1.87% water.

Gainesville's tree canopy is both dense and species rich, including both broadleaf evergreens, conifers, and deciduous species; the city has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation every year since 1982 as a "Tree City, USA".

Gainesville is the only city with more than 10,000 residents in either Alachua or Gilchrist County (the two counties in the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area), and it is surrounded by rural area, including the wilderness of Paynes Prairiemarker on its southern edge. The city is characterized by its medium size, central location, about 90 minutes driving time away from Jacksonvillemarker, two hours from Orlandomarker, and six hours from both Atlanta, Georgiamarker and Miamimarker. The area is dominated by the presence of the University of Floridamarker, the nation's third largest university. Gainesville is also known historically and colloquially as "Hogtown" after a Seminole village by the same name located near what is now called Hogtown Creek.

Climate

Gainesville's climate is defined as humid subtropical. Due to its inland location, Gainesville experiences wide temperature fluctuation for Florida. During the summer season, roughly from June 1 to September 30, the city's climate is the same as the rest of the state, with frequent downpours and high humidity. Temperatures range from the low 70s at night to around during the day on average. From early-October through late May, however, the Gainesville area has a climate distinct from peninsular Florida with occasional freezing temperatures at night and sustained freezes occurring every few years. The all time record low of 10 °F (-12 °C) was reached on January 21, 1985, and the city was struck by a substantial snow and ice storm on Christmas Eve, 1989. In winter, highs average between 66 and 69 °F (19–21 °C), and lows average between 42 and 45 °F (6–7 °C). In average winters, Gainesville will see temperatures drop below 30 °F (-1 °C). In Gainesville, cold temperatures are almost always accompanied by clear skies and high pressure systems; snow is therefore rare.

The city's flora and fauna are also distinct from coastal regions of the state, and include many deciduous species, such as dogwood, maple, hickory and sweet gum, alongside palms, live oaks, and other evergreens. Thus, the city enjoys brief periods of fall color in late November and December (though hardly comparable to areas further north) and a noticeable and prolonged spring from late February through early April. This is a generally pleasant period, as colorful blooms of azalea and redbud complement a cloudless blue sky, for this is also the period of low precipitation and lowest humidity. The city averages of precipitation per year. Summer is the wettest season, with , while fall is the driest season, with only of precipitation.

Cityscape

Alachua County Courthouse Family and Civil Justice Center
Gainesville's Downtown


Suburban sprawl has, as of late, become a concern for the city commissioners. However, the "New Urbanization" plan to gentrify the area between historic Downtown and the University of Florida may slow the growth of suburban sectors and spark a migration toward upper-level apartments in the inner city. The area immediately north of the University of Floridamarker is also seeing active redevelopment.

The east side of Gainesville houses the majority of the African-American community within the city, while the west side consists of the mainly white student and resident population. There are also large-scale planned communities on the far west side, most notably Haile Plantationmarker, which was built on the site of a former plantation and is home to the most prominent of the area.

The destruction of the city's landmark Victorian courthouse in the 1960s, which some considered unnecessary, brought the idea of historic preservation to the attention of the community. The bland county building which replaced the grand courthouse became known to some locals as the "air conditioner." Additional destruction of other historic buildings in the downtown followed, diminishing the city's historic charm. Only a small handful of older buildings are left, like the Hippodrome State Theatermarker, at one time a federal building. After many years of little progress, revitalization of the city's core has picked up, and many parking lots and underutilized buildings are being replaced with infill development and near-campus housing which blend in with existing historic structures. There is talk of rebuilding a replica of the old courthouse on a parking lot one block from the original location.

Helping in this effort are the number of areas and buildings which have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Dozens of examples of restored Victorian and Queen Anne style residences constructed in the city's agricultural heyday of the 1880s and 1890s can be found in the following districts:

Historic structures on the Register in and around downtown are:

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there are 95,447 people living within the city limits, 37,279 households, and 18,341 families residing in the city. The population of the metropolitan area as of the census of 2000 was 217,955. The population density is 1,981.0/mi² (764.9/km²). There are 40,105 housing units at an average density of 832.4/mi² (321.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 68.36% White, 23.24% African American, 0.25% Native American, 4.49% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.46% from other races, and 2.18% from two or more races. 6.40% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 37,279 households out of which 22.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.5% are married couples living together, 13.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 50.8% are non-families. 32.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.25 and the average family size is 2.90.

In the city the population is spread out with 17.8% under the age of 18, 29.4% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 16.4% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 26 years. For every 100 females there are 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 94.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $28,164, and the median income for a family is $44,263. Males have a median income of $31,090 versus $25,653 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,779. 26.7% of the population and 15.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 24.7% of those under the age of 18 and 9.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line, making Gainesville one of the poorest cities with a large public university.

Economy

Numerous guides such as the 2004 book Cities Ranked and Rated: More than 400 Metropolitan Areas Evaluated in the U.S. and Canada have mentioned Gainesville's low cost of living. The restaurants near the University of Floridamarker also tend to be inexpensive. The property taxes are high to offset the cost of the university, as the university's land is tax-exempt. However, the median home cost remains slightly below the national average, and Gainesville residents, like all Floridians, do not pay state income taxes.

This city's job market scored only 6 points out of a possible 100 in the Cities Ranked and Rated guide, as the downside to the low cost of living is an extremely weak local job market that is oversupplied with college-educated residents. The University of Floridamarker, the Shands Healthcare system (a private-public-university partnership), and the city government are the largest employers in the city, although other large employers include Nationwide Insurancemarker and CH2M Hill. The median income in Gainesville is slightly below the U.S. average.

Solar Power Feed-In Tariff Program

City of Gainesville promotes solar power by allowing small businesses and house owners supply electricity into city power grid under favorable tariff. Presently purchasing rate is set at $0.32 per kilowatt-hour.

Education

All of the Gainesville urban area is served by Alachua County Public Schools, which has some 75 different institutions in the county, most of which are in the Gainesville area. Gainesville is also home to the University of Floridamarker and Santa Fe College. The University of Florida is a major financial boost to the community, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional revenues are created by the athletic events that occur at UF, including SEC football games. In all the University of Florida contributes nearly $6 billion annually to Florida's economy and is responsible for nearly 75,000 jobs.

Other educational institutions include: City College (Gainesville campus), P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, Buchholz High School, Gainesville High School, Eastside High School, Oak Hall School, and Saint Francis Catholic High Schoolmarker.

The Alachua County Library District provides public library service to a county-wide population of approximately 190,655. The Library District has reciprocal borrowing agreements with the surrounding counties of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lafayette, Levy, Marion, Putnam and Union. These agreements are designed to facilitate access to the most conveniently located library facility regardless of an individual's county of residence.

Transportation



Gainesville has an extensive road system, which is served by Interstate 75, and several Florida State Routes, including State routes 20, 24, and 26, among others. Gainesville is also served by US 441 and nearby US 301, which gives a direct route to Jacksonville, Ocalamarker, and Orlandomarker.

The city's streets are set up on a grid system with four quadrants (NW, NE, SW and SE). All streets are numbered, except for a few major thoroughfares which are often named for the towns to which they lead (such as Waldomarker Road (SR 24), Hawthornemarker Road (SR 20), Willistonmarker Road (SR 121), Archermarker Road (also SR 24) and Newberrymarker Road (SR 26). Streets ending in the suffixes Avenue, Place, Road or Lane (often remembered by use of the acronym "APRiL") run generally east-west, while all other streets run generally north-south.

Daily Amtrak service to and from Waldo, NE of the city, has been replaced with Amtrak shuttle buses which re-connect with the rail system further south. Full Amtrak service is available at Palatkamarker, to the east.

In addition to its extensive road network, Gainesville is also served by Gainesville Regional Transit System, or RTS, which is the fourth largest mass transit system in the state. The area is also served by Gainesville Regional Airportmarker in the northeast part of the city, with daily service to Atlantamarker and Charlottemarker.

According to the 2000 Census, 5.25 percent ofGainesville residents commute to work by bike, among the highest figures in thenation for a major population center.

Music scene

Gainesville is traditionally well-known for its music scene and has spawned a number of bands and musicians including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Steven Stills, Don Felder and Bernie Leadon of The Eagles, Against Me!, Less Than Jake, Hot Water Music, John Vanderslice, CYNE, Sister Hazel, Roach Motel, I Hate Myself, and For Squirrels. It is also currently the location of independent label No Idea Records and the former home of Plan It X Records, which has moved to Cairo, IL. No Idea puts on the annual 3 day rock festival known as The Fest and the Harvest of Hope Festival in St. Augustine, Florida.

Between 1987 and 1992 Gainesville was a big rock scene, with Hollywood star River Phoenix having the local Hardback Cafe as his main base. Together with N-Dolphin, Tone Unknown and many others, River's band Aleka's Attic was a constant feature of the rock scene. The Phoenix family is still a presence in Gainesville with Rain Phoenix's band Papercranes and Liberty Phoenix's eco friendly store, Indigo.

During the mid to late 90's, punk and ska defined the local scene and saw the rise of several of the bands listed above.

Today, Gainesville is still known for its strong music community and was named "Best Place to Start a Band in the United States" by Blender Magazine in March 2008. The article cited the large student population, cheap rent, and friendly venues as reasons why. Furthermore, the University of Florida supports local music by hosting local, regional, and national bands on a regular basis via various student organizations.

Over the past decade, Gainesville has been home to everything from the latin, afrobeat sounds of Umoja Orchestra, the hardcore sound of Bad Year, the indie rock Beat Buttons, the psychedelic rock of Morningbell, the epic rock of Liquid Limbs, the electronica, industrial collective Electronic SubSouth, the North Central Florida Blues Society, the alt country Swayze, the reggae sounds of The Duppies and 3rd Stone, ska staples The Know How, and countless others.

As of summer 2008, the town supports over a dozen music venues, such as The Common Grounds, The Atlantic, and 1982, as well as DIY, all ages venues like Wayward Council, The Kickstand, and the Civic Media Center.

The music community is well served by the website www.gainesvillebands.com, which is a free open forum for all things music in Gainesville.

Gainesville's reputation as an independent music mecca can be traced back to October 1984 when a local music video station was brought on the air. The station was called TV-69, broadcast on UHF 69 and was owned by Cozzin Communications. The channel drew a lot of local media attention thanks in part to its promotion by famous comedian Bill Cosby, who was part-owner of that station when it started. TV-69 featured many videos by punk and indy-label bands and even had several locally produced videos ("Clone Love" by a local parody band, and a Dinosaur Jr song).

Culture

Gainesville is known as a supporter of the visual arts, as well. Each year, two large art festivals attract artists and visitors from all over the southeastern United States. The Spring Arts Festival is hosted each year, usually in early April, by Santa Fe College (formerly Santa Fe Community College). The Downtown Festival and Art Show is hosted each fall by the City of Gainesville.

Cultural facilities include the Florida Museum of Natural Historymarker, Harn Museum of Artmarker, the Hippodrome State Theatremarker, Curtis M.marker Phillips Center for the Performing Artsmarker, and The Civic Media Center. Smaller theaters include the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre (ART) and the Gainesville Community Playhouse (GCP). GCP is the oldest community theater group in Florida; in 2006, it christened a new theater building.

The presence of a major university enhances the city's opportunities for cultural lifestyles. The University of Florida College of Fine Arts is the umbrella college for the School of Music, School of Theatre and Dance, School of Art and Art History, and a number of other programs and centers including The University Galleries, the Center for World Art, and Digital Worlds. Collectively, the College offers many performance events and artist/lecture opportunities for students and the greater Gainesville community, the majority of which are offered at little or no cost.

The city was the center of the Gainesville Eight case in the 1970s. It is known to some as the Berkeleymarker of the South. This nickname was probably afforded to Gainesville because of the presence of a relatively prestigious university, and the liberal tendencies of its voting base. The counties surrounding Alachua County vote strongly Republican, while Alachua County votes strongly Democratic. In the 2008 election, there was a 22% gap in votes in Alachua county between Barack Obama and John McCain, while the remaining eleven candidates on the ballot and write-in votes received approximately 1.46% of the vote.

The National Coalition for the Homeless cited Gainesville in 2004 as the 5th meanest city for their criminalization of homelessness. The city of Gainesville has a number of ordinances that target the homeless, including an anti-panhandling measure, restrictions on groups that give free meals, and a measure making it illegal to sleep outside on public property. In response, the Gainesville City Commission wrote a 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness.

Gainesville is renowned in the recreational drug culture for "Gainesville Green", a particularly potent strain of marijuana. Orange and Blue magazine published a full-length article in Fall of 2003 about the history of Gainesville Green and the local marijuana culture in general. In the mid-1990s, there were several Gainesville Hemp Festivals which took place outside of the Alachua county courthouse.

The North Central Florida area in which Gainesville is located is known to natives as the "end of The South". This is most likely due to the fact that south of Alachua County, starting somewhere north of Orlando, there are fewer native Floridians (and effectively native Southerners) and the sprawling development that defines South and Central Florida begins.

Annual cultural events



Media

Television

Gainesville is the 162nd-largest television market in the nation, as measured by Nielsen Media Research. Broadcast television stations in the Gainesville market consist of WCJBmarker, an ABC affiliate in Gainesville; WGFLmarker, a CBS affiliate broadcasting from High Springsmarker; WOGXmarker, a Fox affiliate from Ocalamarker; and WUFTmarker, the PBS station affiliated with the University of Floridamarker in Gainesville. NBC affiliate WNBWmarker began broadcasting in the city on Jan 1, 2009.

Radio

Arbitron ranks the Gainesville-Ocala market as the nation's 83rd-largest. Thirteen radio stations are licensed to operate in the city of Gainesville—five AM stations, six commercial FM stations, and two low-power non-commercial FM stations. Three of the stations (WRUF-AM, WRUF-FMmarker, and WUFT-FM) are operated by broadcasting students at the University of Florida. WUFT-FM is the city's NPR member station, while the WRUF stations are operated as commercial stations.

Print

Gainesville is served by The Gainesville Sun and The Independent Florida Alligator, the student newspaper for the University of Floridamarker and Santa Fe College.

Points of interest



See also



References

  1. Rajtar. 21-5
  2. Rajtar. 27-8, 31-6
  3. Gainesville, Florida Solar Power Feed-In Tariff Program Maxed Out Before It Begins
  • Hildreth, Charles H. and Merlin G. Cox. (1981) History of Gainesville, Florida, 1854–1979. Alachua County Historical Society. ISBN 0-9672788-4-8
  • Rajtar, Steve. (2007) A Guide to Historic Gainesville. Charleston, South Carolina: History Press. ISBN 978-1-59629-217-8


External links




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