Tour Newnan’s Lake with Gainesville150 and Cultural Arts Coalition on Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Cultural Arts Coalition invites your to celebrate the City of Gainesville’s 150th anniversary of incorporation with narrated boat tours of historic Newnans Lake. Live music includes performances by Jazz Bandits, Weeds of Eden and Passion. Exhibits detail the history of the lake and the people who lived here. A paint out features artists creating scenes around the lake. This family-friendly event is free and open to the public.

About Newnans Lake:

  • The surface area of the lake is approximately 7,200 acres depending on rain fall
  • Its depth averages 5 feet to a maximum of 12 feet.
  • Hatchet and Little Hatchet Creeks supply the majority of water to the lake, with contributions from smaller tributaries including Lake Forest Creek.
  • The lake drains on the south through Prairie Creek to Paynes Prairie and then via Camps canal to River Styx into Orange Lake.
  • The lake’s watershed is 85% forest and wetlands.
Hand colored postcard from 1919 of  Newnans Lake
Glimpse of Lake Pithlachocco or Newnans Lake postcard from 1919, courtesy State Archives of Florida

Newnans Lake is also known by its Seminole name Lake Pithlachocco, or “place of long boats.” For thousands of years dugout canoes were used to fish and travel Florida’s waterways. Lake Pithlachocco was an important location for canoes as many boats have been found here.

In 2000, the world’s largest discovery of ancient watercraft occurred at the lake as canoe after canoe were uncovered. Radiocarbon analysis dated the oldest boats at over 5000 years old. In 2001, the lake was added to the US National Register of Historic Places.

Modern boaters use the lake with public access available from boat ramps at Earl P. Powers Park and Owen-Illinois Park. Palm Point Park provides canoe or kayak access. The University of Florida Crew Team and Gainesville Area Rowing train on the lake.

Named after a Native American tribe who lived here through the 1600s, the Potano Paddling Trail is a Florida Designated Paddling Trail. The main portion of the trail travels along the lake’s shoreline. A second more technical section of the trail branches off to the south along Prairie Creek.

Abundant wildlife can be found at the lake, including Alligators, Osprey, Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles.

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