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Gainesville: Bustling University of Florida

About Gainesville

Situated in Northern Florida, in Alachua County, lies the city of Gainesville. Within its 45 square miles resides some 94,000 inhabitants, the University of Florida, and a 280-acre wildlife sanctuary. In addition to a prosperous business community, Gainesville provides a strong educational environment and a myriad of recreational activities. Combine all this with a climate of warm days and cool nights and it becomes easy to see Gainesville: Building on Campus why Gainesville was chosen as the best city in which to live by Money Magazine in September 1995.

Early Gainesville

The early history of Gainesville is dominated by Spain. The area was first traversed by Spanish explorers around 1519. These early residents concentrated on building missions and utilizing the fertile land of the area. While the British did occupy the area from 1763-1783, the Spanish once again took over and ended the brief English rule. Then, in 1817, 300,000 acres of northern Florida fell into the hands of a wealthy Cuban merchant. The king of Spain granted this tract of land which centered on a historic Seminole village named Alachua. This Cuban occupation, however, was short-lived. Two years later, the United States took over Florida as a territory. Gainesville was officially Gainesville: Skating on Campus established in 1854 and was named after Edmund Gaines, a Seminole war hero.

Gainesville is the Home of the University of Florida

Until the early 1900's, agriculture played the largest part in Gainesville's economy. However, in the late 1800's, after a series of particularly harsh freezes, citrus production was halted. It was then that Gainesville shifted its economic development to incorporate the newly constructed University of Florida. Built in 1906, the University is now Gainesville's largest employer and the seventh largest university in the nation. Agriculture, though, is still the economic mainstay of the area and several state and federal agricultural agencies are headquartered in Gainesville.

The University of Florida is just one example of the strong emphasis placed on education and research in Gainesville. Among freshman entering the university, over 90 percent rank above average on college entrance exams. Furthermore, the area also has the highest percentage of gifted students in the entire state of Florida. In all, over 80 percent of high school students attend some form of higher education.

Gainesville Has a Good Job Market

Gainesville also offers one of the best retirement atmospheres in Florida. While the natural beauty of the area allows for relaxation and contemplation, the university setting gives one a sense of "hustle and bustle"excitement. In addition to numerous Gainesville: The Bikes Are Gone retirement communities in Gainesville, many retail and dining establishments honor senior-type discounts. The finest of health care is also readily available through the cities four hospitals and university research programs.

With a strong job market, an equally strong educational system, and an overall sense of prosperity, Gainesville also works hard to maintain its sense of natural beauty and history. Large forests make up the majority of this city's landscape. Though not situated on either of Florida's coasts, many of the recreational activities in Gainesville are water-related. In fact, more than one mile in twenty of the area is covered in water.

Whether residents are students, retirees, or families, Gainesville provides everything necessary for a high standard of living not easily matched elsewhere.

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