Home / About High Springs

History

Bones of prehistoric mammals and tools of paleo-Indians have been recovered from springs and rivers near High Springs. Hernando de Soto led his expedition through this area around 1539, and in the 17th century Indian villages and a large Spanish mission flourished near the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers.

The northwest region of Alachua County was probably first settled on a permanent basis by English speaking people during the late 1830`s. One of the earliest settlements `in the vicinity was a Crockett Springs, located about three miles east of present day High Springs. Settlers who were living there during the 1840`s included Fernando Underwood and Marshal Blanton. No town developed in the area before the latter part of the nineteenth century.
In 1884, the Savannah, Florida, and Western Railroad was extended from Live Oak to Gainesville. A post office and station were established here in that year under the name of Stantaffey, which was a common spelling of the name of the nearby Santa Fe River. The town was also known unofficially as Orion before the name was changed in 1880 to High Springs. In the next few years, High Springs boomed as a result of the development of phosphate mining in the area. In 1892, the town was incorporated. During the next year, the Savannah, Florida, and Western Railroad completed its South Florida Division which connected High Springs with Port Tampa. By the beginning of the twentieth century, High Springs was known as an important railroad center.

In the 1980’s and 1990’s, High Springs became a mecca for Antique Stores and visitors came from all over to browse our downtown shops.

Today our downtown business community has many diverse shops and eateries, bed & breakfasts and small motels, as well as a Community Playhouse.  High Springs is also home to the Priest Theatre, the oldest operating movie theater in Florida. Our High Springs local businesses offer a wide variety of goods and services for residents and visitors.

Visitors come to High Springs year round to enjoy the Santa Fe River and surrounding natural areas for hiking, diving, swimming, fishing, canoeing and tubing.  We invite you to come and spend a day, a week or a lifetime.  Come and enjoy our Good Nature.

Skip to content