Fact 1: Although officially known as Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, UF's 83,000-seat football facility is more familiarly known as "the Swamp." This name for the stadium is attributed to Steve Spurrier, head football coach from 1990-2001 and a former Gator quarterback who won the 1966 Heisman Trophy. The Swamp is the site of intense gridiron match-ups between the blue and orange-clad Gators and rival teams like the Florida State Seminoles and the Tennessee Vols.
Fact 2: Thanks in large part to the university's presence, Gainesville has been home to a number of famous people over the years. Among them are baseball player Roger Maris, newsman Forrest Sawyer, SNL comedian Darrell Hammond, poet Robert Frost, TV personality Bob Vila, and actors Buddy Ebsen (The Beverly Hillbillies) and Faye Dunaway.
Fact 3: Into the category of cities left with better names than they were originally titled, include Gainesville. Ultimately named for Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines, an Army commander during the Second Seminole War and the captor of Aaron Burr, the city was at one time known as "Hogtown" for the creek that ran through the town.
Fact 4: Latter-day sports drinks, pay homage to Gainesville! It was here that Dr. Robert Cade, a UF professor, created Gatorade. Designed to ward off the effects of dehydration during football games, the beverage helps balance sugar and sodium levels in the body. Incredibly profitable, Gatorade is a perennial reminder of Gators athletic teams' perseverance and drive.
Fact 5: In the early history of North Central Florida, Newnansville was the seat of Alachua County. When the railroad linking Cedar Key on Florida's western coast to Fernandina Beach on its eastern coast was constructed, it passed through Gainesville, which was then promoted as the new county seat. This role was confirmed by authorities in 1854. (Newnansville, by the way, evolved roughly into the town of Alachua, northwest of Gainesville.)
Fact 6: Taking into account financial, educational, cultural, housing and quality of life criteria, Money Magazine has regarded Gainesville as one of the best places to live and ranks it among Florida's top cities.
Fact 7: Along with well-known UF, Gainesville offers Santa Fe Community College, a prominent two-year school. With an enrollment exceeding 28,000 and a faculty of more than 600, the college awards Associate degrees and conducts technical training. An interesting aspect of its campus is a teaching zoo, which houses an array of exotic primates, reptiles, mammals and birds. Arrange a tour by calling 352-395-5601.
Fact 8: UF, the University of Florida, first opened in 1906 with just over 100 students. In the century since, it's evolved into a large research facility and a prestigious institute of post-secondary learning. Enrollment is now more than 46,000, and its campus sprawls across 2000 acres. And while the university's instruction is superb, UF gets the bulk of its publicity from athletics even though it's graduated novelists and Nobel Prize winners and nine of its alumni now serve in the US Congress – something no other school can boast.
Fact 9: While many college bands dream of making it big, few break into the mainstream. Not so with Gainesville's Sister Hazel. Decidedly unassuming, the band, with its blend of folk, rock and pop influences, has a wide following thanks to hits like "All For You" and "Change Your Mind."
Fact 10: Gainesville's first inhabitants were the Timucua, a Native American tribe considered relatively peaceful compared to other indigenous peoples. Lovers of ceremony, they allowed the Spanish to establish missions within their villages, but over time, disease and warfare greatly diminished their numbers. Today, the tribe no longer exists.
Gainesville Super 8 Motel
Super 8 Gainesville Hotel Features...
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- Located only minutes from Shands Hospital
- FREE Wireless High Speed Internet
- FREE Super Start Breakfast featuring hot waffles
- FREE Local and 800 access calls
- FREE Children 17 & under, with adult
- Satellite TV with Free HBO, ESPN, CNN & more
- Special hospital rates based on availability
- In-room coffee makers
- Electronic in-room safes
- Microwaves and Refrigerators in select rooms
- Outdoor pool
- Small pets welcome - $10 extra per night