In search of Sweetwater

Back when GNV was a railroad town Sweetwater Branch, which ran through the middle of downtown, was something to brag about. But much has changed since then.

Inevitably, the Sweetwater would began to be viewed as more a nuisance than an asset. In the name of “progress” we buried its headwaters in order to put up….what else?…a parking lot.

And gas stations and stores and auto shops…

Imagine using a creek called Sweetwater to carry off human wastes.

Still, there are parts of the Sweetwater that are lovingly tended to. The five blocks running through the Duck Pond neighborhood being a prime example.

Its presence certainly enhances property values and quality of life in the Duckpond

But as you follow what remains of the Sweetwater downstream of the Duck Pond it once again begins to take on the appearance of an unwanted nuisance.

That is until you arrive at Sweetwater Branch Park.

Downtown’s park should be a much visited treasure. Instead it is only marginally maintained by the city and attracts few daily users.

Make no mistake. What becomes of the Sweetwater south of 4th Avenue is a classic example of how a southern town adapted different standards of care and aesthetics for upscale white neighborhoods than for low-income Black neighborhoods

This is where the Sweetwater becomes a conduit for effluent.

Still, if you are a user of the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail you can still catch a glimpse of Sweetwater as it must have once looked.

Before it gives way once again to weed-choked culverts and asphalt.

Until it finally comes home to Paynes Prairie. And the Sweetwater comes into its glory once again.

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