Young, orphaned Mary Lennox (Gennie James) leaves her residence in India to live with her uncle Archibald Craven (Derek Jacobi) at his lavish manor in Yorkshire, England. ChazzCreations - City of Alachua 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.
Ignored by her heartless uncle, Mary finds refugee in a hidden garden tended by a boy named Dickon Sowerby (Barret Oliver). One day, Mary is amazed to discover a miraculous power emanating from the garden, which begins to thaw long-withheld affections in the Craven household -- even healing Archibald's ailing son. 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. In the early 1800`s Alachua County was a wild land inhabited and controlled by the Seminole Indians. 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 This area was then called "Dell`s Post Office" in one historical document and in another it is referred to as "Dell`s Court House".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). 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.
The county`s land area has decreased considerably over the years. "I have a true passion for photography, creavitity, and secrets that photography allows youto explore.
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. During the Second Seminole War (1835-1842), hundreds of displaced settlers were sheltered there and at Ft. 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. 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.
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. Williams will soon remove his stock of merchandise from Newnansville to his new town," the advocate reported. On April 12th, 1905 the City of Alachua was officially incorporated and had a population of 526. 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 cost of water was $1 per month "for the first opening and 25 cents for each additional opening." Alachua Depot 1975By this time in 1915, the new township of Alachua had constructed two church buildings, Baptist and Methodist. The school building stood on the hill "to the northeast of town." At first, there were seven teachers. 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. It still had two banks and its own utilities but all three churches now had their own building. Main street originally was a dirt road lined with trees running through the middle of town. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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.
Therefore, they would kill the hogs across the street (which was not in the city limits at the time).
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. 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."  Bill Ennis moved to Alachua in 1923 and helped his father open Ennis Motor Company. The streets were Imed with large oaks and US 441 ran straight through town turning at the south end to go out by Copeland Sausage Company. Bill remembered eating at the Hawkins House operated by the Skirvin Family where everyone sat at one big table and paid $1 .00 for all you could eat. The wagons didn't stop coming suddenly but slowly dwindled to a trickle with the advent of the Model T.
By 1940 a horse and buggy or a mule drawn wagon was seldom seen.The City of Alachua continued to grow. 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.
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. Thigpen had a big black and white marble counter top, and if you could reach up to it you could get yourself a Coke.
Martin's store was across the street on the corner, and the bank was on the other corner, and that was just about it. 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 is presently the residence of George Stevens. Historic Main Street, Alachua JWShaw ALACHUA WOMEN'S CLUBOriginally 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. Williams will soon remove his stock of merchandise from Newnansville to his new town," the advocate reported. The wagons didn't stop coming suddenly but slowly dwindled to a trickle with the advent of the Model T. Martin's store was across the street on the corner, and the bank was on the other corner, and that was just about it.
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.



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