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Friday, July 10, 2009

Lake City, FL

Columbia County courthouse in Lake City

Lake City is the county seat of Columbia County, Florida, in the United States. In 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 11,953. In addition, it is the Principal City of the Lake City Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is composed of Columbia County, and had an estimated 2006 population of 67,007. The city's Sesquicentennial will occur in 2009, and a celebration is planned.

Lake City Seal


The site of Lake City was a Seminole village named Alpata Telophka, meaning "Alligator Town". By 1830, a white American town called Alligator was established, adjacent to the Seminole town. The city was incorporated and changed to its current name in 1859. The name was changed because the mayor's wife, who had recently moved to the town, refused to hang her lace curtains in a town named Alligator.

The old University of Florida in Lake City, Florida, 1908

The American Civil War Battle of Olustee took place near Lake City in February 1864. It was the only major battle in Florida during the war. Union casualties were 1,861 men killed, wounded or missing; Confererate losses were 946 killed, wounded or missing.

Glimpse of W.W. Talbert's Residence,

In 1880, Lake City Chief of Police, Gottschalk “Gus” Potsdamer had a heated dispute with Columbia County Sheriff, John C. Henry. The conflict escalated into a fistfight and Henry was fatally wounded by Potsdamer, who was tried for murder, convicted and sentenced to life in prison at the state prison near Live Oak. Potsdamer's conviction was controversial, with some reports stating that Sheriff Henry started the trouble and was beating Potsdamer over the head with a pistol when Potsdamer got loose and killed him. Potsdamer was very popular and had a reputation as a City Marshall who always enforced the law fairly. Potsdamer's friends appealed the conviction through the legal system, won, and Potsdamer was released after two months of incarceration. He eventually moved to Live Oak, became a respected businessman, and was elected Suwannee County Sheriff in 1889.

Graves for dead soldiers of the Battle of Olustee : Lake City, Florida

By the early 20th century, Lake City had become an important railroad junction, served by the Seaboard Air Line, Atlantic Coast Line, Georgia Southern, and the Florida Railroad.

Growth of planted slash pines : Lake City, Florida, 1948

The population in 1950 was 7,467 people and forestry (turpentine, lumber, pulpwood) had become important to the local economy.

Aero Corporation employees paint an airplane : Lake City, Florida

Lake City's Centennial was celebrated in 1959 with parades, fireworks and a 58-page book documenting one hundred years of progress, “A Century in the Sun”. The citizens of the town dressed in period attire, complete with whiskers. A good-natured clash arose between the men with additional facial hair and the women who did not like it.

Cavalcade of state officials on the way to open a segment of Interstate 75 : Lake City, Florida, 1964

In 1958, the Columbia Amateur Radio Society was formed. This was a group of amateur radio operators that enjoyed the ability to communicate all over the world. This radio club still exists today.

Finished Mobile homes displayed outside a plant of Guerdon Industries, Inc. : Lake City, Florida, 1963


Lake City and Columbia County, Florida are known as "The Gateway to Florida" because Interstate 75 runs though them, carrying a large percentage of Florida's tourist and commercial traffic. Lake City is the northernmost sizable town/city in Florida on Interstate 75 and the location where I-10 and I-75 intersect. Interstate 10 is the southernmost east-west interstate highway and traverses the country from Jacksonville, Florida to Santa Monica, California.

Reigning Tobacco Queen Miss Pat Lee and other ladies pose on pile of flue-cured leaf at auction : Lake City, Florida, 1960

Agricultural products of the area include tobacco, corn, peanuts, cotton, melons, timber and pulpwood.

Herman Porter directing traffic in front of Columbia High school : Lake City, Florida, 1955

Lake City is the location of the Osceola National Forest's administrative offices.

Russ Davis at his Walgreen drugstore : Lake City, Florida, 1950

The Lake City Municipal Airport is a local center of business. The airport is classified as a General Aviation facility, but two on-site operations are somewhat unique. TIMCO is an aircraft modification and rehabilitation operation for large (B-727, 737) civilian and military aircraft. The United States Forest Service uses C-130 transport aircraft in support of its forest fire-fighting operations in the southeast US.

Lake Worth City Hall, 1949

The top employers in Lake City are:

1 Columbia County School Board Education
2 VA Medical Center Healthcare
3 TIMCO Aircraft Overhaul/rehabilitation
4 Wal-Mart Supercenter Retail Sales
5 Homes of Merit Manufactured Housing
6 Anderson Columbia Co., Inc. Construction/Paving
7 Columbia County Board of Commissioners Government
8 Shands at Lake Shore Healthcare
9 Columbia County Sheriff's Office Law Enforcement
10 Lake City Medical Center Healthcare
11 City of Lake City Government
12 Lake City Community College Education
13 S&S Food Stores
14 Quality Inn & Conference Center


Historic Henderson House

Olustee Battle Festival

Every February since 1976, Lake City has hosted the Olustee Battle Festival & Re-Enactment. The 31st Annual event will be February 13 & 14th, 2009.[17] The Miss Olustee Pageant is held two weeks prior to the Battle Festival. Highlights include:

Memorial service at Oak Lawn Cemetery: to honor those who died from both sides (Friday morning)

Olustee Festival & Craft Show: Arts, Crafts, Foods, Exhibits, & two stages with continuous live entertainment Friday and Saturday.

Battle of the Ironclads, the Monitor and the Merrimac: Friday night on Lake DeSoto.

Dancing: Friday night-Trails End Dance; Saturday afternoon-Street Dance; Saturday night-Blue-Grey Square Dance

Running Races: Blue-Grey 5-K and 1 Mile Kids Fun Run early Saturday morning

Olustee Festival Parade: Saturday mid-morning

Olustee Battle Reenactment: Hundreds of re-enactors come from all over the country to participate in this historical event

Columbia County Historical Museum: "Angels of Mercy" drama Friday afternoon; museum open all weekend

Olustee Battlefield State Park: open 9am-6pm all weekend

Alligator fest

Lake City holds its Alligator Fest in mid-October.

Notable natives:

Pat Summerall - National Football League placekicker / television sportscaster
Gerard Warren - National Football League defensive tackle
Jasin Todd - former Shinedown guitarist
Jerome Carter - National Football League safety
Martha Mier - Pianist and Composer
Stephen Bunn - National Football League Tight End

Lake City, FL in Pictures:

Spanish style post office building : Lake City, Florida, 1948

Downtown area on Marion Street : Lake City, Florida, 1948

Dinner at a livestock market : Lake City, Florida, 1945

Blanche Hotel : Lake City, Florida, 1943

Colored waiting room in railway depot : Lake City, Florida, 1941

Railroad crossing picture, 1941

Farmers Independent Warehouse : Lake City, Florida, 1939

Lake City municipal airport hangar : Lake City, Florida, 1935

4-H Club parade : Lake City, Florida, 1929

Interior view of T.E. Robarts grocery store : Lake City, Florida, 1926

Flagler Building (Gymnasium) at UF campus : Lake City, Florida, 1920

Firefighters : Lake City, Florida, 1914

Looking down South Marion Street : Lake City, Florida, 1910

First National Bank : Lake City, Florida, 1910

Aunt Aggie in her bone yard : Lake City, Florida, 1908

Marion Street : Lake City, Florida, 1907

Lake City Chapel Hall and dormitory, 1905

Busy downtown street scene : Lake City, Florida

Interior of trailer

First telephone in Lake City

External Links:

City of Lake City Official Site

Lake City Weather dot Com LIVE Weather Conditions here in Lake City

Lake City Journal community news online

Columbia Amateur Radio Society Established in 1958 and all are still welcome to join!

Suwannee Online Suwannee Area

Lake City Online

Lake City Reporter newspaper