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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Melrose in Putnam County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Melrose

 
 
Melrose Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, 2011
1. Melrose Marker
Inscription.
(Front text)

The region south of Santa Fe Lake was not settled until after the Seminole War in 1842, although it was on the Spanish mission trail from St. Augustine from about 1600 to 1763 and, during the English (1763-1784) and second Spanish (1784-1821) periods, on the overland route to Pensacola. Florida's first Federal highway, the 1826 Bellamy road, followed about the same path. Many of the early landowners came from South Carolina and Georgia. After the decade of Reconstruction following the Civil War, an influx of new families came to the region, many to engage in planting orange groves, a few of which had been started in the 1850's. Because the route of the Florida Railroad, completed in 1861 and reorganized after the War, passed west of the region, the Santa Fe Canal Company was chartered in March of 1877 to open a waterway from the railroad in Waldo through Lake Alto to Santa Fe Lake. In May of 1877 Alexander Goodson, Isaac Weston, and Meridth Granger, platted a 30-block town site south of the little bay on the southeast side of Santa Fe Lake. The old Bellamy Road was the main east-west axis, with Centre Street, straddling the Alachua, Putnam, and Clay county border, as the north-south axis. The origin of the town name,

(Reverse text)
Melrose, is shrouded in conflicting legends. The canal
Melrose Marker-Side 1 image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, November 8, 2016
2. Melrose Marker-Side 1
linking Waldo to Santa Fe Lake was completed in March of 1881. The stern-wheel steamer, F.S. Lewis, built in Waldo, made its maiden voyage in April 1881. Northern visitors, who came to improve their health and invest in orange groves, built winter cottages or stayed at the boarding houses or the several hotels that catered to the winter tourists. The town soon had a number of general stores, a sawmill, cotton gin, livery stables, several churches, and a high school. The Western Railroad reached Melrose from Green Cove Springs in 1890. The town was then a thriving waterfront resort, lake port, and a horticultural and agricultural center. Devastated by the freezes of 1894-95, the citrus groves never recovered. Melrose became a quiet lakeside retreat for seasonal and week-end residents, with a small permanent population. In 1901 Melrose was incorporated but gave up its charter in 1917. Many of the nineteenth century homes and buildings still survive. The Melrose Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
 
Erected 1990 by The Alachua County Historical Commission in Cooperation with the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-328.)
 
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 29° 42.577′ N, 82° 2.914′ 
Melrose Marker-Side 2 image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, November 8, 2016
3. Melrose Marker-Side 2
W. Marker was in Melrose, Florida, in Putnam County. Marker was on State Road 26, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker has been moved to Melrose Heritage Park between Cypress Ave and Grove Ave which is over the county line in Putnam County. Marker was in this post office area: Melrose FL 32666, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Earleton, Florida (approx. 3.9 miles away); The Bellamy Road (approx. 4.6 miles away); Hawthorne (approx. 8.3 miles away); Waldo (approx. 9.1 miles away); Dickison and His Men / Jefferson Davis' Baggage (approx. 9.1 miles away); For All Who Served (approx. 9.1 miles away); The Edgar Post Office (approx. 9.8 miles away); Lincoln Lane Schoolhouse (approx. 11.3 miles away).
 
Regarding Melrose. Melrose Platted in 1877 and once called Banana, the town thrived with the opening of Sante Fe Canal, connecting the town with Waldo. Melrose became a tourist center, with many hotels and winter residents during the 1880s and a shipping center for citrus and vegetables. The freezes of the 1890s destroyed both the citrus industry and tourism, but the city's
fine homes survived and today Melrose features scores of older restored homes and a historic district.

National Register of Historic Places:
Melrose Historic District
Melrose Marker, reverse side image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, March 20, 2011
4. Melrose Marker, reverse side
(added 1990 - District - #89002305)
Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Multiple
Architectural Style: Greek Revival, Late Victorian, Other
Area of Significance: Architecture, Exploration/Settlement
Period of Significance: 1875-1899, 1900-1924, 1925-1949
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade, Domestic
Historic Sub-function: Single Dwelling, Specialty Store
Current Function: Commerce/Trade, Domestic
 
Categories. Notable Places
 
Melrose Marker, seen along State Road 26 image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, March 20, 2011
5. Melrose Marker, seen along State Road 26
Melrose Marker, looking east near Trout Street image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, March 20, 2011
6. Melrose Marker, looking east near Trout Street
Melrose Marker, looking west along State Road 26, near Quail Street image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, March 20, 2011
7. Melrose Marker, looking west along State Road 26, near Quail Street
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 886 times since then and 10 times this year. Last updated on , by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   2, 3. submitted on , by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on November 16, 2016.
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