Gilchrist County Courthouse

     Gilchrist County, named in honor of Governor Albert Gilchrist, was created from Alachua County in 1925. Governor Gilchrist, a lifelong bachelor, is fondly remembered for a provision in his will buying ice cream for the children of his hometown Punta Gorda. Local citizens began clamoring for a new county after Alachua commissioners refused to build a new road from Gainesville to Fanning Springs on the Suwannee River.  These citizens had suggested the name "Melon County" for the watermelons that are still grown here in profusion.   The legislature, however, first considered honoring the recently deceased President Woodrow Wilson, then chose Gilchrist when learning that the latter was also on his deathbed in a New York hospital.  The county seat of Gilchrist County is Trenton, formerly known as Joppa; an early settler renamed it for his own hometown of Trenton, Tennessee.

     The first courthouse was located in a renovated school building, which burned in 1932.  The present Gilchrist County Courthouse was a project of the depression-era Works Progress Administration. Designed by the firm of Smith, Holborn, and Dozier of Jacksonville, it was built in 1933 and remodeled in 1965. The original courthouse was located in a converted school building which burned in 1932.A contemporary view of the Gilchrist County Courthouse.  Photo by Anne Kaylor

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