Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology

Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology is the only place to find all the history of Marion County.

This snapshot shows the 5th courthouse on the right edge. The view is looking toward the SE showing northern side of the...
05/19/2019

This snapshot shows the 5th courthouse on the right edge. The view is looking toward the SE showing northern side of the courthouse facing the camera.

The parapet at bottom left is on the Professional Building (Concord Square). The parapet can be seen more fully in a detail from an aerial photo that dates between 1931 and 1940 in the second image.

The photo is dated 1926 but probably is from a little later. The Professional Building was not finished when the Great Depression started. The August 1930 Sanborn map sheet showing the square has the notation 'Construction Suspended' on the building. It would not be totally finished until the massive modernization that turned it into Concord Square.

The large dome of the courthouse is in one its dark paint phases but the tops of the small dome are still light colored. The photo shows has a great shot of the detailing of the roof on the north and south sides of the courthouse, one of the advantages of finally having a building tall enough to see to take such a shot from.

The building just to the left of the clock dome on the courthouse is the Marion Block / Holder Block building. Just to its left can be seen the building that was between the Munroe and Chambliss bank to its north and the Harrington Hall Hotel to is south.

On the left side of the photo can be seen the Ocala House hotel. The mansard roof is gone from the tower and the porches that were on the southern end of the front of the building are also gone.

Above the wing of the Ocala House that faced Broadway are the parapets sticking above the Merchants Block building which was remodeled into the Todd Building decades later. Above them can be seen the 3 story Baptist Witness building, which housed the Marion General Hospital in its first home on the top floor. The Marion General Hospital was renamed Munroe Memorial Hosptial when it moved into its 4th home south of downtown. In its last years, the Baptist Witness Building became the home of the Marion County health department.

These two post cards were found together on a site when I was searching for more information on the newly found image of...
05/18/2019

These two post cards were found together on a site when I was searching for more information on the newly found image of the dedication of the Confederate monument that Kent Sperring found. They both show the SW corner of the square and show the platform with flower beds that the monument was atop of when it was on the square. Both images are hand-colored by the printer.

The image on the left looks toward the north showing the SW (front) and SE sides of the Confederate monument. It is difficult to date the image. To the right of the monument can be see the Ocala National Bank building which dates the image post-1911. The only vehicle visible in the image is a horse-drawn one and it gives the impression that it is yet another one added by an artist. The way the image is colorized suggests that the sun is either rising or setting or that northern Ocala is on fire.

The second image shows the SW, front side of the monument with the 5th courthouse taking up most of the space behind the monument. The coloring shows a lot of imagination especially in the clock dome and little domes on the courthouse and in the part of the monument below the soldier. There are some sort of the devices at each end of the first level of the flower beds around the base of the monument, with the one on the right being more visible. Could these be more of the Keep Off the Grass signs that the county was so fond of putting around the square? It is even more difficult to date this image than the first one. To the right of the courthouse there is part of a building visible that might be the Robertson Building, which was built around 1914.

Today's photo of the 5th courthouse features the eastern, main entrance side of the building. The image shows a group of...
05/17/2019

Today's photo of the 5th courthouse features the eastern, main entrance side of the building. The image shows a group of men standing with 7 cars that have signs on the back of them. An 8th car has a banner on its side. The second photo shows an enlargement of a portion of the first.

The banner on the side of the one car reads: MEET YOUR FRIENDS AT SILVER SPRINGS THUR MAY 29 BOOST YOUR CHOICES PICNIC & PUBLIC SPEAKING. The signs on the back of the two cars at the left side of the photo read: VISIT SILVER SPRINGS NEAR OCALA PICNIC & PUBLIC SPEAKING THUR MAY 29 MUSIC & DANCING. The sign on the car to the right of the car with the banner is different from the one on the left, but I can only make out DAY on the top line and THUR MAY 29, the third line from the bottom might end in YOUNG AMERICA. When I adjusted the brightness and contrast to try to read the signs on the back of the car it made visible writing at the bottom of the first image. Written on the bottom of the photo is: Advance Committee Ocala-Silver Springs Leaving for State Tour.

The man standing to the left of the banner appears to be the Ocala Police Department officer standing in the third photo wearing a bow tie and having a watch chain draped across the front of his pants.

The years May 29 was on a Thursday near the era of the photo were 1924 and 1930. The presence of the band stand on the SE corner of the square indicated the date is probably 1924.

Today's image of the 5th courthouse is taken from a postcard showing the west side of the square. The view is looking so...
05/16/2019

Today's image of the 5th courthouse is taken from a postcard showing the west side of the square. The view is looking south along Magnolia from the intersection of Magnolia and Silver Springs Blvd. The texture visible in the photo shows that it is a 'linen' type of postcard. The texture allowed the postcard surface to take the brighter inks that had been developed in the 1930s.

The photo probably dates from the early 1950s. Traffic along Magnolia has become one way. On the west side of Broadway, the second car to the left from the Magnolia & Silver Springs Blvd. intersection appears to be either a 1950 or 1951 Ford. The buildings around the square mainly been painted or been stuccoed to cover up their red brick, which was considered old-fashioned. The short style street lights are still present.

On the square the mass of color to the right of the first palm tree on the left side of the photo seems to indicate that the azaleas on the square in the 1960s have already been planted. The evenly spaced palm trees visible in earlier photos are still present and one of them already shows the bending present in later photographs.

There are some oddities in the image. The wiring and utility poles around the square are not there. The traffic signals at the intersections of Magnolia and Broadway and Magnolia and Silver Springs Blvd. are not visible. Only one of the street lights along the west side of Magnolia is visible and it looks like it was hand drawn. There are no lane markings on the street. It seems like the artist who colorized the image got carried away, and this can been seen in the apparent sunrise or sunset that appears to be taking place on the south side of Marion County.

Today's image of the 5th courthouse appears to come from a colorized postcard. The image is slightly out of focus. The v...
05/15/2019

Today's image of the 5th courthouse appears to come from a colorized postcard. The image is slightly out of focus. The view is looking toward the NE along Broadway. From the height and the angle, it would appear the photo was taken from the 3 story Commercial Bank [& Trust] building at the SW corner of Broadway and Magnolia. Visible is the southern entrance of the courthouse.

In the background is the Ocala House hotel, which still has the porches. The people and vehicles near the hotel seem oddly out of proportion to the hotel.

The image dates from between 1908 to 1924. The band stand is still present. The small bush that was shorter than a person's knee is 1908 when the Confederate monument was dedicated is now as tall as a person. The first floor of the short arm of the Ocala House hotel has been remodeled so that the store fronts are at street level instead of on the raised level visible in earlier photos.

The shadows of the buildings along the south side of the square are visible on the street in front of them. Also visible in the street are two pairs of parallel lines. Could these be the remains of the old trolley tracks?

This snapshot of the 5th courthouse shows the eastern side of the square with the front side of the courthouse almost hi...
05/14/2019

This snapshot of the 5th courthouse shows the eastern side of the square with the front side of the courthouse almost hidden by the trees.

It is difficult to date the photo. The trees have grown up and filled in to the point the courthouse would almost be obscured if not for the dome. The bushes planted along the edges of the sidewalks - as seen in the second photo - are now as large as the man visible walking away from the courthouse along the sidewalk leading from the north door. The equidistantly spaced palm trees so noticeable in photos from the 1920s have not been planted yet.

Visible to the right of the courthouse is the semicircular decoration that was atop one of the buildings on the western side of the square. The building later housed Bennett's and the Andrews-Canova and is still standing. The building originally extended all the way to the corner of Magnolia and Silver Springs Blvd. and had a three-bay facade according to information on the City of Ocala site. At some point, the two southern bays were heavily remodeled to the point where the building now appeared to be two separate buildings. The northern bay housed Woolworth's later in its life and was torn down when the Blvd. was remodeled.

To the left of the courthouse, visible through the tree below the large squirrel's nest, is the NW corner and upper facade of the Gary Block building. This building later housed McCrory's.

Today's image of the 1906 courthouse is from another postcard. The view is towards the SE corner of the square. As alway...
05/13/2019

Today's image of the 1906 courthouse is from another postcard. The view is towards the SE corner of the square. As always with colorized images, it is difficult to determine if the colors are accurate. The roof is appropriately a shade of red. The top of the big dome and the tops of the little domes are probably correctly shades of silver, as is the top of the band stand.

The band stand means the photo from which the postcard was made dates earlier than around 1924. The Keep Off The Grass sign is still in front of the band stand as is the little bush. The unknown metal structure that is in front of the band stand is still present and still has its metal base; in some images the structure is present but the base has either been removed or covered with sod. The short street lights are not present yet.

To the left of the courthouse itself can be the third story of the building in the middle of the west side of the square. This building was built in the 1890s as a Masonic Lodge and the meetings appear to have been on the third floor. The row of small windows along the south side of the third floor of the building appear in no other image that I know of. If the windows were really there, and not the product of the imagination of the artist, then the photo could date to earlier than 1915.

The second and third photos are aerial photos that are labeled as coming from 1914. The Masonic Hall building shows up in both photos, and there are no third floor windows on neither the north or south sides of the building.

Today's image is of the NW corner of the square. The image is reversed left to right. This happens a lot in certain phot...
05/12/2019

Today's image is of the NW corner of the square. The image is reversed left to right. This happens a lot in certain photographic processes even up into the 1920s. I have seen a photo of the front of the fire station on Osceola around that same time that is similarly reversed. I have corrected the image to show its correct perspective in the second image and will use the corrected image in my description.

The photograph is looking north along Magnolia. In the center is the Ocala National Bank building. The bank building seems to have been the focus of the photographer since it is in the middle of the image. This building means the photo has to be after 1911.

The short street lights are still present including the ones in the middle of intersections. This means the photo has to be earlier than when It's The Old Army Game was filmed in Ocala since the street lights in the intersections had been replaced by the pie plate shaped lighted devices by then. The film was released on May 24, 1926. The third image is a still from the films showing W. C. Fields running west past the intersection of Broadway and Main (1st Ave.). The lighted device can be seen behind him as can the raised rectangle with the word STOP on it.

Notice the wheel of the horse-drawn wagon on the left. Even in the 1920s horses and automobiles still shared the road in Marion County.

Early agriculture in North & NW Marion Co.Presented byAnnabelle Leitner, local historianSunday, May 19, 2019 at 2 p.m.Th...
05/12/2019

Early agriculture in North & NW Marion Co.
Presented by
Annabelle Leitner, local historian
Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 2 p.m.

The next Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology program is on Sunday 05/19/19 at 2 p.m. at Green Clover Hall 319 SE 26th Ter, in the McPherson Governmental Complex property, 307 SE 26th Ter, Ocala, FL 34471. Following will be a reception with refreshments and touring the museum. Admission is free to museum members, and $5 per person for nonmembers. For information, please call the museum at (352) 236-5245. Museum memberships are available, as well.

Annabelle Leitner, local historian and farmer will be presenting a history of early agriculture in North and Northwest Marion County. Annabelle also spoke at the 175th Anniversary celebration on 03/30/2019.
Please join us for this family-friendly event as we step back over years of agriculture in our county.

While at the reception, be sure to check out the museum store. We have gotten new items and have recently received a new shipment of museum T-shirts that include size XXL

The museum’s page is at https://www.facebook.com/MarionCountyMuseumofHistoryandArchaeology/ and its website can be found at http://marioncountyarchaeology.com/mcmha/mcmha.htm .

Today's photos are two versions of the same view taken from the 1906 5th courthouse. The view is to the east.The structu...
05/11/2019

Today's photos are two versions of the same view taken from the 1906 5th courthouse. The view is to the east.

The structure filling up most of the image is the Ocala House hotel. To the right of the hotel's tower can be seen the building and belfry of Grace Episcopal church having been moved in 1905 to its current location at the NE of Broadway and Watula. Across the street from the Broadway side of the hotel is the Merchants Block office building, later to become the Todd Building.

There are some off things about both these images. The horses all look alike so much that they probably were drawn. The horses and carriages seem out of scale to the buildings - the horses look like they could walk through the windows of the hotel. I walked by that hotel for years and the windows were not big enough for a carriage to go through. The structure at the bottom of the black and white photo may or may not be one of the smaller domes that were on either side of the entrances on the east and west sides of the building. The artist who colorized the first photo appears to have added a second structure to the left of the little dome that is not in the black and white version. Whatever that second thing is, there was nothing on the courthouse that was striped like that.

Today's image is of a musical group called the Marion Cornet Band. The photo was taken on the SE corner of the square wi...
05/10/2019

Today's image is of a musical group called the Marion Cornet Band. The photo was taken on the SE corner of the square with the corner of the 1906 building at the right hand side of the image. I don't know if the group was related to the Metropolitan Cornet Band / Metropolitan Concert Band or is a completely different group.

Dating the image is difficult. It is hard to tell if the band stand is still on the SE corner of the square or not. From the position of the trees it appears the band stand should be visible if it is there. If it is not there, that means the photo dates to after around 1924.

The three story building to the left of the trees is the Gary's Block building where the McCrory's store was for decades. The building dates from 1884 just after the Great Fire.

Faintly seen to the left of the courthouse building is the three story building that was the home to the Commercial Bank (& Trust) for decades and later the home of Keystone Jewelers. This building was built in 1886 to house the First National Bank, which went bankrupt at the time of the Great Freeze in 1894/1895.

The building with the bay window on the second floor to the left of the trees is the Union Block building, completed in 1884. It later housed Blocker's.

This view of the 5th courthouse is looking toward the NW from the intersection of Magnolia and Broadway. it was probably...
05/09/2019

This view of the 5th courthouse is looking toward the NW from the intersection of Magnolia and Broadway. it was probably taken in 1955 at the same time as the image that was posted on April 29th - at the right hand side of the photo is the same sick looking palm tree with the same drooping fronds in the same places.

On the right hand side of the photo can be seen the Ocala House hotel, with its red brick painted white in an effort to make the building look more modern. It has also been renamed the Hotel Ocala in an effort to be more modern.

On the right hand side the one story building between the 5 story Professional Building (Concord Square) and the 2 story Yoakum Building can be seen. That spot is one of few on the square that appears never to have had a multi-story building on it.

Some things to notice in this photo:
1. There are three types of benches in this photo. The first is the white concrete one that advertises something on the back of it and had been put up by the bus company. The second type has concrete sides but has slats on the back. The third type is the older one with no sides that can be seen between the two palm trees. The bus company bench appears to be flush up against the one way sign and one of the other benches appears to be flush up against the street light pole. Did no one not notice this?
2. The wiring in this photo has run amuck with a utility pole even in front of the Confederate monument. There even seems to be wiring running up the right hand side of the dome, with some sort of structure projecting from the architectural detail just below the dome supporting it.
3. The times on the two clock faces visible do not match although the difference is not as great as it was in the one posted on the April 29th. It seems this problem with the clock dates back to the earliest days of the building.
4. The trees that were present in 1908 visible in the second image are gone. There are other images where these trees had become fully mature. Were they removed deliberately - like when the city cut down the palm trees on the square in the 1980s or 1990s because they did not look 'Victorian' - or did they die? Notice the way some of the palm trees have leaned outwards because the missing trees had begun to block them from light.
5. The Silver Springs sign on top of the traffic signal is an indication that Broadway at this time had become one way.
6. It looks like the trim on the courthouse is in need of painting. During the 1950s there began to be a push to replace the 1906 building. Had the county decided not to spend money on upkeep of a building they were looking to replace or was there a plan to let the building appear run down as part of drive to replace it?

Address

307 SE 26th Terrace East Hall
Ocala, FL
34471

Opening Hours

Monday 10:00 - 15:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 15:00
Thursday 10:00 - 15:00
Friday 10:00 - 15:00
Saturday 10:00 - 15:00

Telephone

(352) 236-5245

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