Drawing of the steamboat F.S. Lewis - Gainesville, Florida

Drawing of the steamboat F.S. Lewis - Gainesville, Florida

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/28069
(please include photographer's name when noted).


  • Drawing of the steamboat F.S. Lewis - Gainesville, Florida

Image Number

  • RC04600


  • 188-

Series Title

General Note

  • Accompanying note: Commerce and travel in Alachua County were much dependent on steam, particularly steam boats, before the road system and gasoline-powered vehicles appeared. One of the best-known of the early steamers was this two-deck paddle wheeler. This steamer served Gainesville and its agricultural area in the era when the Florida Legislature saw fit to enact a law making it a crime to race steamboats on the state's waterways. This view was drawn in the early 1880s.
  • Steamboat travel was important on Alachua Lake, after a drain plugged up and turned the prairie into a lake, that commerce lasted until the lake turned into Paynes Prairie again, which it remains today. Steamboats also were important, for a much longer period, in connecting the rail terminal at Waldo via the Waldo Canal, dug in the 1870s with Lake Alto, Lake Santa Fe, and eventually with the orange groves and tourist attractions at Melrose and its Putnam County sister city (now vanished) Banana. The steamers, when vacationers were arriving, used to turn pleasure boats on weekends, and orchestra and entertainment. Boating was a pleasant afternoon or evening trip. The steamboat business petered out, and the last boat stopped steaming down Waldo Canal in the 1920s or early 1930s.

Physical Description

  • 1 photoprint - b&w - 8 x 10 in.

Subject Term

Geographic Term

Subject Corporate

Shelf Number

  • Shelf number: 15503.

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