Downtown Gainesville and Related Structures


1. Masonic Lodge (1908)
315 North Main Street
This building remains a fine ex-ample of unaltered Beaux Arts Classicism. Constructed of Tampa artificial stone, the building has a raised portico with Doric columns as a main entrance. Its elaborate doors have Masonic sunburst designs carved upon them. Interior features are woodwork, floors of heart pine wood and a deco-rated plaster ceiling on the second floor.

2. Dutton Bank Building (c.1885)
20-22 West University Avenue
This brick building housed one of the earliest private banks in the state and was the head office for the HE Dutton Company, a major mercantile firm. It features semi-circular arches at entry level, elabo-rate plaster cornice, pressed metal ceilings and marble floorings.

3. Gainesville National Bank Building (c.1884)
2 West University Avenue
This brick commercial building was built by Marcus Endel and his brothers as a dry goods and cloth-ing store. In 1907 Gainesville National Bank occupied most of the building and from 1923 to 1982 it served as the main Woolworth's store in town.




4. The Clock Tower (1983)
East University Avenue
This structure's design is based on the architectural features found on the original 1885 courthouse and was completed in 1983 to house the old courthouse clock. Manu-factured by the Seth Thomas Clock Company in 1885, the clock bell was connected with the city's fire alarm system and the entire town could hear its ringing. Its intri-cate clock works required that it be wound every eight days. Ted Crom restored the clock and the citizens of Gainesville helped finance the construction through donations.




5. Bethel Gas Station (1925)(1983)
Southeast 1st Avenue
Detailed in its Renaissance Re-vival style, this gas station remains one of the few relatively unal-tered service stations from the 1920s. Originally of red brick, the building was painted white in the 1930s to modernize its appearance. Saved when the Community Plaza was built in 1976 and moved there in 1987, it has been renovated to its original style.

7. Baird Theater-Cox Building (1887)
19 Southeast 1st Avenue
Constructed as Edward's Opera House, this two-story building was remodeled with a third story to increase seating to 1000 in 1906. In its prime, decorated with a color scheme of white and gold, it had red seats and wicker chairs in the opera boxes. It featured acts like "Abie's Irish Rose," minstrel and vaudeville shows and the Beggar Prince and the Manhattan Opera Company. Later used as a movie theatre, it housed a bakery, beauty shop and McCollum's Drug Store as first floor tenants. After the destructive fire of 1938, Cox's furniture store relocated in the building, combining the three original store fronts into one large retail space. The original 1887 cornice line remains on the east fašade.


8. New Baird Building(c.1911)
112-116 Southeast 1st Street
Built by Eberle Baird, the founder of Baird Hardware, this tan brick building remains virtually unaltered. Various tenants, including a confectionary store, Gainesville Chevrolet and the Hart Furniture company have occupied the first floor. Since 1939 Mike's Bookstore and Tobacco Shop has been in the south part, making it the longest term tenant in the city. The second floor served as professional offices for people like architect Sanford Goin and businessman James C. Adkins. One of its distinctive features is an original central skylight.


9. Post Office (1909)
25 Southeast 2nd Place
National Register 1979
Designed as a focal point and physical terminus of First Street, this building stands as one of the finest examples of the Beaux Arts classical style in Florida. Elegantly trimmed with carved limestone, its north facade is dominated by a Monumental portico with six Corinthian columns. The richly plastered interior, bronze entry doors and terrazzo floors are also noteworthy. Having served as the Post Office until 1964, the building was renovated in 1980 as the Hippodrome State Theater.

10. Sun Center (1925)
101 Southeast 2nd Place
Originally built to house the Pepper Publishing Company, this building became the offices and printing press for the Gainesville Sun until the 1980s. Extensively remodeled in 1986, its upstairs offices were altered to make room for a two-story atrium. Now modern offices with balconies overlook an inside mall of small retail shops below. The oldest portion of the building, the long section of Georgia brick with the name "Gainesville Daily Sun" etched in concrete, has become Toby's Corner Restaurant.

11. Sovereign Restaurant (1910)
12 Southeast 2nd Avenue
Eberle Baird built this yellow Campville brick structure as a livery stable and carriage house for the Baird Theater. After serving as a parking and storage area, it was remodeled into a Creole-style restaurant in 1973, imitating the Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans. The iron grillwork is from New Orleans, while its chandeliers and panels of stained glass come from older Louisiana homes.


12. Commercial Hotel (1887)
120 South Main Street
Originally called the Alachua Hotel, this building became the Commercial Hotel in 1924 and stands as the oldest extant hotel building in the city. It still retains its notable three-story facade detail and oversized street level windows with semicircular transoms. Vacant for many years, it was remodeled in 1973 as a county office building.

13. The Florida Theater (c.1920)
235 West University Avenue
This two-story brick building served as the main movie theater in Gainesville for nearly forty years and has since been converted for use as a music and concert hall. Its Colonial Revival details include turned balusters, sunburst panels in arched windows and unfluted Corinthian columns as well as stone and brick quoining.

14. Primrose Inn (1910)
214 West University Avenue
Originally built as a private home for a University professor, this building was remodeled and expanded in 1927 to become The Primrose Inn and Grill. Operated by the Winn family and then John C. McCraw as a hotel and restaurant noted for its southern cooking, it remained a downtown institution until closing in May, 1988. With its fieldstone lower story and a shingled upper half, patterned after the Prairie style with false half timbering, it remains a good example of adapting local materials to an architectural style.


15. Seagle Building (1927)
408 West University Avenue
NATIONAL REGISTER 1 9 8 2
Originally constructed to serve as a luxury hotel, this eleven-story skyscrapper remained unfinished when the 1920s boom ended. The city and county, with the assistance of Miss Georgia Seagle, completed the building in 1936, renamed it in memory of her brother and donated it to the University of Florida to house the Florida State Museum. When the University moved out, the building was renovated in 1983 as luxury condominiums and the Heritage Club.




16. First Baptist Church (1923)
425 West University Avenue
The First Baptist Church was organized in 1870 and this is the congregation's third church. An outstanding example of Classic Revival architecture, it features an impressive two-story columned entrance and fine interior paneling and woodwork.

17. Robb House (1878)
235 Southwest 2nd Avenue
This one-story Victorian cottage with its unusual bays and gingerbread decoration was originally constructed by Joseph Avera on University Avenue. In 1898 Dr. Robert L. Robb and his wife, Dr. Sarah Robb, Gainesville's first woman physician, moved their medical practice into the house. Though her husband died in 1903, Sarah continued practicing medicine until 1917, specializing in the care of women and children. After her death in 1937 and after various stints as a dancing school and Karate building, the house was moved by the Alachua County Medical Society to its present location and completely restored.

18. Cox Furniture Company (c.1890)
602 South Main Street
This commercial building preserves the form and style of a small Romanesque Revival church. Its central "nave" is raised to allow clerestory lighting and shorter "side aisles" flank the nave. A triple arched entrance and corbelled cornice are also noteworthy. Originally the building had an interior rail car entrance and track so that loading and unloading of goods might take place inside the building.

19. Baird Hardware Company Warehouse (1910)
619 South Main Street
NATIONAL REGISTER 1985
This masonry vernacular one-story brick building was the main warehouse for Baird Hardware, which was a major commercial enterprise for over ninety years. Now divided into small business establishments, the warehouse also serves as a theater for the Acrosstown Repertory Players.


This information has been taken from the booklet titled: "Historic Gainesville: A Tour Guide to the Past," and edited by Ben Pickard. Published by Historic Gainesville, Inc. with funding from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, 1990. Photographs by Jennifer Moreau