Newnansville Town Site
Entrance to the Newnansville Cemetery, one of the few surviving remains of the town
|Location||Alachua County, Florida, USA|
|NRHP Reference #||74000608|
|Added to NRHP||December 4, 1974|
The Newnansville Town Site was where the town of Newnansville was located. It is approximately 1.5 miles northeast of Alachua, Florida, on S.R. 235 off of US 441. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 4, 1974.
In 1824, only five years after Florida became a United States territory (and the same year that Alachua County itself was created), Congress authorized the construction of its first federal highway. It would connect Pensacola to St. Augustine. The Territorial Council commissioned John Bellamy, a Monticello planter, to build it. The project took two years to complete, at a cost of $20,000. The route would become known as the Bellamy Avenue. It was a major highway until the Civil War, when other roads became preferred routes. A few of the places it passed were: the town of Traxler, the Santa Fe Taloca Spanish Mission, and what would become Newnansville.
The Dell brothers, who had earlier (during the "Patriot War") visited the Alachua County area, came back to settle there in 1814. They constructed a post office on the Bellamy Avenue in 1826, called Dell's, which became the nucleus of the new settlement. In 1828, the Council named the small community Newnansville (in honor of a Patriot War hero, Daniel Newnan), and made it the county seat. From 1835 through 1842, the town and nearby Fort Gilleland were refugee centers for many displaced by the Second Seminole War.
Following that, the town flourished, becoming the center for trade and plantation life in the area. It mainly produced corn, cotton, and, after the Civil War, citrus. Not including a period between 1832 and 1839, Newnansville was the Alachua County seat until 1854. At that time, it was relocated to the newly created railroad town of Gainesville. The courthouse was moved to Gainesville as well in 1856. This was the beginning of the end for Newnansville.
Two major factors contributed to its continuing decline. In 1884 the Savannah, Florida, and Western Railroad bypassed it by a mile and a half to the southwest. A new town, Alachua, grew up there. Then in the winter of 1886, a major freeze ruined the citrus crop. This, plus the lack of railway connections, led businesses and residents to move to the prospering communities of Alachua and Gainesville. By the middle of the twentieth century, all that was left of Newnansville were two cemeteries and the remains of a road.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Newnansville, Florida.|
- Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs - Alachua County
- Historic Markers in Alachua County"
- Natural and Historic Sites in Alachua County
- Tour Guide of Historic Alachua County
- History of Alachua
- Alachua County Library District Heritage Collection - Map of Newnansville
- Alachua County Scenic Roads - Old Bellamy Road