The Library's Local History collection includes many print and microform resources housed at the Headquarters Library, as well as online resources.
Digital access to historical documents
The Library, in cooperation with the Matheson Museum, is pleased to offer digital access to a number of local historical documents, including very early yearbooks from Gainesville High School. It also includes the entire transcript of the Alachua Heritage: Living Portrait that was completed in 1999 and an 1899 Southern Bell Telephone Directory. Also included are the Historical and Architectural Surveys of both the Cities of Alachua and High Springs. This collection affords a glance at various aspects of life in Alachua County, Florida throughout the 20th century.
The Heritage Collection consists of approximately 1100 historical photographs from the Alachua County Florida area, including local landmarks, portraits, historic maps, community events, natural disasters, and many items of local interest.
Ranchers Archer L. Jackson and Thomas Edwin McDonald on their horses near the Gainesville cattle yards
Treat yourself to a journey of amazing historical detail and profound human interest through this annotated photographic exposé of the Alachua region spanning the 1870s through the 1970s. Experience and understand local history local history in a different way, through the faces and places of the past that still influence the present.
Search Heritage Collection in the main catalog.
Looking for Gainesville and Alachua County history?
The Library District houses many unique sources that tell the story of our community. Below are two examples you can access now.
Below you will find two charts that are a quick reference tool comparing the City of Gainesville street names in 1936 to now.
Gainesville's population was less than 14,000 in 1936 when this map was created--a time when most streets had names (not numbers) and everybody knew their way around town. But the end of World War II changed everything. The GI Bill, promising the opportunity of a college education, brought thousands of young men with wives and children to town, creating seriously overcrowded schools and chaotic traffic problems. One solution to the chaos was to change the street names to numbers in a grid system (University Avenue and Main Street remained the same), and the intersection of University and Main became the zero point for counting off streets and numbers.