Take a walk through the Duckpond neighborhood and go back in time to the days Gainesville was originally developed. After the railroad was built to run through Gainesville in 1859, the downtown area boomed with a two-story courthouse, merchant shops, and hotels. The Northeast Historic District, also known as the Duckpond area, started development in 1870. These houses were built as the residences of the founding local professionals and businessmen of Gainesville. The Duckpond is comprised of eight smaller subdivisions with 290 historic buildings. The community was originally developed as a grid pattern with narrow roads for horses and carriages to pass through. The roads are now paved, but the same layout exists making the neighborhood pleasantly walkable and the feeling of an old-timey community. Most homes still have the original carriage houses on the properties and many have been turned into garages and livable apartments.
This residential area was an elite neighborhood with construction continuing into the 1930’s. The bustling community housed four University of Florida presidents and prominent phosphate mine executives. The present day Thomas Center was originally constructed as a private residence for the president of the Dutton Phosphate Company and later converted into one of Gainesville’s finest hotels and a social and political gathering place. The actual pond was engineered as a retention pond and was known as Vidal’s Lake. Ducks slowly accumulated in the pond and the whole area was then referred to as the “Duckpond area.”
When Gainesville started to expand westward after World War II, the Northeast district started to decline and building of new residential homes in the Duckpond area was concluded. In 1972, residents formed the Historic Gainesville Inc., to preserve the houses and prevent further deterioration. Houses in this area reflect the popular building styles of that time period. You will find colonial, Victorian, Greek revival, Queen Anne, Mediterranean, Tudor, craftsman cottages, and fieldstone style houses throughout the neighborhood. Most of the houses have been carefully restored for present day luxury and comfort. According to the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS), such historic homes are generally recession proof and hold their value better than new construction.
Most houses in this district are registered with the Historic Gainesville Inc. and their history can be found here. Each house has a plaque so you can identify it by name. Housing prices range greatly from price from $59K to $448K and depend on restoration efforts and location. There are no HOA fees, but you can join the Duckpond Neighborhood Association for $15 a year. The association fundraises for improvements of the neighborhood and hosts a variety of neighborhood events throughout the year. They also send out a monthly newsletter
The Duckpond neighborhood is zoned for Metcalfe and JJ Finley Elementary, Westwood Middle School, and Gainesville High School.