In what can only be described as an Old Florida community, Hawthorne is a timeworn railroad town, home to stunning outdoor trails and nostalgic treasures. Hawthorne evolved from a settlement established around 1840, and the city was incorporated in 1881. Soon after that, W.S. Moore opened a hotel for hunters who came from all over the county. Just 15 miles east of Gainesville, the city exudes charm. Just over 1,500 people live in the quaint town, which was once home to Bo Diddley, one of the early pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll, whom Bo Diddley Community Plaza in Gainesville is named after. Surrounded by lakes and woodlands, Hawthorne holds plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures. The city is home to the Gainesville/Hawthorne trail’s eastern trailhead. The trail starts in Boulware Springs Natural Park in Gainesville and ends two blocks before the Hawthorne Historical Museum and Cultural Center on Main Street. The 17-mile pathway provides thousands of county residents and visitors with access and a window to rural Florida not often seen by tourists. The Lochloosa trail also begins near Hawthorne and can be toured throughout the town. Because Hawthorne started as a railroad town, pieces from its train station past are proudly displayed. The Hawthorne Historical Museum and Cultural Center stands near what used to be the main train depot. The museum houses sentimental pieces of Hawthorne history, such as paintings of the town from local artist Francis Moore. Hawthorne is home to two major schools, Shell Elementary and Hawthorne High School. The city is also home to multiple clubs and organizations, including The Lion’s Club and The Woman’s Club. The opening of Miller’s Shopping Center in 1986 reinforced the existing quality of life. The City of Hawthorne and the Hawthorne Area Chamber of Commerce are planning for the future. The preservation of natural beauty and the planned growth of the community coupled with the rapidly expanding job markets in Gainesville and Ocala will make Hawthorne one of the prime areas to reside for future generations, according to the AFN website. In 2015, the city annexed about 1,200 acres of land owned by Weyerhaeuser (formerly Plum Creek). The timber company plans to develop this land and nearly unincorporated property through its Envision Alachua plan – which would create jobs in manufacturing, research associated with the University of Florida and other fields. Hawthorne is located on the eastern edge of Alachua County, and U.S. 301 and Hawthorne Road (State Route 26) intersect the city.
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