A piece of Gainesville History

Starting Monday, the Matheson Museum downtown is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gainesville with a civil rights exhibit.

The exhibit, called “Sesquicentennial,” will take visitors back to the beginning of the civil rights movement in Alachua County — as far back as the Civil War and the Battle of Gainesville in 1864. The exhibit then traces the civil rights movement all the way to the integration of public school in the 1960s.

Stephanie Pastore, museum technician, said visitors will be able to trace back to the evolution of the civil rights movement in Alachua County through photographs, displays and oral history archives.

Curator Megan Mosley said the exhibit will make it easier for visitors to comprehend the cause and effect of the civil rights movement by piecing together past events in the order they occurred.

“It’s amazing when you start looking at these very personal stories how close the past is, and how you can start to understand Civil War history better,” she said.

The archives will present personal stories about African-Americans during Reconstruction, the Jim Crow South and the transition to the civil rights movement.

One exhibit will focus on Josiah T. Walls, an African-American who was forced to serve in the Confederate Army and later served as the first African-American mayor in Gainesville.



A Piece of Gainesville History

Living in Gainesville, you will be quick to figure out that it is a place full of culture and history. Several buildings are hundreds of years old with many interesting stories of the people who used to live or work there. One place in particular that you can go to and feel as if you have directly taken a step into history is the Historic Haile Homestead of Kanapaha Plantation. For only $5 for adults, trained guides will take you on a 45-minute to hour-long tour of the 6,200 square foot home in which Thomas Evans and Serena Chesnut Haile moved to in 1854. This home is one of the few remaining antebellum homes in north central Florida and what makes it truly unique are the “talking walls”. Each room has over 12,500 words written on them from the family, completely submersing you in the real history and the story of the time. Tours are available Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm and Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm, so go by, this weekend to see a real piece of  history.