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Columbia County, Florida
Lake City Comm Hist Dist crths01.jpg
Columbia County Courthouse in Lake City
Map of Florida highlighting Columbia County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the U.S. highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Founded February 4, 1832
Seat Lake City
Largest city Lake City
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

801 sq mi (2,075 km²)
798 sq mi (2,067 km²)
3.8 sq mi (10 km²), 0.5%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

69,698
87/sq mi (34/km²)
Congressional districts 2nd, 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.columbiacountyfla.com

Columbia County is a county located in the north central portion of the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2020 census, the population was 69,698.[1] Its county seat is Lake City.[2]

Columbia County comprises the Lake City, FL Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Gainesville-Lake City, FL Combined Statistical Area. Osceola National Forest is partially in Columbia County.

History[]

After Florida became a territory of the United States in 1821, pioneer and immigrant settlers from the United States formed their own settlement adjacent to a Seminole village called Alligator Village, and called it Alligator.[3] Following the 1823 Treaty of Moultrie Creek, the residents of Alligator village relocated to the banks of Peace Creek in the newly established Seminole reservation, leaving Alligator Town on its own.

When Columbia County was formed in 1832 from Duval and Alachua counties, Alligator Town was designated as the seat of the county government. It was renamed as Columbia, the poetic form for the United States.[4] The county was developed for agriculture and the timber industry, with products such as turpentine, lumber, and plywood. From 1832 to 1839, the county seat was Newnansville, but that town and area were returned to Alachua County.

In November 1858 a railroad was completed connecting Jacksonville to Alligator, which opened the town to more commerce and passenger traffic. Alligator Town was incorporated and its name changed to Lake City in 1859; M. Whit Smith was elected as the town's first mayor.[5] According to an urban legend, the name was changed because the mayor's wife Martha Jane, who had recently moved to the town, refused to hang her lace curtains in a town named Alligator.[6]

Columbia County Courthouse around 1902.

During the American Civil War, the railroad between Lake City and Jacksonville was used to send beef and salt to Confederate soldiers. In February 1864 Union troops under Truman Seymour advanced west from Jacksonville. His objective was to disrupt Confederate supplies, and obtain African-American recruits and supplies.[7] Confederate General Joseph Finnegan assembled troops and called for reinforcements from P. G. T. Beauregard in response to the Union threat. On February 11, 1864, Finnegan's troops defeated a Union cavalry raid in Lake City.[7] After the Union cavalry was repulsed, Finnegan moved his forces to Olustee Station about ten miles east of Lake City. The Confederate presence at Olustee Station was reinforced to prepare for the Union troops coming from Jacksonville.

Union forces engaged the Confederates at the Battle of Olustee on February 20, 1864, near the Olustee Station. It was the only major battle in Florida during the war. Union casualties were 1,861 men killed, wounded or missing; Confederate casualties were 946 killed, wounded or missing. The Confederate dead were buried in Lake City.[8] In 1928 a memorial for the Battle of Olustee was established in downtown Lake City.

In 1874 Lake City's first newspaper was published in 1874, called the Lake City Reporter. In 1876 the Bigelow Building was completed; it later was adapted for use as the City Hall. The first fire department was established in 1883 to complement the police department. In 1891 Lake City became the first city in Florida to have electric lights from a local power and light company.

White violence rose against blacks in the late 19th century in a regionwide effort to establish and maintain white supremacy as Southern states disenfranchised most blacks and imposed Jim Crow. Whites lynched 20 African Americans in Columbia County from 1877 to 1950, mostly in the decades near the turn of the 20th century. It was tied with Polk County for the second-highest total of lynchings of any county in the state.[9]

Among these murders was the mass lynching on May 21, 1911, of six black men who were taken from the jail by a white mob in Lake City. They were being held on charges of murdering one white sawmill worker and wounding another in Leon County, after whites had attacked them at a private house following an earlier altercation between two men.[10] A group of a dozen white men, reportedly from Tallahassee, tricked the white youth guarding the jail by posing as officials and gained release of the suspects. They took the men outside town and shot them repeatedly to death.[11][10]

Geography[]

Osceola National Forest

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 801 square miles (2,070 km2), of which 798 square miles (2,070 km2) is land and 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) (0.5%) is water.[12] Osceola National Forest is partially within the county.

Adjacent counties[]

National protected area[]

  • Osceola National Forest (part)

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 2,102
1850 4,808 128.7%
1860 4,646 −3.4%
1870 7,335 57.9%
1880 9,589 30.7%
1890 12,877 34.3%
1900 17,094 32.7%
1910 17,689 3.5%
1920 14,290 −19.2%
1930 14,638 2.4%
1940 16,859 15.2%
1950 18,216 8.0%
1960 20,077 10.2%
1970 25,250 25.8%
1980 35,399 40.2%
1990 42,613 20.4%
2000 56,513 32.6%
2010 67,531 19.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]
1790-1960[14] 1900-1990[15]
1990-2000[16] 2010-2020[1]

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 56,513 people, 20,925 households, and 14,919 families residing in the county. The population density was 71 people per square mile (27/km2). There were 23,579 housing units at an average density of 30 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 79.72% White, 17.03% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 0.67% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.60% from other races, and 1.42% from two or more races. 2.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 20,925 households, out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.70% were married couples living together, 12.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.70% were non-families. 23.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 25.40% under the age of 18, 9.00% from 18 to 24, 27.70% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 102.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,881, and the median income for a family was $35,927. Males had a median income of $27,353 versus $21,738 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,598. About 11.40% of families and 15.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.10% of those under age 18 and 13.60% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[]

Voter registration[]

According to the Secretary of State's office, Democrats maintain a narrow plurality among registered voters in Columbia County.

Columbia County Voter Registration & Party Enrollment as of September 30, 2015[18]
Political Party Total Voters Percentage
Template:Party color cell Democratic 15,157 42.04%
Template:Party color cell Republican 14,412 39.97%
Template:Party color cell Independent 5,530 15.34%
Template:Party color cell Third Parties 959 2.66%
Total 36,058 100%

Statewide elections[]

United States presidential election results for Columbia County, Florida[19]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 23,836 72.03% 8,914 26.94% 342 1.03%
2016 20,368 70.57% 7,601 26.33% 895 3.10%
2012 18,429 67.69% 8,462 31.08% 336 1.23%
2008 18,670 66.17% 9,171 32.50% 374 1.33%
2004 16,758 67.06% 8,031 32.14% 202 0.81%
2000 10,968 59.24% 7,049 38.07% 497 2.68%
1996 7,588 46.48% 6,691 40.98% 2,047 12.54%
1992 6,492 43.41% 5,528 36.97% 2,934 19.62%
1988 7,761 65.13% 4,073 34.18% 82 0.69%
1984 8,814 67.41% 4,261 32.59% 0 0.00%
1980 5,643 48.45% 5,680 48.76% 325 2.79%
1976 3,947 36.66% 6,683 62.08% 136 1.26%
1972 6,723 80.16% 1,664 19.84% 0 0.00%
1968 1,553 21.13% 1,750 23.81% 4,046 55.06%
1964 4,145 56.06% 3,249 43.94% 0 0.00%
1960 2,094 36.17% 3,695 63.83% 0 0.00%
1956 1,841 36.19% 3,246 63.81% 0 0.00%
1952 2,041 38.73% 3,229 61.27% 0 0.00%
1948 553 16.60% 1,797 53.93% 982 29.47%
1944 537 17.88% 2,467 82.12% 0 0.00%
1940 443 13.30% 2,888 86.70% 0 0.00%
1936 196 6.58% 2,783 93.42% 0 0.00%
1932 174 6.51% 2,497 93.49% 0 0.00%
1928 418 24.36% 1,276 74.36% 22 1.28%
1924 85 8.94% 776 81.60% 90 9.46%
1920 162 10.50% 1,248 80.88% 133 8.62%
1916 226 19.06% 861 72.60% 99 8.35%
1912 66 9.85% 520 77.61% 84 12.54%
1908 279 31.28% 465 52.13% 148 16.59%
1904 317 32.09% 595 60.22% 76 7.69%
1900 252 25.71% 663 67.65% 65 6.63%
1896 228 21.88% 768 73.70% 46 4.41%
1892 0 0.00% 822 94.16% 51 5.84%



Previous gubernatorial elections results
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2018 70.14% 17,426 28.60% 7,105 1.25% 312
2014 63.15% 11,604 31.63% 5,812 5.22% 958
2010 58.66% 11,089 37.39% 7,068 3.95% 748
2006 59.74% 9,313 36.97% 5,763 3.29% 514
2002 58.50% 9,554 40.43% 6,603 1.07% 174
1998 61.27% 7,698 38.71% 4,863 0.02% 3
1994 58.35% 7,408 41.65% 5,288

Education[]

The Columbia County School District operates public schools.

Library[]

The Columbia County Public Library consists of 3 branches.

  • Main Branch
  • West Branch
  • Fort White Branch

Transportation[]

Airports[]

Columbia County's main airport is Lake City Municipal Airport. Private airports also exist throughout the county.

Major roads[]

Driving north on Interstate 75 in Columbia County approaching Interstate 10.

  • I-10.svg Interstate 10 is the main west-to-east interstate highway in the county, and serves as the unofficial dividing line between northern and southern Columbia County. It contains three interchanges within the county; the first being I-75 in Springville (Exits 296 A-B), and the other two in Five Points, north of Lake City, US 41 (Exit 301), and US 441(Exit 303). Beyond this point I-10 runs through Osceola National Forest.
  • I-75.svg Interstate 75 is the southeast-to-northwest interstate highway in the county, which enters from Alachua County at bridges over the Santa Fe River. It has four interchanges in the county with US 41/441 in Ellisville (Exit 414), SR 47 (Exit 423), US 90 in Lake City (Exit 427) and I-10 in Springville (Exits 435 A-B).
  • US 27.svg US 27 is another southeast-to-northwest road in southwestern Columbia County, that enters from a bridge over the Santa Fe River, runs through Fort White, and leaves at another bridge over the Ichetucknee River at Ichetucknee Springs State Park.
  • US 41.svg US 41 runs north from High Springs in a concurrency with US 441 until just before it reaches Lake City, Then the two routes run parallel to each other until US 41 branches off to the northwest on its way to Hamilton County, Valdosta, Georgia, and points north.
  • US 90.svg US 90 was the main west-to-east highway in the county, until it was surpassed by I-10. It enters the county from Wellborn in Suwannee County, and directly enters Lake City. East of the city, it runs along the southern edge of Osceola National Forest and serves as the address of two major prisons before crossing the Baker County Line and entering a portion of the forest itself.
  • US 441.svg US 441 runs north from High Springs in a concurrency with US 41 until just before it reaches Lake City, Then the two routes run parallel to each other, but unlike US 41, US 441 stays in Columbia County and runs straight north and south until it crosses the Georgia State Line.
  • Florida 2.svg State Road 2 is located on the far northeast corner of the county, and has no intersections whatsoever.
  • Florida 47.svg State Road 47 is a northeast-to-southwest road that spans from Trenton in Gilchrist County to US 41 in Lake City. North of there it becomes a hidden state road along US 41 until it reaches US Truck Route 90, then turns east, only to turn north again onto US 441 where it remains for the duration until it crosses the Florida-Georgia State Line.
  • Florida 100.svg State Road 100
  • Florida 238.svg State Road 238
  • Florida 247.svg State Road 247 is a northeast to southwest road that spans from Branford in Suwannee County, and terminates at US 90 in western Lake City, just east of US 90's interchange with I-75.

Railroads[]

Columbia County has at least three existing railroad lines. The primary one is a Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad line formerly owned by CSX, Seaboard System Railroad, Seaboard Coastline Industries and Seaboard Air Line Railroad that served Amtrak's Sunset Limited until it was truncated to New Orleans in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina. Lake City (Amtrak station) was Columbia County's only active railroad station until that point. Another one is owned by the Georgia Southern and Florida Railway, and runs along US 41 from Lake City through Hamilton County. A third line runs along SR 100 into Union County.

Communities[]

City[]

Town[]

  • Fort White

Census-designated places[]

  • Five Points
  • Watertown

Other unincorporated communities[]

  • Columbia City
  • Lulu
  • Mikesville
  • Newco
  • Winfield

See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Columbia County, Florida

References[]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/12023.html. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. 
  3. ^ "Alligator Town Marker". http://digitalcommons.unf.edu/historical_architecture_main/3320/. 
  4. ^ Publications of the Florida Historical Society. Florida Historical Society. 1908. p. 30. https://books.google.com/books?id=WZQ-AAAAYAAJ&pg=RA2-PA30. 
  5. ^ "Lake City Florida. Celebrating 150 Years. A Guide to the Sesquicentennial Celebration." Lake City, FL, 2009, pg. 21.
  6. ^ Williams, Morris (March 8, 2008). "Lake City's 150th birthday — time for a celebration". Lake City Reporter. http://www.lakecityreporter.com/articles/2008/03/08/opinion/columns/morris_williams/doc47d363fc76d22046800596.txt. 
  7. ^ a b "Events Leading up to the Battle of Olustee". http://battleofolustee.org/events.html. 
  8. ^ "Olustee Battlefield". Florida Public Archaeology Network. http://www.flpublicarchaeology.org/civilwar/military-sites/olustee-battlefield. 
  9. ^ Lynching in America/ Supplement: Lynchings by County, 3rd Edition, 2017, p. 3
  10. ^ a b Bill Bond, "[NAACP] Report On Lynchings Details Hideous Chapter In History" Script error: No such module "webarchive"., Orlando Sentinel, 25 January 1987; accessed 20 March 2018
  11. ^ "Mob Fury Upon Six Negroes", The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee), 22 May 1911; accessed 20 March 2018
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-files/time-series/geo/gazetteer-files.html. 
  13. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census.html. 
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  15. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/fl190090.txt. 
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  18. ^ "Archived copy". http://dos.myflorida.com/elections/data-statistics/voter-registration-statistics/voter-registration-monthly-reports/voter-registration-current-by-county/. 
  19. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS. 

External links[]

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Tourism links[]

Template:North Florida

Coordinates: 30°14′N 82°38′W / 30.23, -82.63


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Columbia County, Florida. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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