It happened nationwide–and especially here in North Central Florida. As the Interstate Highway System became fully implemented, many highways, like US301, US90, US41 and US19, became less popular routes for travelers to and from sunny Florida. Interstates 10, 95 and 75 drew traffic away from those routes, leaving many smaller communities to suffer. However, there’s been a revival of many small towns, and travelers now plan their days away from the “fast lane”
In Natural North Florida, Starke, the county seat of Bradford County, is a good example of a community trying to revive old buildings and the original look of its downtown. The downtown, arranged to the east of US301 towards the railroad line, and mostly centered along Call Street, is an interesting mix of restored buildings, including a bank on the National Historic Register (now the Chamber of Commerce) and the still-in-service Florida Theater. Our best advice to fully enjoy our small towns: slow down, get off the busy roads and take a leisurely walk through our history!
Other buildings worth a closer look are the First Methodist Church, the old Courthouse, the Women’s Club and the 200 East Call Street building housing Tony and Al’s Deli.