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Coast Line Ticket Office
Through the years, there have been many different railroads that have gone through Alachua County. Ownership and company names changed frequently as business fortunes rose and fell. According to the "History of Gainesville, 1854-1979," by Charles H. Hildreth, most railroad lines in the South were built as connecting links between waterways, and integration with the rest of the country's railroads was not a priority. The Florida Railroad, built by David Levy Yulee in the 1850s and 1860s, was an example of that concept, connecting Fernandina on the Atlantic coast with Cedar Key on the Gulf. Hildreth says that another company, Florida Southern Railway, laid the first roadbed on Main Street—it was narrow-gauge, and the year was 1881. In 1895, Florida Southern was reorganized and, with Henry Plant on the Board of Directors, the bed was upgraded to standard gauge. On June 30, 1902, the entire holdings of the Plant system were purchased by Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.
Gainesville's ticket office and depot for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, shown in this photograph, was located on Main Street between Northwest 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue. The "Gainesville Sun" reported on July 31, 1946, that this building was sold to John Camp, a young businessman who had moved to Gainesville from Ocala. At the time of the sale, Mr. Camp did not disclose plans for the site. But in October 1953 an architect's drawing of a new 1st National Bank building appeared in the "Sun," to be built on the site of the ACL building. The depot and ticket office were demolished soon after, and the bank's new building opened in August 1954. This is a copy of a photo from the collection of Lyman Thomas; it was taken around 1900.
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