Lake City Seal

Lake City is named as such because of the many lakes that can be found within the city limits. It's known as the Gateway to Florida and can be found at the intersection of I-75 and I-10, about 45 minutes north of Gainesville. If you drive like I do you'll make it in less than 30, I promise. Because of its proximity to Gainesville I get to make it home pretty often, which I really like, because you can't beat Mom's cooking. But I know what you're thinking, "Gosh Brad, that's great and all, but what is there to do in Lake City?"

Not really a whole lot of anything.

A friend once made the sojourn there in order to procure a mattress, of all things. Upon her return I inquired as to how she found my home. Her response was fairly typical.

"It was like the saddest place I've ever seen."

I can't blame her. She grew up in a large city, completely unprepared for the small town she found. She'd obviously never been to Wellborn, Fl. Her reaction is mirrored by many of Lake City's locals, specifically the teenagers. I was never one of them. I grew up kind of bored, but I loved my home nonetheless. Probably because my family has been tied to Columbia County since the early 1800s, back when it was known as Alligator Town.

Lake City is divided into several sections. The locals navigate by landmarks rather than streets, mainly because its layout is less grid-like and more akin to some sort of knotty mess of roads. Uptown you find the tiny bowling alley and our skating rink. The chain restaurants can be found just off of I-75 here, the ritziest of all being a toss up between the Red Lobster and Ruby Tuesday. If you venture about half a mile into town and keep your eyes open so you don't miss it you may catch a glimpse of our tiny mall, a pathetic excuse for a shopping center that added a massive extension to the building and promptly lost stores. You may notice the enormous building right next door with the overflowing parking lot as a Super Wal-Mart. And you'd be right. Kids go to hang out at Wal-Mart instead of the mall.

If you can make it through the couple miles of empty businesses you'll find yourself suddenly in the midst of civilization again, downtown Lake City always being busy. Here you can find our beautiful new courthouse, a beastly waste of money, as well as a new park area on its front lawn where a gazebo sits, home to local music shows and community programs. The library can be found here, as well as Lake DeSoto, rung by old colonial style houses and Shands Lake Shore. Downtown is also known as the historic district, as it was the original site of the city. There are many old businesses, some my grandmother patronized as a child. Lake City is also home to several elementary schools, two middle schools and Columbia High School, home of the Fightin' Tigers!

Falling Creek Waterfall

My favorite part of Lake City is technically not within the city limits, but north of town just past the I-10 overpass. It's an area known as Falling Creek. It is my home. My family has had property here for over a century, known as the Moore Farm. There you'll find many old tobacco barns and the old farmhouse, which is just alive with history. My great-great-aunt has even set up a small museum dedicated to our family history and the hardships of the farming life. Our farm isn't the only thing to be found there though. The area is called Falling Creek because it is home to the largest natural waterfall in Florida. When it rains it's a beautiful spectacle of nature, dark tea-colored water falling about twenty feet into the creek. When it's dry it's a different type of natural beauty, a deep ravine of rocks and shallow limestone caverns. The state bought the land about a decade ago and put in a boardwalk, but that hasn't stopped us from leaping off and finding our old trails every chance we get.