Gainesville is conveniently located in North Central Florida between two of the state’s main thoroughfares, Interstate 75 and US Highway 441 and is equidistant from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Gainesville is located approximately 129 miles from Tallahassee; 96 miles from Orlando; 118 miles from Tampa and 298 miles from Miami.
Perhaps Gainesville’s most notable and latest claim to fame is the University of Florida Gators unprecedented winning of the 2006 NCAA National Championship football as well as NCAA Basketball National Championships in 2006 and 2007.
Demographically, Gainesville ranks 15th among Florida’s most populous cities; more than 27 percent of its population consists of individuals between the ages of 25 and 44 years.
Gainesville/Alachua County History
Officially established in 1824, Alachua County (pronounced A-latch-u-wah) was named by this area’s first settlers, the Timucuan Indians. Excellent fisherman, hunters and farmers, the Timucuans thrived on the vast fertile soil especially on and around what is now known as Paynes Prairie State Park Preserve. In the 1500’s, Spanish explorers, perhaps most notably, Hernando DeSoto, plundered this area and it native settlers. However it was during this time that Franciscan missions and cattle ranches were established. By the early 1700’s the Spanish found it difficult and costly to maintain dominance in this vast region and which made way for the influx of English settlers and the Seminole Indian tribes. Subsequent Seminole skirmishes and the establishment of the Florida railroad through the interior of the state, brought new settlements and trading to the area. Cotton, vegetable crops and later citrus and phosphate welcomed more residents to the Gainesville area. It was in 1905 when Gainesville was selected as the official site of the University of Florida.