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Putnam County Florida: A Natural Wonderland

Aug 18, 2007
Putnam County Florida is a county of rich history and diverse culture that offers visitors and residents a wide array of activities to enjoy. Established in 1849 and named for Benjamin Alexander Putnam, the original president of the Florida Society, Putnam County's history lies in the early native settlements and the surrounding farmland made rich and productive by the later European settlers. Only 30 miles from the beautiful Atlantic coastline and bordered by fresh water sources such as the Ocklawaha River and Crescent Lake, water activities are a favorite here.

Originally named Pilotaikata (defined as Crossing Over or Cow's Crossing), the town of Palatka was initially used as a military base and called Fort Shannon during the Seminole Indian Wars. Following the staggered occupation of the town by Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War, Palatka became a major shipping center for goods such as timber and citrus, both easily moved from the town by way of the St. Johns River and its immediate tributaries. Besides its many historic attractions, Palatka is also home to Ravine Gardens State Park, a 182 acre, 100 foot ravine known for its many thousands of blooming azaleas during the winter and spring months.

Established in 1876, Crescent City is actually a small town nestled between two lakes and surrounded on its open sides by thriving groves of oak trees. With 42 citrus growers in 1895, Crescent City was one of the most productive citrus towns in early Florida; the "Belle of Crescent City", a packaging label from citrus products, remains the town's logo to this day.

Interlachen, meaning "between the lakes" in Scottish, was originally planned to help accommodate the railway that passed through while traveling between the already established Palatka and Gainesville in 1881. The town quickly grew in light of Florida's early citrus boom and northern immigrants continually made their way to Interlachen in search of a milder southern climate. The town continues to offer visitors an educational opportunity in its historic buildings and culture deep-rooted in the citrus industry.

Resting just west of Crescent City is Georgetown, a small community offering the state's legendary largemouth bass for fishing enthusiasts and the same deep-rooted citrus history found in other towns and cities in Putnam County. Georgetown is well-loved by residents for its relaxed pace and visitors for its getaway potential. The local ferry makes daily trips to beautiful Drayton Island, a haven for plants and wildlife.
About the Author
Timothy Tyson has spent most of 2007 traveling by car around the state of Florida. See what he found out about Putnam County Florida
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