Then….and Now

Florida Photographic Collection

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Posted May 28, 2021 |

As part of the Depression-era work programs instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt, Ocala set about in 1934 to construct stone pillars made from native rock to mark the entrances of Ocala and promote Silver Springs, the popular tourist destination. Before U.S. Highway 441, Magnolia Avenue was the only north-south road to cross through Ocala. Each entryway to the city received one of the gates, which included sidewalls like those seen in the 1930s photo shown. [State Archives of Florida]

Over the decades, one gate after the other was torn down. Of the six originally built, only one remains. The only remaining gate is shown in this photo located on what was the southern limit of the city. The road is now known as Southwest First Avenue. The sidewalls of the original are no longer there. The gates were designed by local architect Frank Parziale, according to research by the late Marion County Historian David Cook.

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