lacrosse marker spc to photo1

Photo special to Alachua County Today

LACROSSE – A new historical marker stands near the intersection of SR 121 and SR 235, providing a fuller history of the LaCrosse area than the first marker placed in 1978.

A Dedication Ceremony was held Saturday at Town Hall in front of a standing-room-only crowd.

The impetus for placing a new marker was Cindy Gallop, a resident of LaCrosse who grew up hearing stories from her mother about her family’s contributions to the establishment of the first settlement.

Gallop said she had been living in LaCrosse for several years before she finally stopped to read the original historical marker. She was surprised to find no mention of her mother’s family, the Parkers, listed.

“I came to the conclusion that either mother had embellished her family tales, or there had been some huge mistake,” she said.

After three years of research, Gallop said she was able to conclude that her mother had been correct: the Parkers were indeed the founders of LaCrosse.

The first historical marker was thus accurate but incomplete.

“Not only did I discover that my mother’s stories about the Parker family were true, but there were other early settlers that needed to be added to this historical account such as the Cellon family,” Gallop said.

Indeed, the new marker lists French immigrant John Cellon as the first settler of the area in the 1840s. It also names for the first time early settlers Thomas Green, Abraham Mott, Richard H. Parker, William Scott and Thomas Standley.

The marker also notes that the town was founded on land granted to Parker by the U.S. government in 1856. While LaCrosse wouldn’t be incorporated until 1897, the community dates back to the earlier time.

Information from the original marker was also included on the new one, including the source of the town’s prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries owing to cotton.

Boll weevils destroyed the cotton industry locally and throughout the American South, but at its height, LaCrosse – according to the new marker – had “two cotton gins, grist mills, multiple stores, and a hotel.”

Gallop said that finding the correct historical information and taking the steps to update the marker was a collaborative effort between several people in County government, local residents, and family.

“Today some historical data has now been included which honors more families, and it provides a richer heritage,” she said.

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