Gainesville, Florida

From Academic Kids

Gainesville is a city located in Alachua County, Florida, most known for the University of Florida, home to the Florida Gators football team. It is the county seat of Alachua CountyTemplate:GR. Major sites include the Devil's Millhopper, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the historic downtown area.

As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 95,447.



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Location of Gainesville, Florida

Gainesville is located at 29°39'55" North, 82°20'10" West (29.665245, -82.336097)Template:GR.

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.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 95,447 people, 37,279 households, and 18,341 families residing in the city. The population density is 764.9/km² (1,981.0/mi²). There are 40,105 housing units at an average density of 321.4/km² (832.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 68.36% White, 23.24% African American, 0.25% Native American, 4.49% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.46% from other races, and 2.18% from two or more races. 6.40% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 37,279 households out of which 22.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.5% are married couples living together, 13.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 50.8% are non-families. 32.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.25 and the average family size is 2.90.

In the city the population is spread out with 17.8% under the age of 18, 29.4% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 16.4% from 45 to 64, and 9.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 26 years. For every 100 females there are 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 94.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $28,164, and the median income for a family is $44,263. Males have a median income of $31,090 versus $25,653 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,779. 26.7% of the population and 15.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 24.7% of those under the age of 18 and 9.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Gainesville is served by Gainesville Regional Airport. Gainesville is informally called "Hogtown", was the center of the Gainesville Eight case in the 1960s, and is known to some as the Berkeley of the South. While it seems likely that the Berkeley of the South nickname was intended seriously when it was developed in the 1970s, it is used today only ironically. Despite the fact that it is arguably the most liberal city in Florida, Gainesville is characterized by its small size, rural location, mainstream politics, and suburban sprawl style of development, all of which bear little resemblence to 1960s Berkeley.


Gainesville's original inhabitants were the Timucua Indians. Spanish colonists began cattle ranching in the Paynes 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 Alachua County.

Gainesville was originally formed along the Florida Railroad Company's line stretching from Cedar Key, Florida to Fernandina Beach, Florida as part of a route eventually carrying cargo from New Orleans, Louisiana 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. 300 Union troops occupying the city were attacked by the Florida Cavalry. The Federals were driven out of town and suffered significant casualties.

Gainesville's fortunes took a major turn when the University of Florida was created by the Florida Legislature in 1905. Gainesville was chosen as the site, beating out other cities who saw their colleges close, such as Lake City and Bartow. 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.

Terror struck residents of Gainesville in August 1990 when five students were found brutally murdered in their apartments over a three day period. After extensive investigation, Danny Rolling was charged with the murders and convicted in 1994. The murders attracted national attention and heightened awareness of security issues at the University of Florida and elsewhere. A monument to the victims now exists along Southwest 34th Street, including five palm trees in the median and a painted wall.


Gainesville has a fairly well-known punk and ska music scene and has spawned a number of bands including Less Than Jake, Hot Water Music, Against Me!, Sister Hazel, and Roach Motel. It is also the location of the independent label No Idea Records. Gainesville is also home to the Civic Media Center, a "library and reading room of the non-corporate press", which serves as a hub of activity for some activists and liberals.

Cultural facilities include the Florida Museum of Natural History, Harn Museum of Art, and the Hippodrome State Theatre. Numerous events are hosted continually at the university.

Gainesville is an inexpensive town in which to live—rent rates tend to be low, and the restaurants near the University of Florida are cheap. The local economy is weak, however, in that the University of Florida is the only major employer, and wages all over town are very low.

Famous residents

Celebrities that live or have lived in Gainesville include:

Other celebrity ties to Gainesville include Faye Dunaway, who went to the University of Florida, and Malcom Gets, who grew up there, graduated from the university and wrote and performed at the Community Playhouse and the Hippodrome. Renee Richards lived in Gainesville for a time, and Roger Maris had a distributorship and raised his family there.

Points of interest


  • History of Gainesville, Florida, 1854-1979. By Charles H. Hildreth and Merlin G. Cox. published by the Alachua County Historical Society, 1981. ISBN 0967278848

External links


Area newspapers

Educational institutions





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