History Happened Here

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Baldwin

Duval County

Year Founded: 1876

History

Nearly four centuries ago, the Spaniards built a road from coast to coast across the northern part of Florida. By the year 1835, a frontier stagecoach line crossed this road, which was later to become known as the “Old Spanish Trail.” At the crossroads, a man name Thigpen opened a tavern for the benefit of the stage line. Mr. Thigpen supplied fresh horses for the stage and for its passengers he supplied food and shelter. So, not later than 1846, the area was known as “Thigpen.” In 1860, Thigpen was renamed in honor of Dr. A.S. Baldwin, a former member of the Florida Legislature, who aided in bringing the first railroad tracks into the area in 1857. In 1859, the first telegraph line was built from Jacksonville to Baldwin , where it connected with the line from the north. According to the 1860 census, the general occupations were farming and logging. Some citizens were registered as laborers, one as a gentleman, one a light ship tender, one a teamster and one a seamstress. Baldwin was of great importance to the federal government near the end of the Civil War. The Legislature in 1862 passed a law allowing the circuit court of Duval County to be held here for the reason that the county seat was in the hands of the Union forces. Supplies and equipment belonging to the Confederacy were stored and shipped in Baldwin until August 15, 1864. At that time, the Union soldiers burned the entire town to the ground. Only one month before, the troops had entered the town to destroy communication and transportation. During the period from 1865 to 1875, the area began to rebuild and finally all of the war damage was repaired. In 1913, by Chapter 6663, the town was re-incorporated by Legislative Act.

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