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Nature > Prairie Sink
Allen Morris’ "Florida Handbook" tells us that Alachua County is named for an Indian word meaning “big jug,” and the big jug is shown in this view. The big jug, also called Alachua Sink, is a sinkhole located just southeast of Gainesville on the edge of Paynes Prairie. For many years, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the sinkhole was a scenic wonder and tourists from Jacksonville and other communities visited Gainesville on railroad excursions to see the Alachua Sink and Devil’s Millhopper, another prominent sinkhole. The Alachua Sink’s fame sprang from its existence as the drainage point for Alachua Lake which disappeared and became Paynes Prairie; a thriving steamboat business ended when the lake disappeared in 1892. Views of the Sink appeared as early as 1883 in "Eden of the South," by Carl Webber. This view is from a postcard published in the early 1900s; it was loaned by Archie L. Jackson.
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