Cross Creek, Florida
Cross Creek is located at Coordinates: . The community is situated in the extreme southeastern corner of Alachua County and is approximately 20 miles southeast of the county seat, Gainesville, and 24 miles north of Ocala in Marion County. It is bisected by a navigable waterway, Cross Creek, which connects the two large lakes of Orange and Lochloosa, thus the community is on a narrow isthmus between these two water bodies.
Cross Creek is well known as the home of the American author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. She wrote four of her books while actually living there, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Yearling, which was adapted as the 1946 film of the same name, and her memoir, Cross Creek, which was adapted as the 1983 film of the same name. The early settlement of "The Creek", as it is locally known, is somewhat obscure, but it is likely that the first settlers arrived in the late nineteenth century. As a result of its geographical situation (see above) there is limited arable land in the immediate vicinity of Cross Creek, most of the surrounding area being swamps, marshes, and open water. Thus we can assume that other than garden plots and small citrus groves, the first residence probably relied chiefly on hunting and fishing for their sustenance. By the time of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' arrival in 1928, she writes that "The Creek" was home to seven families, five white (Euro-American) and two black (African-American). The population of Cross Creek began to grow during the 1950s and 1960s when a local man, Ben Wheeler, dug canals and built a number of houses, many with waterfronts. A number of people moved into "The Creek" from other areas including the northern United States, thus the 'cracker' character of "The Creek" was permanently altered. By the late twentieth century the community would have been nearly unrecognizable to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. Nevertheless, the unique geographical environs and the presence of a few older houses (including Mrs. Rawlings' home, now both a Florida State Park and a National Historic Site), have helped Cross Creek to retain some local color and given many of the residents a continued sense of exceptionality.
School Board of Alachua County operates public schools, the closest high school and elementary school being located in Hawthorne, fifteen miles distant. In addition there is a charter school in Micanopy, nine miles away.
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