Atlantic Coast Line passenger train is seen in this photograph coming
south on Main Street just north of University Avenue. The original
First National Bank building, located at 15 North Main Street, can
be seen on the right. According to Jess G. Davis in "History
of Alachua County," southbound trains would stop at the White
House Hotel (located between 4th and 5th Avenues on North Main)
so passengers who so desired could disembark to dine at the Hotel.
After they were off the train it would travel three block south
to the ACL station, discharge other passengers, baggage, and mail,
and then back up to the White House so the diners could get back
on the train.
Gainesville had a city ordinance that limited the speed of the train
to 4 miles an hour as it went through town. A train employee ran
along the side of the locomotive, waving a red flag. The first tracks
were laid on Main Street in 1881. The last train to make that journey
through downtown Gainesville did so on Monday, May 31, 1948, and
the next day the train traveled the 6th Street tracks to the new
ACL depot just north of West University Avenue.
(click image to view larger size)