Gainesville in Florida

Friday, 17 November 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Universities, Colleges, Academies
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Hippodrome State Theatre © soulbust/cc-by-sa-4.0

Hippodrome State Theatre © soulbust/cc-by-sa-4.0

Gainesville is the county seat of Alachua County, Florida, and the largest city in North Central Florida, with a population of 141,085 in 2020. It is the principal city of the Gainesville metropolitan area, which had a population of 339,247 in 2020. Gainesville is home to the University of Florida, the fourth-largest public university campus by enrollment in the United States as of the 2021–2022 academic year. The university is represented by the Florida Gators sports teams in NCAA competitions.

Gainesville is the only city with more than 10,000 residents in the Gainesville, Florida, metropolitan statistical area (Alachua, Levy and Gilchrist counties), and it is surrounded by rural area, including the 21,000-acre (8,500 ha) wilderness of Paynes Prairie on its southern edge. The city is characterized by its medium size and central location, about two hours’ driving time from either Jacksonville or Orlando, three hours from Tampa, and six hours from either Atlanta or Miami. The area is dominated by the University of Florida, which in 2008 was the third-largest university by enrollment in the US, and as of 2021 was the fourth-largest.

There is archeological evidence, from about 12,000 years ago, of the presence of Paleo Indians in the Gainesville area, although it is not known if there were any permanent settlements. A Deptford culture campsite existed in Gainesville and was estimated to have been used between 500 BCE and 100 CE. The Deptford people moved south into Paynes Prairie and Orange Lake during the first century and evolved into the Cades Pond culture. The Deptford people who remained in the Gainesville area were displaced by migrants from southern Georgia sometime in the seventh century. These migrants evolved into the Alachua culture and they built their burial mound on top of the Deptford culture campsite. When Europeans made first contact in the area, the Potano lived in the area. They were descendants of the Alachua culture people. European contact diminished the numbers of native peoples (through disease, enslavement, war) and Spanish colonists began cattle ranching in the Paynes Prairie area in the 18th century. The Spanish ceded Florida to the US in 1821. Gainesville was established in 1854 and named after Edmund P. Gaines. The town of Gainesville was incorporated in 1869 and chartered as a city in 1907. The University of the State of Florida was moved from Lake City to Gainesville in 1906 and its name was simplified to University of Florida in 1909.

Downtown © reedberkowitz/cc-by-sa-4.0 Student housing © Rbrko/cc-by-sa-4.0 Hippodrome State Theatre © soulbust/cc-by-sa-4.0 Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art © WillMcC/cc-by-sa-3.0 Sledd Hall at University of Florida © Ebyabe/cc-by-sa-3.0 Downtown © Rbrko/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Sledd Hall at University of Florida © Ebyabe/cc-by-sa-3.0
Since the 1990s, suburban sprawl has been a concern for a majority of the city commissioners. 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 is also seeing active redevelopment. Many gentrification plans rely on tax incentives that have sparked controversy and are sometimes unsuccessful. University Corners, which would not have been proposed without a $98 million tax incentive program by the city, was to be “a crowning jewel of the city’s redevelopment efforts”, 450 condos and hotel units and 98,000 square feet (9,100 m²) of retail space in eight stories covering three city blocks, on 3.4 acres (1.4 ha) purchased for $15.5 million. 19 thriving businesses were demolished in April 2007, but in May 2008 deposit checks were refunded to about 105 people who reserved units, and in July 2008 developers spent “$120,000 to beautify the site, so we won’t have this ugly green fence”.

Gainesville’s east side houses the majority of the city’s African-American community, while the west side consists of the mainly student and White resident communities. West of the city limits are large-scale planned communities, most notably Haile Plantation, which was built on the site of its eponymous former plantation.

The destruction of the city’s landmark Victorian courthouse in the 1960s, which some considered unnecessary, brought the idea of historic preservation to the community’s attention. The bland county building that replaced the grand courthouse became known to some locals as the “air conditioner”. Additional destruction of the downtown area’s historic buildings has left a small handful of older buildings, like the Hippodrome State Theatre, at one time a federal building. However, revitalization of the city’s core has picked up, and the city is replacing many parking lots and underutilized buildings with infill development and near-campus housing that blend with existing historic structures. There is a proposal to rebuild 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 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:

Additionally, the University of Florida Campus Historic District, consisting of 11 buildings and 14 contributing properties, lies within the city’s boundaries. Most of the buildings in the Campus Historic District are constructed in variations of Collegiate Gothic architecture, which returned to prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Read more on visitGainesville.com, VisitTheUSA.com – Gainesville, Wikivoyage Gainesville and Wikipedia Gainesville (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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