Columbia County History

Columbia County History


When Columbia County was created February 4, 1832, it included the present counties of Baker, Bradford, Suwannee and Union. Its area at that time was 2618 square miles. In 1838 Suwannee County was taken from it, and in 1862 Baker and Bradford were created. The present area of Columbia County is about 792 square miles.
Among the first settlements in Columbia County was Alligator located on the old Spanish trail. It was incorporated in 1856 and was designated by the Legislative Council as the county seat. It continued as the seat of justice until 1859 when its name was changed to Lake City.
Tradition has it that this act was passed by the Legislative Council at the insistence of Mrs. William Ross, who feared that her daughter's friends at the school she was to attend would ridicule her if she referred to her home as "Alligator".
The first legislative act outlining the boundaries of Lake City, then Alligator, was passed in 1848, when regular lines were set giving the community an area of 1 1/2 square miles. In 1886 the limits were extended one mile in each direction from the Court House as it then stood, and the present outlines embrace a territory of four sections of land.
The first Court House was erected in the northwest corner of what is now Olustee Park. It was a log building, consisting of two rooms with a porch. An open well and a watering trough for live


State Library of Florida, WPA - Historical Records Survey, County Histories


Brief history of Columbia County, Florida collected by the Works Progress Administration's Historical Records Survey.

Note to Researchers: Though the WPA field workers included extensive citations for the factual information contained in these county histories, it should be noted that these historical narratives were produced in the 1930s by federal government employees, and might reflect the inherent social biases of the era.