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Digital access to historical documents
The Library, in cooperation with the Matheson Museum, is pleased to offer digital access to a number of local historical documents, including very early yearbooks from Gainesville High School.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 over 250 historical photographs from our area, including local landmarks, family portraits, historic maps, community events, natural disasters, and other items of local interest.
Where was this photo taken?
No, this is one photo you won't see in the Heritage Collection. The story behind this photo began when we tried to find one that was a representative image to use in displaying the Heritage Collection. We narrowed it down to three images.
- The Alachua County Courthouse--the pride of the county, this building has been at the center of our community for almost 90 years.
- The Alachua Sink--lush and green, the Sink represents the natural beauty that has blessed Alachua County.
- The Tung Oil Float--the delight seen in this photo represents the sense of community, celebration and the promise of a bright future.
Our solution was to create a montage of these three images in a way that communicates the sense of history in Alachua County. We invite you to search for the real photos represented here in our collection. There are two ways to search:
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.