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University Of Florida - About Gainesville

About Gainesville
Gainesville is the largest city and county seat of Alachua County, Florida.GR6. Gainesville is primarily known for being home to the University of Florida, the flagship university of the State University System of Florida and the fourth-largest university in the United States. Santa Fe Community College, one of the nation's largest community colleges, is also located in Gainesville.

The 2000 Census reported the population of Gainesville to be 95,447. Following a successful annexation in 2002, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated a 2004

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population of 108,856. However, the City of Gainesville estimates the 2003 population at 117,182. The Gainesville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which includes Alachua and Gilchrist counties, has a population of 239,114 as of 2005 Census Bureau estimates.
Downtown Gainesville, FL
Downtown Gainesville

Geography
Gainesville is the southernmost city in the United States where deciduous trees predominate. There are deciduous trees farther south, but they are not as abundant as they are from Alachua County northward. The city is also an important way station for automobile travelers, as it is located nearly midway between Atlanta and Miami, five hours from Miami, and five from Atlanta.

Gainesville Florida Location

Location of Gainesville, Florida

The North Florida area in which Gainesville is located is known to natives as the "end of the South." This is most likely due to the fact that south of Alachua County or Marion County, starting somewhere north of Orlando, there are fewer native Floridians (and effectively native Southerners) and the sprawling development that defines South and Central Florida begins. However, it should be noted that due to large levels of migration, much of it related to the University of Florida, the western sector of the city as well as areas around the university hold more in common culturally and visually with Central and Southern Florida, whereas the eastern sector of the city holds more in common culturally and visually with the South.

The North Florida area in which Gainesville is located is known to natives as the "end of the South." This is most likely due to the fact that south of Alachua County or Marion County, starting somewhere north of Orlando, there are fewer native Floridians (and effectively native Southerners) and the sprawling development that defines South and Central Florida begins. However, it should be noted that due to large levels of migration, much of it related to the University of Florida, the western sector of the city as well as areas around the university hold more in common culturally and visually with Central and Southern Florida, whereas the eastern sector of the city holds more in common culturally and visually with the South.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 127.2 km² (49.1 mi²). 124.8 km² (48.2 mi²) of it is land and 2.4 km² (0.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.87% water.


History
Gainesville's original inhabitants were the Timucua Indians. Spanish colonists began cattle ranching in the Payne's Prairie area using Timucua labor and the largest ranch became known as LaChua. Though the ranch was eventually destroyed by British raiders, it nevertheless gave its name to the Alachua band of the Seminole tribe who settled in the region in the 1700s under the leadership of the great chief Ahaya the Cowkeeper.

Gainesville was originally formed along the Florida Railroad Company's line stretching from Cedar Key to Fernandina Beach as part of a route eventually carrying cargo from New Orleans to New York. In 1854 Gainesville became the new Alachua County seat (moving from the more populated but inconveniently located Newnansville). The city is named for General Edmund P. Gaines, commander of U.S. Army troops in Florida during the Second Seminole War.

Gainesville was the scene of small-scale fighting in the Civil War. On February 15, 1864, a skirmish erupted when about 50 Union troops entered the city intending to capture two trains. The Second Florida Cavalry successfully repulsed this raid. The raiding party was eventually defeated at the Battle of Olustee five days later. Later that year, the Battle of Gainesville took place on August 17, 1864. Three-hundred Union troops occupying the city were attacked by the Florida Cavalry. The Federals were driven out of town and suffered significant casualties.

Following the civil war, the city prospered as a major citrus growing center, with direct rail access to ports on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. However, this prosperity ended when the great freezes of 1894 and 1899 destroyed the entire crops, and citrus growing moved permanently south to the Orlando area. Other attempts to replace this lost industry included phosphate mining, turpentine production and tung oil had only moderate success.

Gainesville's fortunes took a major turn for the better, however, when the University of Florida was created by the Florida Legislature in 1905. Gainesville was chosen, beating out other cities who saw their colleges close, such as Lake City and Bartow. Fortunately, the city had the foresight to construct a modern municipal water, sewer and electric system and was able to offer these services to a new university location for free. A site was selected at a location then considered about a mile west of town. The first classes were held at Buckman Hall in the fall of 1906.

Over the past century, the university has brought the town a youthful population, cultural opportunities, and world class medical facilities. The sports drink Gatorade was invented in Gainesville as a means of refreshing the UF football team and UF still receives a share of the profits from the beverage.


Culture
Gainesville has a fairly well-known punk and ska music scene and has spawned a number of bands including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Less Than Jake, The Usuals, The Know How, Hot Water Music, Against Me!, Sister Hazel, Roach Motel, and For Squirrels. It is also the location of the independent label No Idea Records and the annual underground rock festival known as The Fest, which is co-operated by No Idea.

Cultural facilities include the Florida Museum of Natural History, Harn Museum of Art, the Hippodrome State Theatre, Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and The Civic Media Center. Smaller theaters include the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre (ART) and the Gainesville Community Playhouse (GCP). GCP is the oldest community theatre group in Florida, and last year christened a new theatre building.

Gainesville is an extremely cheap place to live, and numerous guides such as the 2004 book Cities Ranked and Rated: More than 400 Metropolitan Areas Evaluated in the U.S. and Canada have mentioned its low cost of living. The restaurants near the University of Florida also tend to be inexpensive. The property taxes are high to offset the cost of the university, as the university's land is tax-exempt. However, the median home cost remains slightly below the national average, and Gainesville residents, like all Floridians, do not pay state income taxes.

This city's job market scored only 6 points out of a possible 100 in the Cities Ranked and Rated guide, as the downside to the low cost of living is an extremely weak local job market that is oversupplied with college-educated residents. The University of Florida, the Shands Healthcare system (a private-public-university partnership), and the city government are the only major employers for the city. The median income in Gainesville is slightly below the U.S. average.

The east side of Gainesville houses the majority of the African-American community within the city, while the west side consists of the ethnically diverse student population nearest to the University of Florida and the city's Caucasian population. Large scale planned communities on the far west side, most notably Haile Plantation have been attributed as the main factor behind the maintenance of de facto segregation in the city.

Gainesville is informally called "Hogtown" by Gator Alumni and its towns people, after Hogtown Creek, which runs through the city and was the original name of a town nearby, which was eventually incorporated into the growing city. It was the center of the Gainesville Eight case in the 1970s, and is known to some as the Berkeley of the South. This nickname was probably afforded to Gainesville because of the presence of a relatively prestigious university, and the liberal tendencies of its voting base. All of the counties surrounding Alachua County vote heavily Republican, while Gainesville votes strongly Democratic. In the 2000 election there was a 15% gap in votes between Gore and Bush, while Nader received 5%. This liberal lean is attributed to the presence of the University in tandem with the presence of a large black community that consistently votes Democratic. The city is characterized by its medium size, southern charm, semi-rural location (about 90 minutes driving time away from Jacksonville or Orlando), and large public university. Suburban sprawl has, as of late, become a concern for the city commissioners. However, the "New Urbanization" plan to revitalize run-down portions of the area between historic Downtown and the University of Florida may slow the growth of suburban sectors that have caused extensive westward sprawl, and catalyze a migration toward upper-level apartments in the inner-city. The area immediately north of the University of Florida is also seeing active redevelopment.

There is also a dynamic cultural divide within the city. In the eyes of some students, city residents often refuse to recognize the importance of the University to the quality of life that they enjoy. In the eyes of some residents, University students often do not stray beyond the immediate area around the school's massive campus, and thus have an overinflated view of the University's importance. However, differences are immediately defused during football and basketball season, when seemingly every weekend home game is a massive party. While many college towns feature a large amount of athletic mascot paraphernalia, Gainesville is virtually inundated with Gators decals, t-shirts, and banners.


Auto racing fans, those who like NHRA drag racing in particular, love Gainesville, as it hosts one of the largest national events on the NHRA circuit here at Gainesville Raceway in March. The drivers at the Powerade sponsored "Gatornationals" have broken many NHRA records, including the first 300 MPH pass, and over 100,000 fans flock to the drag strip just on the northeast side of town to watch nitro-methane burning funny cars and dragsters and their fearless racers go from 0-300MPH in just a 1/4 mile in under 5 seconds. Gainesville Raceway also features Saturday evening events weekly throughout the year due to the co-operative weather conditions here. Drag racing legend "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, has raced at this track countless times, and has an extensive museum of drag racing in nearby Ocala.


Climate
Due to its inland location, Gainesville experiences wide temperature fluctuation for Florida. During the summer season, roughly from May 15 to September 30, the city's climate is the same as the rest of the state, with frequent downpours and tropical humidity. Temperatures range from the low 70s at night to the mid 90s during the day on average. From October 15 through April, however, the Gainesville area has a climate distinct from peninsular Florida with very frequent freezing temperatures at night [3], and sustained freezes occurring every few years. The all time record low of 6 degrees (-16°C) was reached in January of 1985, and the city was struck by a substantial snow and ice storm on Christmas Eve, 1989. In winter, highs average in the high 50s to mid 60s(15°-18°C), and lows average in the high 30s to low 40s(4°-6°C). Snows are still rare, but usually occur once every 5-10 years.

Officially, Gainesville's climate is defined as humid subtropical, however, winters can be continental and temperatures can get as low as cities such as Atlanta, Washington, DC, and Baltimore, all at latitudes much further north.

The city's flora and fauna are also more distinct from coastal regions of the state, and include many deciduous species, such as dogwood, maple, hickory and sweetgum, alongside palm trees and other evergreens. Due to this, the city enjoys brief periods of fall color in late November and December, and a noticeable and prolonged spring from late February through early April. This period is the time most favored by residents, as colorful blooms of azalea and redbud complement a cloudless blue sky, for this is also the period of least precipitation and lowest humidity.

source: wikipedia.org

 

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