This will offer a brief spectrum of the origin and the development and historical progress of the first African American settlers in the City of Gainesville. And of the formation of the first real neighborhoods of the City of Gainesville – that of the Pleasant Street Area.

Shortly after the close of the war in 1865, a group of Negroes from Camden, South Carolina, filled with zest, vigor, as well as good character, beautiful rapport, strangely enough, not of the slave variety, but instead, an encouraged equipped with a minimal number of educated and many with vocational skills; and, a few with professional skills who sought to explore and settle on the northern boundary of the then village of Gainesville, Florida. They chose the area from Main Street to Grove Street (4 blocks: east to west) and from Boundary Street to Union Street.

These pioneer settlers proceeded to carve out the pristine woodsy area, choosing home sites. Each carefully choosing sites large enough for large flower gardens and with back yards large enough for small family vegetable gardens and small yards for chickens. In a few cases the family owned a milk cow for family use.

As if preplanned, this unusual group of pioneers included: carpenters, bakers, barbers, painters, blacksmiths, ministers, musicians, tailors, seamstresses, draymen, (wagon drivers), hackmen (carriage drivers), liverymen, doctors and shoe cobblers. All of whom were ready to begin building a neighborhood. Churches, a public school, theaters, playgrounds, etc. were built.

Having developed the woodsy area into a neighborhood – the Pleasant Street Area was born. Pleasant Street Historic Society, Inc. was founded in 1984 and is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and protecting the Pleasant Street Historic District and African American history in Gainesville, Florida.

-Claronelle Smith Griffin

1st StreetGarden Street
2nd StreetPleasant Street
3rd StreetArredonda Street
4th StreetGrove Street
2nd. AvenueOrange Street
3rd. AvenueCourt Street
4th. AvenueChurch Street
5th. AvenueSeminary Street
6th. AvenueCanal Street
7th. AvenueColumbia Street
8th. AvenueBoundary Street

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