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Contact: Mark Ard

Secretary Detzner Designates Palatka as Florida Main Street Program of the Month

Tallahassee, Florida –

Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced today that Palatka Main Street has been designated the Florida Main Street Community of the Month for July 2013. Communities are selected based on their participation in the Florida Main Street Program. Palatka Main Street was designated a Florida Main Street Community in 1989.

"Palatka’s Lemon Street is part of a truly historic downtown," said Secretary Detzner. "It has a market that is a celebration of culture, with a variety of shops and special events that promote the economic growth of downtown Palatka."

Since its designation as a Main Street community, Palatka has had 797 construction and rehabilitation projects totaling over $21.2 million. A total of 181 businesses have opened, creating 491 new jobs in the downtown. Volunteers have donated over 12,400 hours of their time to meetings and events.

Palatka is a vibrant city full of special events, shopping and unique history. Known for its Blue Crab and Florida Azalea festivals, along with the Larimer Arts Center and Florida School of Arts, Palatka is a patron of local culture.

Palatka was once home to the Timucuan people, an Indian group consisting of the Saturiwa and Utina tribes. They fished bass and mullet and hunted deer, turkeys and bears. They also farmed melons, squash and tobacco. The appearance of the English disbanded most of the Timucuan people and a Seminole tribe formed in their absence. The Seminole tribe called the location Pilo-taikita meaning "crossing over" since at this location the St. Johns River narrows and begins to shallow towards the north.

The name changed to Pilatka due to numerous ownerships of the land. The arrival of American settlers, whose goal was to procure more land, caused confrontations which lead to the beginning of the Second Seminole War. The Seminoles attacked and burned the town and the US Army then established a fort in Pilatka because of the strategic importance of control that the town held on the St. Johns River. In 1842 the Seminoles were driven off the land and the Army abandoned the fort. Settlers used the military buildings and piers to build a new city of Pilatka. Tourism became a large industry in the town as steamboats brought in new people and new trades. In May of 1875 the United States Postal Service changed the spelling to Palatka to end the confusion with Picolata. By the 1880s several railroads intersected at Palatka bringing more revenue to the town. To this day, tourism continues to be a very important industry to Palatka.

To learn more about Palatka Main Street, contact Charles Rudd at 386.329.0100.

About Florida Main Street
Florida Main Street is a technical assistance program of the Bureau of Historic Preservation, managed by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources. The bureau conducts statewide programs aimed at identifying, evaluating and preserving Florida’s historical resources. Main Street, with its emphasis on preservation, is an effective strategy for achieving these goals in Florida’s historic retail districts. Since 1985, the bureau has offered manager training, consultant team visits, design and other technical assistance, as well as the benefit of experience gained by other Florida Main Street programs.