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This entry in our For Namesake Blog  is about Havana, Florida, the "Arts and Antiques" Capital of northern Florida. (30.62728, -84.41483) http://mapjam.com/havana_florida Havana, Florida is a town of 1,754 located in Gasden County along US Route 27 and Florida Route 12. It lies 11 miles east of Quincy, the county seat of Gasden County and 12 miles northwest of Tallahassee, the Florida capital. The nearest universities are Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Florida State University in Tallahassee. Tallahassee also has Tallahassee Community College, a 2-year college. The town of Havana was chartered in 1906. Its economy was primarily based on tobacco for the cigar industry. Because of this, the town was named for Havana, Cuba. The town suffered economic hardship when the cigar industry moved to Central America in the 1960’s when many people were forced to move away. In 1983, two antiques shop owners in Tallahassee were looking to relocate and wanted to buy an old building on the main street in Havana. They were delighted that for just twice as much money they were offered the entire block of buildings. This was the beginning of transforming the town of Havana into the art and antique Mecca that it is today. With many antique type shops in the same area, the business of all of them continues to grow. It has also helped that they work together and not against one another and participate in joint advertising and marketing. In addition to the antiques there has been a resurgence of interest in the historic homes of old Havana. Through out its history Havana has lived through many devastating fires in 1909, 1916, 1973 and most recently in the year 2000 when the Havana Canning Company Warehouse burned down.  With more than 30 antiques and art oriented shops, Havana is known as North Florida’s “Arts and Antiques Capital” and is a prime stop on the Florida Arts Trail. The Planters Exchange, Inc. building and the Dr. Malcolm Nicholson Farmhouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Havana sponsors three annual festivals including the Havana MusicFest each April and the Bead and Jewelry Fest and Pumpkin Fest in October. The county seat of Quincy is known as the “City that Coca-Cola built” because of the large amount of the company’s stock once owned by the town’s residents. Quincy has a designated historic district, nine structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Bell and Bates restored Hardware store and the Gasden Arts Center. The state capital of Tallahassee offers the Goodwood Museum and Gardens, the Governors Mansion, Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory, John G. Riley Museum of African American History and Culture, Knott House Museum, Lemoyne Center for Visual Arts, Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science, Mission San Luis, Museum of Florida History, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Pebble Hill Plantation, State Capitol Complex, Tallahassee Automobile Museum, Tallahassee Ballet, Tallahassee Museum, Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra and the Union Bank Museum. Saint Marks National Wildlife Refuge, located south of Tallahassee on the coast, offers a habitat for migratory birds. The nearby Apalachicola National Forest offers many campgrounds. There are five fairly large lakes and eleven state parks within an hours drive of Havana. The lakes are Lake Jackson, Lake Lamonia, Lake Miccosukee, Lake Seminole and Lake Talquin. The state parks are Alfred B. Maclay Gardens, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs, Florida Caverns, Lake Jackson Mounds Arch, Lake Talquin, Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic, Ochlockonee River, San Marcos de Apalache Historic, Saint George Island, Three Rivers, and Torreya. Notable residents from the county seat of Quincy include Nat Adderly, Jr., music arranger for Luther Vandross; Lady Chablis, actress; Billy Dean, country music singer; Dexter Jackson, NFL football player & Super Bowl XXXVII Most Valuable Player; and Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world. Notes: 1. http://www.amzn.com/B00CBM6JFK 2. http://www.havanaflorida.com/history.aspx Picture: Street scene in Havana, Florida (Credit - Wikimedia Commons - Tim Ross Public Domain)