Thursday, November 29, 2007

Gainesville is the largest city and county seat of Alachua County, Florida.

Gainesville is located at 29°39'55" North, 82°20'10" West (29.665245, -82.336097),which is roughly the same latitude as Houston, Texas. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.1 square miles (127 km²), of which 48.2 square miles (125 km²) is land and 0.9 square miles (2 km²) is water. The total area is 1.87% water.
Gainesville is one of the southernmost cities in the United States where deciduous trees predominate, and has been recognized every year since 1982 as a "Tree City, USA". There are deciduous trees farther south, but they are not as abundant as they are from Alachua County northward. The city is also an important way station for automobile travelers, as it is located nearly midway between Atlanta and Miami, five hours from Miami, and five from Atlanta.
The North 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 or Marion 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. However, it should be noted that due to large levels of migration, much of it related to the University of Florida, the western sector of the city holds more in common culturally and visually with Central and Southern Florida, whereas the eastern sector of the city holds more in common culturally and visually with "the South".

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 as the city tried to modernize, but succeeded in diminishing the city's historic charm. 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:
There are three listings for places on the outskirts of Gainesville:

Northeast Gainesville Residential District
Southeast Gainesville Residential District
Pleasant Street Historic District
Bailey Plantation House (1854)
Matheson Center Home (1867)
Thomas Hotel (1928)
The Old Post Office (now the Hippodrome State Theatre) (1913)
Masonic Temple (1913)
Seagle Building (1937), thirteen stories, downtown's only "skyscraper."
Baird Hardware Company Warehouse (1910)
Cox Furniture Store (1887)
Cox Furniture Warehouse (c. 1890)
Epworth Hall (1884)
Old Gainesville Depot (1850s)
Mary Phifer McKenzie House (1895)
Star Garage (1903)
Liberty Hill Schoolhouse (????)
Boulware Springs Water Works (1895)
Kanapaha (c. 1854-56) Cityscape
As of the census

Gainesville has a fairly well-known punk and ska music scene and has spawned a number of bands including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Less Than Jake, The Usuals, Hot Water Music (hence The Draft), Against Me!, Sister Hazel, and For Squirrels. It is also the location of the independent label No Idea Records and the annual underground rock festival known as The Fest, which is co-operated by No Idea. The hip hop scene is just as well known with artists such as Ciara, Lil Boosie, Young Jeezy, Snoop Dogg, and in her earlier years Lil Mama, performing in the area.
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).
Cultural facilities include the Florida Museum of Natural History, Harn Museum of Art, the Hippodrome State Theatre, Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and The Civic Media Center. Smaller theaters include the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre (ART) and the Gainesville Community Playhouse (GCP). GCP is the oldest community theatre group in Florida, and last year christened a new theatre building.
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 Florida 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 Florida, the Shands Healthcare system (a private-public-university partnership), and the city government are the only major employers for the city. The median income in Gainesville is slightly below the U.S. average.
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 Plantation, which was built on the site of a former plantation.
Gainesville is informally called "Hogtown" by many current and former residents, after Hogtown Creek, which runs through the city and was the original name of a town nearby, which was eventually incorporated into the growing city. It was the center of the Gainesville Eight case in the 1970s, and is known to some as the Berkeley 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. All of the counties surrounding Alachua County vote heavily Republican, while Gainesville votes strongly Democratic. In the 2000 election there was a 15% gap in votes in Alachua county between Gore and Bush, while Nader received under 4%. This liberal lean is attributed to the presence of the University in tandem with the presence of a large black community that consistently votes Democratic.
The city is characterized by its medium size, semi-rural location (about 90 minutes driving time away from Jacksonville or Orlando), and large public university. 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 Florida is also seeing active redevelopment.
The National Coalition for the Homeless cited Gainesville in 2004 as the 5th meanest city for their criminalization of homelessness.

All of the Gainesville urban area is served by the School Board of Alachua County, 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 Florida and Santa Fe Community 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.
Other educational institutions include Saint Leo University, City College/Gainesville Campus, P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School, Gainesville High School, Eastside High School, Buchholz High School, Santa Fe High School and Saint Francis Catholic High School.
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.

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, Ocala, and Orlando. The primary intersection in the city is the intersection of 13th Street (US 441), the main north-south route, and University Avenue (SR 26) the main east-west route. This intersection is at the northeast corner of the University of Florida campus and thirteen blocks west of the center of downtown, where Main Street intersects University Avenue.
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 Waldo Road (SR 24), Hawthorne Road (SR 20), Williston Road (SR 121), Archer Road (also SR 24) and Newberry Road (SR 26). Residents sometimes use the acronym APRiL to remember the orientation of the streets on the grid: all streets with the suffix Avenue, Place, Road, or Lane run east-west. Any other suffix denotes a street that runs north-south.
Daily Amtrak service to and from Waldo, 12 miles (19 km) 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 Palatka, 32 miles (51 km) 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 Airport in the northeast part of the city, with daily service to Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

Gainesville is served by the following Newspapers:

The Gainesville Sun
The Independent Florida Alligator Gainesville, Florida Media

Florida Museum of Natural History (including the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit)
Harn Museum of Art
Hippodrome State Theatre
Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
University of Florida
The Devil's Millhopper
Payne's Prairie
Civic Media Center
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park
Lake Alice
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field
Stephen C. O'Connell Center
Newnan's Lake
Ligature Design Symposium
Gainesville Raceway Points of interest
This section has been tagged since July 2007.
Celebrities that live or have lived in Gainesville include:

Notable residents


Aslyn, singer/songwriter Musicians

Lisa Nicole Carson, actress Actors/Performers
Chris Leak, NFL Draft pick

Corey Brewer, NBA Draft pick
Lyubov Denisova, Marathon runner
Doug Dickey, Hall of Fame Football Coach
Ric Flair, professional wrestling personality
Taurean Green, NBA Draft pick
Al Horford, NBA Draft pick
Darrell Jackson, football player
Marty Liquori, Olympic track & field athlete and TV announcer
Roger Maris, baseball player (first to break Babe Ruth's home run record)
Andrew Miller, baseball player
Heather Mitts, soccer player
Rodney Mullen, professional skateboarder
Joakim Noah, NBA Draft pick
Clinton Portis, football player
Chris Richard, NBA Draft pick
Emmitt Smith, professional football player
Steve Spurrier, football player and coach
Abby Wambach, soccer player
Bernard Williams, sprinter and Olympic gold medalist
Jack Youngblood, professional football player & NFL Hall of Famer Athletes

Kiki Carter, environmental activist, organizer, musician, writer
Michael Connelly, multiple-bestselling thriller/mystery writer
Harry Crews, Southern Gothic author
Nancy Yi Fan, children's book author
Joe Haldeman, science fiction author
Tom Meek, newspaper columnist and writer Other Notable Individuals
Other celebrity ties to Gainesville include Faye Dunaway, who went to the University of Florida, Malcolm Gets, who grew up there, graduated from the university, and wrote and performed at the Community Playhouse and the Hippodrome, and Bob Vila, who graduated from the College of Journalism and Communications. Renee Richards lived in Gainesville for a time.

Against Me!
Aleka's Attic
As Friends Rust
The Draft
Hot Water Music
Less than Jake
Sister Hazel

No comments: