Shirley Bennett

Shirley Bennett

Office Phone : (904) 495-0137
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Palatka FL Real Estate

Palatka is a city in Northeast Florida, located approximately 60 miles south of Jacksonville and 30 miles southwest of St Augustine. 'Palatka' is a contraction of an Indian word meaning 'cow crossing'.

As early as 1655, the Spanish were developing Palatka into the state's principal ranching area to feed the settlers particularly in the St. Augustine. Palatka became the main fording point for the cattle to cross the St Johns River on their way to the slaughterhouse.

When Florida was transferred to the United States in 1821, development of central Florida increased dramatically. Palatka was the southernmost point in the river where large oceangoing vessels could venture.

On January 8, 1853, the City of Palatka was chartered by the State of Florida. During the 1850s Palatka became the major center for transportation, freight, lumber, citrus and tourism on the St. Johns River. The steamboat traffic on the St. Johns and its tributaries, particularly the Ocklawaha, secured Palatka's position as the hub of the transportation network into and out of central Florida. 1865 to 1895 marks the golden age of Palatka, a time when Palatka rivaled Jacksonville as the major port on the St. Johns.

By 1890, Palatka boasted eight first class hotels, the largest of which the Putnam House contained 500 rooms. Winter visitors included President Grover Cleveland and other influential people. The city's winter residents included many rich industrialists such as James R. Mellon of Pittsburgh, who donated the library to the city.

After the great freeze of 1894-95 which virtually wiped out the citrus industry, Palatka expanded industrially, especially those dependent upon wood or its byproducts. Wilson Cypress Company became the largest cypress mill in the world producing 80,000 feet of lumber and 60,000 shingles daily. By 1910, Palatka had become a major industrial center.

Today, Palatka has a small town feel, giving its residents a great quality of life. Home to the annual Azalea Festival in March, the Blue Crab Festival in May, and is known as the “Bass Capital of the World.” The river abounds with Largemouth Bass, Speckled Perch, Striped Bass and Catfish. Boating, sailing, swimming and water skiing are also popular activities on the river and lakes located in Putnam County. Nature enthusiasts enjoy hiking along the Florida Trail, which runs through the region. Nearby Ravine Gardens State Park has over 50 varieties and more than 100,000 azalea plants. There is also a very scenic 1.8 mile drive through the park. Two lovely golf courses are located near Palatka and a driving range with batting cages, game machines and golf lessons is also available. Other fun events include the 42 nautical mile “Mug Race,” where sailors race from Palatka to Jacksonville on the St. Johns River.
Palatka is a great place to live!