Top, left to right: Lake De Soto, Battle of Olustee monument, Columbia County Courthouse (Florida), City Hall, Florida Gateway College, Osceola National Forest
|Motto: Gateway to Florida|
Location in Columbia County and the state of Florida
|Mayor||Stephen M. Witt|
|City Manager||Wendell Johnson|
|City||11.1 sq mi (28.7 km2)|
|Land||10.6 sq mi (27.4 km2)|
|Water||.5 sq mi (1.3 km2) 4.69%|
|Elevation3||188 ft (57 m)|
|Density||1,197/sq mi (462/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP code||32024-32025, 32055-32056|
|GNIS feature ID||0305917|
Lake City is the county seat of Columbia County,  Florida, in the United States. In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau city's population at 12,046. In addition, it is the Principal City of the Lake City Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is composed of Columbia County, and had a 2010 population of 67,531. The city's Sesquicentennial occurred in 2009.
The site of Lake City was a Seminole village named Alpata Telophka or Hvlpvtv Tvlofv, meaning "Alligator Village". By 1830, a Euro-American town called Alligator was established, adjacent to the Seminole town. The city was incorporated and changed to its current name in 1859. The name was changed because the mayor's wife, who had recently moved to the town, refused to hang her lace curtains in a town named Alligator. Local bodies of water include Lake DeSoto, Lake Isabella, Alligator Lake, Lake Hamburg, Gwen Lake, Lake Harper and Watertown Lake.
The American Civil War Battle of Olustee took place near Lake City in February 1864. 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.
By the early 20th century, Lake City had become an important railroad junction, served by the Seaboard Air Line, Atlantic Coast Line, Georgia Southern Line, and the Florida Railroad Line.
By 1950, the population of Lake City was 7,467 people and forestry (turpentine, lumber, and pulpwood) had become a mainstay of the local economy.
In 1958, the Columbia Amateur Radio Society was formed. This was a group of amateur radio operators that enjoyed the ability to communicate all over the world. Amateur radio is a hobby that attracts a wide range of people interested in all facets of radio communications. Involvement in amateur radio allows people to practice their public speaking skills as well as the advancement of one's knowledge of radio theory, electronics, and emergency management. This radio club still exists today.
Lake City's centennial was celebrated in 1959 with parades, fireworks and a 58-page book documenting one hundred years of progress, A Century in the Sun. The citizens of the town dressed in period attire, complete with whiskers. A good-natured clash arose between the men with additional facial hair and the women who did not like it.
Lake City has two historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. The Lake City Historic Commercial District is located in the downtown city core and was designated on June 6, 1994. The Lake Isabella Historic Residential District is located south of the main portion of town and was designated on November 15, 1993.
Lake City is located at 30°11′N 82°38′W (30.1896, -82.6397). Lake City is near the intersection of Interstate highways I-10 and I-75. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.1 square miles (29 km2). 10.6 square miles (27 km2) of it is land and .5 square miles (1 km2) of it is water. The total area is 4.69% water.
As of the census of 2010, there are 12,046 people, 4,650 households, 2558 Family households, residing in the city. The population density is 1002.4 per square mile. There are 5,539 housing units at an average density of 460.81 per square mile (286.40/km ). The racial makeup of the city is 56.6% White, 37.3% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. 5.4% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 4,650 households out of which 28.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% are married couples living together, 20.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 39.9% are non-families. 33.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 15.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.34 and the average family size is 3.01.
In the city the population is spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 19.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 85.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $28,533, and the median income for a family is $39,133. Males have a median income of $31,261 versus $27,656 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,083. 20.5% of the population and 17.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 25.9% of those under the age of 18 and 14.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Lake City is part of the humid subtropical climate zone of the Southeast United States. Due to its latitude and relative position north of Florida's peninsula it is subject at times to continental conditions, which cause rare cold snaps that may affect sensitive winter crops. The hottest temperature ever recorded in the city was 106 °F (41 °C) on June 4, 1918, and the coldest temperature ever recorded was 6 °F ( 14 °C) on February 13, 1899.
|Climate data for Lake City, Florida (Lake City 2 E), 1981 2010 normals|
|Record high °F (°C)||90 |
|Average high °F (°C)||64.8 |
|Average low °F (°C)||41.9 |
|Record low °F (°C)||7 |
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.24 |
|Avg. precipitation days ( 0.01 In)||11.2||8.7||9.2||6.7||7.3||14.1||15.5||15.5||10.6||7.8||7.6||9.6||123.8|
|Source: NOAA (extremes 1892 present)|
The Columbia County School District operates 9 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 3 high schools and an alternative school. Lake City also has 1 higher education institution called the Florida Gateway College that offers an Associate degree and a four-year Bachelor's degree.
Lake City and Columbia County, Florida are known as "The Gateway to Florida" because Interstate 75 runs though them, carrying a large percentage of Florida's tourist and commercial traffic. Lake City is one of the most northernmost sizable town/city in Florida on Interstate 75 and the location where I-10 and I-75 intersect. Interstate 10 is the southernmost east-west major interstate highway and traverses the country from Jacksonville, Florida to Santa Monica, California. U.S. 41 and U.S. 90 (the U.S. highway versions of I-75 and I-10) have intersected in Lake City since 1927, long before the Interstate Highways were built. Interstate traffic also passed though Lake City during that time. The city relies on travelers for a considerable part of its economy.
Lake City is the location of the Osceola National Forest's administrative offices.
The Lake City Gateway Airport is a local center of business. The airport is classified as a General Aviation facility, but two on-site operations are somewhat unique. TIMCO is an aircraft modification and rehabilitation operation for large (B-727, 737) civilian and military aircraft. The United States Forest Service uses C-130 transport aircraft in support of its forest fire-fighting operations in the southeast U.S.
Since 2000, four companies have begun large operations in Lake City: Hunter Panels, New Millennium and United States Cold Storage. Target built their first company-owned and third-party-operated perishable food distribution center in Lake City during 2008.
The top employers in the Lake City area are:
|Rank||Company Name||Business Description||# Employees|
|1||Columbia County School System||Education/Schools/Training & Development Centers||1,400|
|2||VA Medical Center||Healthcare||1,200|
|3||Anderson Columbia Co., Inc.||Asphalt/Paving||775|
|5||Wal-Mart Supercenter||Retail Sales||505|
|6||Lake City Medical Center||Healthcare||430|
|8||Shands at Lake Shore||Healthcare||353|
|10||CCA - Lake City Correctional Facility||Correctional Facility||279|
|11||City of Lake City||Government||260|
|12||S&S Food Stores||Convenience Stores||249|
|13||Columbia County Manager||Government||248|
|14||City of Lake City||Utilities||226|
|15||Florida Gateway College||Education||225|
|16||Health Care Center of Lake City||Healthcare||163|
|17||Publix Super Markets, Inc.||Grocery Stores||151|
|18||Corbitt Manufacturing Co., Inc.||Manufacturer||115|
|20||Target Food Distribution Center||Distribution||78|
Every February since 1976, Lake City has hosted the Olustee Battle Festival and reenactment of the Battle of Olustee. The Miss Olustee Pageant is held two weeks prior to the Battle Festival. Highlights include:
This festival at O'Leno State Park celebrates early 19th-century history, from 1800 to 1859, in north Florida, especially that of Alligator/Lake City and Newnansville/Alachua and is held each year on the weekend (Fri-Sun) of the 3rd Saturday in October.
Lake City's started out as the Seminole community of Alligator Village (Hvlpvtv Tvlofv) in Spanish Florida. Historians don't know when it was established but its existence is documented by the U.S. Army in 1821. Spanish Florida had long been a place of freedom for slaves escaping from the British colonies and the United States. Also, many of the refugees from the Creek War moved to Spanish Florida to live among or near the Seminole in the aftermath of the Creek War, because they had been forced to surrender their land to the U.S. in the Treaty of Fort Jackson. In a February 1821 report by Captain John H. Bell, he mentions that the recent death of the micco (chief) of Alligator Village prevented the micco's attendance at a gathering of chiefs. 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 Alligator Village and called it Alligator Town. Then, 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, Alligator Town became the seat of the county government. Alligator Town was renamed Lake City in 1859.
The most famous resident of Alligator Village was Alligator Warrior (Hvlpvtv Tvstvnvke). He was a son of a daughter of Micanopy (King) Payne (Mekk-Onvpv Pin) and lead Seminole warriors in the 2nd Seminole War (1835 1842) to prevent the relocation of Florida's Indians to the Arkansas Territory (now known as Oklahoma). Although Alligator Warrior was certainly a leader of warriors, the U.S. military mistakenly referred to him as a chief because they did not understand Seminole culture.
The Alligator Warrior Festival tries to educate and entertain by demonstrating how Native American, European, African and mixed-descent settlers lived in early 19th-century Florida. Living-history reenactors portraying 1830s Seminoles, U.S. soldiers, pioneer militia and settlers give presentations in their period camps and reenact the September 18, 1836, Battle of San Felasco Hammock, which is the 2nd Seminole War battle that took place closest to O'Leno State Park. The festival also includes Native American musicians and dancers, a drum arbor with dance ground and tee pee camp, as well as other musicians, demonstrators of early 19th-century skills such as blacksmithing, barrell making, spinning and weaving, and traders selling historic replicas, skillfully handcrafted arts, manufactured souvenirs, and food.
The first Alligator Festival was held in 1995 at Olustee Park in downtown Lake City. The event was not held from 2000 to 2001 while Olustee Park was being completely rebuilt. The renovated Olustee Park was no longer suitable for the event so it was held at Wilson Park from 2002 to 2003. Needing a larger space, it was held at Gateway College from 2003 to 2007. The organizational committee reorganized into a non-profit corporation in 2007. Then, for the city's sesquicentennial (150th) celebration in 2009, the event was held at the old memorial stadium because use of the college grounds became unaffordable. Starting in 2010 the annual festival is being held at O'Leno State Park, in Columbia County, where the appropriate facilities exist for a full scale battle reenactment, historic camping and large crowds.
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