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Gainesville Guards Minstrel Show
Guards Minstrel Show
For the Gainesville Guards this advertisement heralded one of the major fund-raising efforts of the year, a minstrel program in which the Guards’ members were the stars. The Guards were some of Gainesville’s most energetic and forward-looking young men. The minstrel show was held at Simonson’s Opera House which was so new the paint was still fresh. The building is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Southeast 1st Street and 1st Avenue, downtown Gainesville, and it has been a theater under several different owners including Mr. J. Simonson, Mr. J. F. Edwards, and Mr. Eberle Baird. The Gainesville Guard, a local militia, were courageous men, serving the community when needed. Only a few months later most of them rode the railroad train knowingly into the face of a yellow fever epidemic to quell a riot in Fernandina Beach. Two of the guards who made that trip in 1888 contracted the disease and died.
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