Micanopy, Florida

Silence is an often overlooked aspect of historic integrity–until it is taken away. That’s what happened in the historic north central Florida town of Micanopy.

Though just 10 minutes south of Gainesville and a mile from a busy stretch of I-75, Micanopy’s Spanish moss-shrouded oak  trees soak up the noise and envelope the late nineteenth/early twentieth century vernacular buildings in a time warp back to a South that existed before the spread of air conditioning.

As the plaques below attest, Micanopy has a rich history–especially for a Florida locale not situated on the coast.

In the 1940s, U.S. 441 was built just to the east of town, leaving Micanopy essentially frozen in time. It unwillingly returned to the map in the 1960s when I-75 was constructed a mile away to the west. A connector road between U.S. 441 and I-75 passed through Micanopy and brought tractor-trailers and other vehicles through the tiny downtown at all hours, infuriating residents. Over the next few decades, they launched an anti-sound campaign and showed how the roaring trucks were causing damage to historic masonry. Their efforts finally were rewarded in 1992 when a I-75-U.S. 441 bypass opened northwest of town, returning Micanopy to a degree of silence.

Today, Micanopy’s half-mile downtown strip is a thriving antiques center, though it still resembles a pre-World War II town.

In recent years, Micanopy even has been linked to Hollywood. It was a film location for the 1991 Michael J. Fox film “Doc Hollywood,” and the Phoenix family (Joaquin, the late River, and Casey Affleck’s wife, Summer) grew up on a commune nearby.

A stretch of buildings in downtown Micanopy.

Most downtown buildings are from the Florida Land Boom in the 1920s.

The Feaster Building suffered damage when big trucks passed through downtown. Its deterioration helped lead to the construction of the interstate bypass in the 1992. Cultural performances were once held on the third floor. Gator Preservationist mobile to right.

Antique shops are an excellent way to tastefully reinvigorate historic downtowns.

Apparently, the 1920s log cabin was built first, and the warehouse came next to shield its roof.

The vacant and restored Thrasher Building dates to the 1920s as well.

The Herlong Mansion is Micanopy’s most famous building. It originated as a vernacular, Cracker-style farmhouse in the 1840s and took its Southern Greek Revival appearance during an overhaul in 1910. Today, it’s a bed and breakfast and hosts weddings and other events.

This restored sign is on the Thrasher Warehouse, now home to the Micanopy Historical Society.

Spanish moss-draped oaks line Micanopy’s side streets.

The Old Baptist Church, now a residence and fronted by a massive oak tree.

Whimsical.

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One response to “Micanopy, Florida

  1. Pingback: McIntosh, Florida | Gator Preservationist

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