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.