Columbia County (pop. 67,531) is north of Gilchrist County, on the border with Georgia. Its population has grown from 20,077 in 1960.
With its rivers and natural springs, Columbia County calls itself “The Freshwater Capital of America.” The Santa Fe River is in the south, and the Suwannee River is in the north.
The county seat of Columbia County is the city of Lake City (pop. 12,046), which was originally known as Alligator Town.
Lake City has several lakes within the city limits, including Alligator Lake. This alligator was photographed at Lake DeSoto – not Alligator Lake.
Lake City is located near the intersection of Interstate 75 (the major route to Florida from Michigan, Ohio, and Atlanta) and Interstate 10 (the major route to Florida from California and Texas).
The former Columbia County High School, built in 1921, now contains administrative offices for the school district.
George Allen “Pat” Summerall (1930-2013), NFL player and TV sportscaster, was born in Lake City and played football, basketball, baseball, and tennis at Columbia County High School.
There are about 100 natural springs within 50 miles of Lake City.
The six-mile Ichetucknee River is extremely popular for innertubing. Seasonal shuttle service is available for riders.
A few miles east, at O’Leno State Park, the Santa Fe River disappears into a sinkhole – and reappears 3.5 miles away at River Rise Preserve State Park.
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