Micanopy Historical Trail
1....Print this file.
2....At its end, click on "rules" to see a copy of the trail rules, print it, and then click where indicated at the end of the 3-page rules and patch order form to get back to the list of Florida trails.
3....If you want a hand-drawn map showing the locations of all of the sites, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Steve Rajtar, 1614 Bimini Dr., Orlando, FL 32806.
4....Hike the trail and order whatever patches you like (optional).
WARNING - This trail may pass through one or more neighborhoods which, although full of history, may now be unsafe for individuals on foot, or which may make you feel unsafe there. Hikers have been approached by individuals who have asked for handouts or who have inquired (not always in a friendly manner) why the hikers are in their neighborhood. Drugs and other inappropriate items have been found by hikers in some neighborhoods. It is suggested that you drive the hike routes first to see if you will feel comfortable walking them and, if you don't think it's a good place for you walk, you might want to consider (1) traveling with a large group, (2) doing the route on bicycles, or (3) choosing another hike route. The degree of comfort will vary with the individual and with the time and season of the hike, so you need to make the determination using your best judgment. If you hike the trail, you accept all risks involved.
John Robert Mountain, the owner of one of the two cars in Micanopy at the time, built this garage and filling station in about 1913. The next operator of the garage was his son, Samuel William "Buster" Mountain. This was the bus stop for the Blue Bus Line during the 1930s.
Built in about 1925, this drug store had Dr. Ira A. Dailey's medical office upstairs. Downstairs, there was a soda fountain with a mirrored cabinet wall and a white marble counter. In addition to the office, the second floor contained the Dailey family apartment and hotel rooms.
Dr. W.C. Johnson, a practicing physician, and his family lived here in a large two-story white home with a white picket fence. The hand-dug well in the yard can still be found.
While the Micanopy Public Library was next door, this tin building served as the children's section and was called the Little Story House. When it was built in the 1920s, it was the electric and radio repair shop of Cody Hunter.
This was originally known as the Johnson Block. The present building was erected in 1903 by Otis Laney Feaster, Jr. with a general store, drug store and telephone office on the first floor, and the town council and dental offices on the second floor. The third floor was the Opera House, used for theatrical and Chautauqua productions. In the early 1900s, it also housed the post office. It was later converted to an art gallery and residences.
Located here were Mr. Hickson's drug store, then a millinery shop, the Micanopy Fur Trading Company, a barber shop and pool hall, and the Micanopy post office. It began before 1885 with two stories, was partially destroyed by fire, and rebuilt with today's one story. Edward Cooper Chitty sold general merchandise here.
This bank located here was founded in 1906 by John Jacob Barr when Micanopy was a very prosperous town. The red brick building remains, with the marble and iron grills of the tellers' cages and large vault. For a time, the post office was located in this building. Later, it became an antique store with apartments to the rear and upstairs. This building has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
By 1850, this was the site of the stores of Mr. Schimmetail and John H. Zewadski, an officer in the Polish army and a political refugee.
Dr. Cooper and his son-in-law, Augustus Mathers, erected a building here in 1853, later known as The Old Reliable Drug Store. In the building was the first post office, with Dr. A.H. Mathers as the postmaster. It was a regular passenger and mail stop for the stagecoach, which left Newnansville and went around the west end of the prairie, and entered Micanopy from the west on Newnansville St. (approximately Seminary Ave.), then turned south to the town square.
The building burned in 1867, and was rebuilt in 1871 with the same foundation and front door with a letter drop. It was later expanded with a large two-story wing with the telephone exchange on the first floor. It was bought for a hotel and became the Palm Inn, famous for its food and hospitality in the 1890s and early 1900s. It burned down in about 1935.
When this was a garage, it had gas pumps in front. It was later an ice cream parlor and then an antique store.
This was "downtown" Micanopy in its early days. It is believed that it was the site of Edward M. Wanton's Trading Post.
Wanton established his store in 1821, and it attracted settlers who wished to homestead portions of the Arredondo Grant, which was opened for settlement on September 3, 1817. When Dr. William Simmons was asked to help locate a site for the territorial capital, he traveled through Micanopy in 1822 and visited with Wanton. Simmons speculated that Micanopy would become the capital of Florida, and two years later the settlement, then named Wanton, was named the temporary county seat.
All early important meetings in this part of the state were held at Wanton's. He had come to the area with Horatio S. Dexter, who was hired by Don Fernando de la Maza Arredondo to establish friendly relations with the Indians so that peaceful settlement of the area could occur. Wanton, a trader, had lived with the Indians for years.
In 1848, Dr. James A. Cooper's daughter married Augustus Henry Mathers of Madison, Florida. They moved to Micanopy, and Cooper and his son-in-law Mathers opened their apothecary shop in 1853.
The original house on this site, which faced south, was built by Cooper. That house was later torn down. In 1910, James Boyce Simonton built the present Victorian style home, which the Gainesville Sun in 1911 described as one of the prettiest houses in Micanopy. It has Ionic columns and a porte cochere. Simonton raised cattle on his ranch.
The two magnolia trees flanking the driveway were planted by Cooper in the late 1850s. The live oak tree in the backyard has been estimated to date to the late 18th century.
The old well located here was examined by experts from the University of Florida and determined to date to the territorial days of Florida.
At this site was the home of Judge George W. Means, who was a trustee of the Micanopy Presbyterian Church.
Pioneer settler James Edwards was one of the first settlers in the Arredondo Grant. He was born in Devonshire, England, in 1793 and came to the U.S. in 1819. He moved to this area in 1822, but fled in about 1835 during the Seminole Wars. Edwards returned to Micanopy in 1865 to live with his son.
In 1861, the Tuscawilla School for Girls was located near here. Mary McIlvane Simmons from Philadelphia was its principal.
This church was established in 1886 on land bought from Capt. W.D. Evins, who also gave land for the right of way of the Florida Southern Railroad in 1882 and had the station, Evinston, named after him. The church held camp revival meeings for two weeks each year with the railroad providing special excursion trains. In 1973, the original wooden church was replaced by the present sanctuary. Behind it is the pioneer cemetery.
This home was built by W.P. Shettleworth in about 1884, and later belonged to his daughter, Mrs. Raymond Cromartie. It was restored and modernized by Drs. Stephen and Anne Mudra.
W.P. Shettleworth built this as a warehouse of heart pine for S.H. Benjamin in 1884. It was bought by Joseph L. Wolfenden from Wisconsin, who converted it to a general store and post office, and there were a number of owners through the end of the century.
The building was purchased in 1909 by H.D. Wood and Robert Evins. It still contains the original post office boxes and equipment. It was moved here, about 100 feet south of its original spot across from the railroad depot. It was used in the 1977 movie adaptation of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' short story "Gal Young'un".
A spur track from the main railroad line across the highway permitted the direct loading of boxes of fruit for shipment to northern markets. This area was well known for citrus prior to 1882, but was devastated by the freezes of 1894, 1895 and 1899. The railroad was discontinued in 1956 and the tracks were taken up in 1982.
In about 1890, this house with an unusual star-shaped attic vent was built by J.F. Barron. He and W.A. Johnson ran a store in a building to the south of the house. Later, Johnson acquired the house.
The two chimneys standing here are the ruins of the home of J.B. Hester, built in about 1885. It was later the home of his daughter, Eva, and her husband, Albert Vidal. It burned down in 1977.
This congregation first held services in the schoolhouse. Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Wolfenden donated the land on which this church was built in 1909. At the time, the congregation was led by Rev. C.J. Grace.
Capt. William Drayton Evins, a Confederate army veteran from South Carolina, acquired extensive lands along the western shore of Orange Lake in 1879. He built this house during the mid-1880s. A small tombstone near the road marked the grave of his young son.
The home of David McCredie, who moved here from Scotland in 1856, was built here by his brother in 1871. It was constructed of locally-cut heart pine without paint or stain, and had Victorian decorations cut by hand by the builder. It had a wood shingle roof, later replaced by tin. A large bay window in the parlor was to the right of the entrance door.
This lot ws owned by Dr. George B. Payne, who moved here from Virginia in 1835. This is the oldest known house in Micanopy, with two front rooms dating back to a two-room log office built by Dr. James A. Stewart on the lot he bought from Payne in 1855. His widow, Martha E. Stewart, sold it to William Edwards in 1872.
The house has been enlarged through the years, including the addition of two sand-rock chimneys, two stories, a kitchen ell, storage area, and a servant's room. In 1916, following the death of Julia Goldsmith Edwards (William Edwards' widow), John Duskin Merry bought the house. During the following year, he added a front porch with an octagon at the northeast corner, with porches all around.
Back from the street, behind the Chitty Store, were wooden frame buildings including a large one used for meetings. William Jennings Bryan, while campaigning for president, once spoke here.
Dr. Montgomery had his medical office in a building located here. The entrance was from Ocala Ave., and he kept his horse and buggy in the stable in back of the office. The present building was erected in about 1925 to house the telephone equipment.
This Frame Vernacular style house was built in about 1925 by John Barr Watkins. The telephone operator lived in it so there would be a full-time operator on duty, and the switchboard was in the parlor. The telephone equipment was in the brick building in the back.
The oldest orange grove in the area was planted here by Dr. George Payne, a physician who was one of the earliest settlers. In 1853, he sold the property to John Jacob Barr, who in about 1870 built a beautiful two-story home with lovely gardens beneath a pair of twin oaks. The Barr house burned down in the early 1920s, and Barr's son-in-law, Dr. J.D. Watkins, rebuilt the home in a Spanish style.
A legend has the twin oaks as the Council Oaks of Chief Micanopy used in the 1830s. Their earliest documented mention began in 1883. They were severely damaged when the Barr house burned and were saved by pruning and cutting back.
This Craftsman style Bungalow was designed by Shields Warren of Gainesville in 1916. J.J. Barr built the home for his niece, Caroline Barr, who married John D. Watkins.
This Craftsman Bungalow was built in 1923 by John William Barr when he married Rosebud. It is stuccoed and has brick accents. The dormers are false.
When Hernando de Soto came through here in 1539, there was a Timucua Indian village of the Potano tribe in this area.
Chief Micanopy had his camp northwest of Lake Tuscawilla, near a small pond now called Barr Pond. The area now known as Micanopy was the Indian village of Cuscowilla by 1750. It was inhabited by Oconee Creeks from Georgia, led by Chief Cowkeeper. They continued to support the British after the Revolutionary War, following the re-occupation of Florida by Spain.
In the late 1770s, Chief Cowkeeper died and was succeeded by Chief (King) Payne, for whom Paynes Prairie to the north is named. By this time, the Indians were known as the Alachua "Seminoles". Col. Newnan and American troops attacked the settlement in 1812 and killed Chief Payne, who was succeeded by Chief Micanopy. To avoid further bloodshed, the Indians moved south to what are now Lake and Sumter Counties.
Fort Micanopy, also known as Fort Defiance, was located near Lake Tuscawilla and was active here during the Second Seminole War. It was a picket work with blockhouses at the corners, about 250 feet square. Officers' quarters were inside. After it was closed the first time, it was reestablished on April 30, 1837, and existed until 1843.
This cottage was built in 1900 on adjacent land, and then was moved here when that land was deeded to the Baptist church. It may have been used as its pastorium. John Beville, Sr. owned it, and sold it to the Smyths. It was later owned by George and Lydie Blocker.
The Micanopy Baptist Church was organized in 1852, and the first building was erected in 1860 behind this site. It was torn down in 1866 and replaced in the 1880s by the present structure, and during the following year, the Women's Missionary Union was organized in it. In the 1960s, it was outgrown and replaced by a new church building on Cholokka Blvd. This building was then sold and remodeled into apartments.
Three houses of Dr. Lucius Montgomery, Sr. located on this corner at various times all burned down. The first was two stories with a two-story cupola, which burned in 1895. The second was built that same year and featured a wall on the north side built of bricks previously used as ballast in English ships. A remnant of that wall, with a Victorian Gothic entrance and wrought iron gate, is all that remains.
Along the east and west sides of the 20-acre tract were long clipped hedges, and an orange grove was in the back. That house burned down in 1911 because of a defective fireplace flue. Montgomery suffered an uninsured $10,000 loss. The third house of Montgomery, who had come to this area in 1868, was built in late 1911 and burned down during the 1930s.
This cemetery founded in 1826 includes as its earliest grave, that of James W. Martin who died that year. Markers range from simple wooden ones to ornate Victorian sculptures.
The Florida Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church established the East Florida Seminary here in 1852. The original building was located near the edge of the Micanopy Cemetery, on 40 acres donated by Joel B. Smith of Micanopy. They planned to build two brick buildings, one for boys and one for girls, but wound up with just one wooden building. Its cornerstone is located in the archives of Florida Southern College in Lakeland.
Although it has the same name as a school which was started in 1853 in Gainesville, and which became a part of the University of Florida, the two are unrelated. This school closed down in 1860 shortly after Rev. John C. Ley, its principal, teacher, financial agent, and president of the board of trustees, left to become a chaplain for the 2nd Florida Regiment in 1860.
The school building was bought by George Riggs, who used the first floor for a workshop and the second story became a public school. The building was later purchased by W.W. Geiger, who had it torn down by 1908.
On a portion of this property bordering on Seminary Ave. and facing west, was a small Episcopal church donated by D.R. Wright. It was moved here in 1899 from Wade, Florida. It was torn down during the early 1920s.
In 1827, circuit rider Rev. John L. Jerry was appointed to a circuit including St. Augustine, Cowford (Jacksonville), Fernandina, Newnansville, and Micanopy. He formed a Methodist mission here under the jurisdiction of the South Carolina Conference until the Florida Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was formed in 1845.
The first church building for this congregation was erected in 1859, and had a gallery around the top for slaves. It was the host site of the 1859-60 16th Methodist Conference. It was torn down during the 1880s.
The second church building had a Gothic design with a tall spire, and was built in 1892. It also burned, when on November 16, 1933, it caught a spark from a burning house across the street. It was replaced with the present sanctuary, which was bought for $1 and moved here in sections from McMookin, near Hawthorne. It was called the "hamburger church" because the fundraisers used to provide the funds for its renovation included the sale of hamburgers, pies and cakes. The new parsonage, built in April of 1967, replaced a prior wooden one.
Micanopy was served by a 3.6 mile branch line of the Florida Southern Railroad, later part of the Atlantic Coast Line. It connected east of here to the main line which ran from Rochelle to Ocala. Regular freight service was abandoned in 1945. There never was much passenger usage.
An eight to ten room cottage was built here by John W. Wideman in 1891 while he was the principal of the Micanopy public school. It was purchased in 1901 by John James Jones, who served as the T & J Railroad stationmaster, local agent and general manager.
About two miles to the northwest was the settlement intended for refugee Jews, called Pilgrimage.
About two miles north, at Paynes Prairie, was located the Chichile Indian village and the Spalding Trading Post. Indian artifacts dating back to 7000 B.C. have been discovered there. In the late 1800s, the area flooded and formed Alachua Lake, and a railroad trestle was built across it to carry produce. One day, the sink unplugged and the water drained out, leaving it as the prairie it is today.
While this schoolhouse was located near the fire station during the 1920s, it was used for the primary grades. It also has been used as a school kitchen and a group meeting place. When the school closed, this buidling was moved here.
Calvin Merry built this home for his bride in about 1880. It is a plain Frame Vernacular style home with a central hall. It is the oldest house on the east side of Cholokka Blvd., surviving the fires that destroyed the others.
This Frame Vernacular style house was built in about 1910. It features a cross gable in the front, two ells extending to the rear which are connected by a back porch, and a pyramid secondary roof. This was later owned by the Jarvis family.
This is the second-oldest house still standing in Micanopy, constructed shortly after the Civil War. Capt. Benjamin W. Powell built it of heart pine. It shows some Gothic Revival style elements, with the wraparound porch, transom-lighted door, and scalloped shingles on the front and back gables.
This brick sanctuary was built in 1963 to replace the older one still standing on Smith St. When the one which had been built there in 1860 was torn down in 1866, its lumber was moved here and used in the construction of a house. A sawmill was also operated here. The house, known as the mill-house, was used for worship on Sundays.
This building began as the Lamisophian Institute, with a cornerstone laid by the Masons on May 8, 1895. It was enlarged in 1912, and again in 1923. It later became the Town Hall and library.
Micanopy is the oldest town in inland Florida which does not lie on a waterway. It was incorporated as a town in 1880.
On October 28, 1983, most of the town of Micanopy, with approximately 51 buildings, was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Micanopy Historic District. This town was used as the site of the 1991 movie "Doc Hollywood", starring Michael J. Fox.
In about 1920, this Frame Vernacular home was built with some Craftsman style elements, including a front door opening directly under the gable roof and a decorative square ventilator under the peak. The porch was later enclosed, using half-wall and Jalousie windows.
This Frame Vernacular style home was built in about 1930 with an enclosed front porch. It bears some similarity to the Turner house, which belonged to a relative.
This house was built in about 1910 with a Frame Vernacular style. The shed roof over the front porch was typical of small homes in Florida.
A depot here was opened by the Gainesville and Gulf (G & G) Railroad in 1895. It later was known as the Tampa & Jacksonville (T & J) Railroad, which allowed the Atlantic Coast Line to also use its turnaround. The tracks ran east and west across Cholokka Blvd. (then known as Main St.). Thrasher's warehouse was built alongside to allow for direct loading.
J.E. Thrasher built this structure in about 1890 on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad tracks that ran by its wide service door and loading platform. The plain design has a Gothic Revival influence, and the original wooden roof shingles have been covered by tin. This is now the home of the Micanopy Historic Society Museum.
This Frame Vernacular home was built in about 1900 by Mr. Reeves. Originally, it had a detached kitchen with a walkway to the house. It was later owned by the Hilleary family.
The first Thrasher Store was destroyed in a 1911 fire. John Early Thrasher rebuilt it in 1912 and continued J.E. Thrasher and Son, one of the largest mercantile firms in the county. During the winter, it was warmed by a large pot bellied stove. Adjacent to it was a livery stable.
Micanopy Lodge No. 29 F.& A.M. was organized in 1852. The present lodge building was erected in 1951.
Edward Cooper Chitty built this Victorian style structure as a two-story home in 1900. After he died in 1917, it was acquired by John E. Thrasher so he and his family could be near their store and warehouse. After he died, the second story was removed during the 1920s.
The Kanapaha Presbyterian congregation organized at a meeting in the Masonic Hall on January 23, 1854, with the assistance of Rev. William E. Hamilton of Monticello and Joseph Millikin of Quincy.
This is the first Presbyterian church building, erected in the 1870s on land donated by James A. and Sarah Simonton, Benjamin W. and Esther M. Powell, and George W. and Mattie S. Means. Distinctive are the three bay windows with ruby glass in the sanctuary, plus the hairpin moldings on the double front doors.
In addition to serving as a church, this was also a community meeting hall. Contributions from local families allowed a library to be established here. By the 1960s, the building was vacant.
Episcopalians shared a minister with the Kanapaha Presbyterian Church beginning in 1855 and began holding their own services in Micanopy in 1857, and in 1896 built a church on the south side of Seminary Ave., between Cholokka Blvd. and Division St. The services stopped during the 1910s and the building was torn down during the 1920s. Episcopal services resumed in 1966 and the Episcopal Church of the Mediator acquired this building in April of 1987.
In 1875, the center section of this now three-story home was built by R.S. Stoughton in an L-shape. The house had a kitchen connected to the main portion by a breezeway. He sold it to John Simonton of South Carolina, who had a mercantile business in Micanopy.
Simonton's daughter later married South Carolina lumberman and citrus grower Z.C. Herlong. In about 1915, he converted the building from a simple house into an imposing mansion. The third story was added, as were the front rooms. The kitchen was incorporated into the main structure, and the old wooden walls were encased by a brick shell. The finished design was a classic revival imitation of a Southern plantation, with four white Grecian pillars.
The mansion is now operated as a bed and breakfast establishment, with rooms furnished with a combination of periods from Victorian to the early 1930s.
On this site was the large two-story home of the Avent family. In about 1924, the building now set back from the road was built closer to the road, where there is still a concrete slab, as a filling station. It was moved to its present spot during the 1940s.
Where the gazebo now stands, built with funds from the Fall Harvest Festival, was once the general merchandise store of Capt. Benjamin W. Fontaine. Its foundation may still be found here. In 1921, Ben O. Franklin purchased the store along with the house across the street. He donated the park to Friends of the Library in memory of his mother.
A mill was here on the slope to the pond to grind corn for grits, meal and livestock feed.
The first home on this lot was built here before 1900 by Capt. Benjamin W. Fontaine. After it burned down on February 14, 1911, this Victorian style house was rebuilt in seven months on the same site by L.B. Parrish Construction Co. Dr. J.D. Watkins, a trustee of the bank, bought the house and then sold it in 1921 to Ben O. Franklin. The house has an unusual Ionic columned wrap-around veranda with double octagons.
Samuel B. Smith built this in about 1900, and it later was owned by his daughter, Susie Adava, and her husband, John R. Mountain. It has housed a butcher shop and Strobles Dry Cleaners. This building was used as the hotel in the movie Cross Creek about the life of author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
A hotel and boarding house operated here by the Moffats was known for its fine food, especially its Christmas dinners. It had a butler nicknamed "Carolina". Its rambling wings contained 16 rooms.
Mary Carlton bought the building in 1906, and in 1908 had a complete water system installed. During the 1920s, it was operated by several owners and then was sold again to be cut in half to make two rental houses.
This was built before 1900 by N.B. Mott, a general merchant. It still has the original double front doors, tin ceiling and high display windows. Robert H. May purchased it during the 1930s. This served as a general store for over seventy years, and customers could phone for orders to be delivered to their homes.
This building was erected by R.H. May for his wife, "Miss Maudie", who ran the Log Cabin Cafe. She lived to cook, and served Sunday dinners by special invitation to the surrounding community during the 1920s.
The packing house that shelters the cabin was built in the early 1930s for grading and packing beans. The log cabin was built under the packing house roof to save space on the lot. The Mays sold this log cabin and packing house to the Weaver family.
A Guide to National Register Sites in Florida, (Florida Department of State 1984)
Alachua County: A Sesquicentennial Tribute, by John B. Opdyke (The Alachua County Historical Commission 1974)
Alachua County Historical Tour Series: Micanopy, Evinston, Archer, Newberry, by Alachua County Historical Commission (1985)
An Uncommon Guide to Florida, by Nina McGuire (Tailored Tours Publications, Inc. 1992)
Born of the Sun, by Joan E. Gill and Beth R. Read (Worth International Communications Corporation 1975)
The Eden of the South, by Carl Webber (Micanopy Publishing Co. 1995 reprint of 1883 material)
Florida Back Roads, by Bob Howard (Sentinel Communications Company 1991)
Florida Bed & Breakfast Guide, by Valerie C. Bondy (Queen of Hearts Publications 1995)
Florida Historic Stained Glass Survey: Sites of Historic Windows in Public Facilities in the State of Florida, by Robert O. Jones (Florida Members of the Stained Glass Association of America 1995)
Florida Historical Markers & Sites, by Floyd E. Boone (Gulf Publishing Company 1988)
Florida Off the Beaten Path, by Diana and Bill Gleasner (The Globe Pequot Press 1993)
Florida Portrait: A Pictorial History of Florida, by Jerrell Shofner (Pineapple Press, Inc. 1990)
Florida Southern College: The First 100 Years, by Theodore M. Haggard (Florida Southern College 1985)
Florida's History Through Its Places: Properties in the National Register of Historic Places, by Morton D. Winsberg (Florida State University 1988)
Ghost Town Locations in Florida, by James R. Warnke (Warnke Publishing 1992)
Guide to Florida's Historic Architecture, (University of Florida Press 1989)
Guide to the Small and Historic Lodgings of Florida, by Herbert L. Hiller (Pineapple Press, Inc. 1991)
Historic Homes of Florida, by Laura Stewart & Susanne Hupp (Pineapple Press, Inc. 1995)
Historic Micanopy, Florida 1821, by Micanopy Fall Harvest Festival, Inc. (1979)
Historic Town of Micanopy: A Walking Tour, (Micanopy Historical Society)
History of Alachua County 1824-1969, by Jess G. Davis (Alachua County Historical Commission 1969)
History of the Micanopy Methodist Church (Phase 1), by Daughters of the American Revolution (1972)
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