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    Alachua Lake Alachua Lake
Paynes Prairie, south of Gainesville, has been filled with water several times over the centuries, occurring when a sinkhole became plugged. The watery site in this photograph is the location of that sinkhole during the late 19th Century; at that time, Paynes Prairie was called "Alachua Lake" and the sinkhole was called "Alachua Sink." Paddle wheelers used to travel back and forth across the lake from Gainesville to Micanopy, hauling passengers, fruit, and vegetable produce. There was also a steam locomotive which pulled its cars from Gainesville around the west side of the lake and down to Micanopy. The lake was drained when the plug broke loose and the lake was emptied in 1892. (click image to view larger size)