HISTORY OF HIGH SPRINGS
Bones of prehistoric mammals and tools of paleo-Indians have been recovered from springs and rivers near High Springs. Hernando de Soto led his expedition through this area around1539, and in the 17th century Indian villages and a large Spanish mission flourished near the Ichetucknee and Santa Fe Rivers
The northwest region of Alachua County was probably first settled on a permanent basis by English speaking people during the late 1830’s. One of the earliest settlements in the vicinity was Crockett Springs, located about three miles east of present day High Springs. Settlers who were living there during the 1840’s included Fernando Underwood and Marshal Blanton. No town developed in the area before the later part of the nineteenth century.
In 1884, the Savannah, Florida and Western Railroad was extended from Live Oak to Gainesville. A post office and station were established here in that year under the name of Stantaffey, which was a common spelling of the name of the nearby Santa Fe River. The town was also known unofficially as Orion before the name was changed in 1880to High Springs. In the next few years, High Springs boomed as a result of the development of phosphate mining in the area.In 1892, the town was incorporated. During the next year, the Savannah, Florida and Western Railroad completed its South Florida Division which connected High Springs with Port Tampa. By the beginning of the twentieth century, High Spring was known as an important railroad center, with a large yard, a turntable and maintenance shops.
High Springs also became a major agricultural center for the surrounding areas. And it also became the “Antique Capital” of North Central Florida. To this day, quaint shops await you and friendly faces welcome you.
Today, High Springs is known as the Gateway to the Springs. Visitors to the High Springs area prize these waters for their recreational value- for scuba diving, swimming, fishing, canoeing, and tubing- as well as their natural beauty.