Stroll under the canopy of majestic moss-draped oaks to unique and varied shops. The Micanopy Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes you to Florida's oldest inland town, circa 1821. Experience History!
William Bartram, a noted author and naturalist, visited the Seminole Indian village of Cuscowilla (the site of present Micanopy) and the adjacent Paynes Prairie region in 1774. Bartram envisioned this remote area as an Edenic land of “Elysian fields and green plains.” But it also held far more tangible assets. Herds of prized cattle grazed here and became a source of unprecedented prosperity for the Alachua Seminoles.
After Spain ceded Florida to the U.S. in 1821, white settlers arrived in this region and displaced the Native inhabitants. The newly built town of Micanopy became the first distinct United States town in the new territory. A leading member of the development company who financed the town, Moses E. Levy, played an important early role here. And so-called “black Seminoles” constructed most of the initial buildings.
The onset of the 2nd Seminole War in 1835 resulted in much devastation and Micanopy served a vital role during this seven-year conflict. At one point General Zachary Taylor, future president, established the headquarters of the Army of the South at Fort Micanopy. Recent archaeological findings have uncovered the locations of two forts as well as two battlefields, placing the town in a unique position in the state. (Efforts are underway to garner National Historic Landmark status.)
Micanopy was rebuilt after the Seminole war and by the 1880s the area became known as the “leading orange and vegetable growing section of Florida”; agricultural prosperity lasted until the Great Depression. Many of the larger surviving homes today reflect this previous era. The historic district encompasses 38 buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places.