Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Main Street Monticello’s mission is to revitalize business in Monticello and Jefferson County while protecting our historic buildings and culture. We include the small towns of Lloyd, Waukeenah, Wacissa, Lamont and  Aucilla in our work. We experienced some success in 2012, bringing in grant money to fund events that attracted people to our town and delivering traffic to our businesses. We plan to do more in 2013, and expect it to be a banner year.

Our members volunteered with us and also helped with events other non-profit groups presented throughout the year. We continued Main Street’s Halloween Fun, Around the Downtown Christmas, Street Flags and Main Street Mixers. With the help of the Jefferson County Historical Association, the Tourist Development Council
and members of almost every non-profit group in town, we attracted over 600 people to our very successful First Floridians First Americans Conference in our beautiful opera house. We plan to repeat the conference in 2015.

The First Floridians Conference resulted in a new archaeological dig in Jefferson County. This site promises to yield important scientific evidence. The Conference also inspired a group of local leaders to form a new non-profit to establish a First Floridians Scientific and Cultural Center in Monticello. The Main Street Board of Directors and some of those same Community leaders are working on the Jackson Square Project. Our goal in Jackson Square is to restore each beautiful old building in the Square to house residences and a thriving downtown business.
Work is progressing steadily on our Old Jail Museum project on Dogwood Street. Grant money will fix the roof and windows, add HVAC, new outside doors and a de-humidifier. A professional photographer will record the prisoner’s writing on the walls. Wonderful volunteers more than match the grant money with the value of many, many hours of work cleaning and improving the building. Plans call for opening the Museum for limited hours this spring.

The Main Street Artisan and Growers Market will be two years old in April and qualify to accept EBT Cards to pay for food. We’ll plan to apply for the USDA Farmer’s Market Grant. Our core of local artists and growers offering products for sale continues to grow and we are seeking a more central and permanent market location where we can build a sustaining customer base. We will open in the Wirick Simmons House Garden on Saturday April 6.
Watch around town for Main Streets’ “Little Free Libraries.” Several individuals and businesses are sponsoring them. The Jefferson County Public Library and many volunteers’ promise to make sure there are always books available and the free libraries will make them convenient.

We will partner with Jefferson County Historical Society and Jefferson Arts to present an eight-week-showing of Florida Wild Flower Paintings by Moran in September and October 2013. Local painters and photographers of wild flowers will show their work at the same time. Our Garden Club will offer Florida Wild Flower seeds for sale.

Main Street Monticello will present Jefferson County Pioneer Journey Stories starting on January 31 in the Jefferson County Courthouse. We will offer other events this year where descendants of territorial settlers will tell how their families came to our area. A historian will tell us about traveling to Monticello by stagecoach.

The next Pioneer Journey Stories event will be on May 2 at the Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall in partnership with the Jefferson County Historical Association

We will scan family pictures into a computer so they can become part of the Florida Memory Collection in the Florida Archives and part of the Jefferson County Genealogy Library’s Collection. These events will be recorded on DVD.

Main Street Monticello leaders will apply the Journey Stories theme to other events throughout 2013. Local veterans will tell how they left Jefferson County to enter the military and traveled to serve our country in other states and countries. Veterans’ and Pioneers’ Journey Stories are our local contribution to the six-week-long Smithsonian Museum traveling Exhibit titled “Journey Stories” that Main Street Monticello and partner groups will bring to the Jefferson Arts Gallery in January and February of 2014.
We’re working hard and planning great events for the future. Definitely a 2015 First Floridians First Americans Conference

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Cemetery and Home Tour getting ready to go

Members of Jefferson County Historical Association are working hard to get ready for the Roseland Cemetery and Home Tour this Saturday, March 23, 2013. WFSU will be there to record the vignettes in the Cemetery to show on TV. We will have a private videographer as well so we can make our own recording to be made into a DVD.

There has been a lot of publicity for this event. Articles in newspapers, flyers everywhere and news all over the internet. I hope we have a good crowd. Places like COCA in Tallahassee, WFSU, The Morning Show, The Visitors Bureau in Thomasville, GA and Monticello News and others have been wonderful in getting the word out.

In the mean time we are working along on ideas coming out of the First Floridians First Americans Conference. Yesterday we had a discussion about who to invite to the second First Floridians First Americans Conference planned for October 2015. I plan to call the Smithsonian and invite Dennis Stanford. I also want Lee Newsom. She may be almost to famous for us by then, but I will try.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Monticello This Week

Things are hopping in Monticello and Jefferson County. Jefferson Street, our main street looks wonderful with three businesses in the old Edenfield Hardware building. The Tractor Supply building is going up fast on South Jefferson and the Pecan Company building at the entrance of the industrial park is taking shape. Several small businesses are almost ready to open with the help of Dallas Garrett in the County's Small Business Development Office.

I'm trying to find someone in Monticello, Lloyd, Waukeenah, Wacissa, Lamont and Aucilla to make up a poster with a short history of the town and a bunch of pictures, both old and new. The Smithsonian Exhibit we will show in the Art Gallery next winter is all kiosks, leaving the walls bare--posters of Jefferson County Towns should be on the walls for visitors to see. Main Street purchased two scanners to we can copy and digitize old pictures without taking them out of albums, picture frames or damaging them in any way. My email is ahholt@ahholt.com please email me if you will take on this job for your town. I am also listed in the Monticello phone book.

The next big thing everyone will love is the 1827 Roseland Cemetery and Home Tour put on by the Jefferson County History Association. Main Street Monticello is pitching in to video tape the Cemetery reenactments. There will be ten different vignettes ranging from Senator Pasco and his wife Jesse to Boots Thomas and Major Bird. Everything starts at the Wirick-Simmons House at 10 AM Saturday March 23. Don't miss it.

One of the producers of the Dimensions Program on WFSU TV will be filming the whole Cemetery and Home Tour. That program will tell the whole world how beautiful and precious Monticello is.

 The old Jefferson County Jail at 380 W. Dogwood Street (same building as the election office) will be open from 10AM to 5PM for tours as well as eight houses around town. We are working hard to make it into a museum someday, but we want people to see how much we have been able to do so far with a great deal of help from volunteer hours by concerned citizens, a small grant from Capital City Bank and a grant from the state of Florida

Anne Haw Holt.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Making news this week in Monticello Florida

This week has been a busy time. Everything is clicking around Monticello. I attended the Jefferson County Historical Association's Board Meeting Monday morning as their liaison with Main Street Monticello. They approved the Artisans and Growers Market using the new Wirick-Simmons Garden for our activities.

We will continue holding the market only on the first Saturday for a while, but later several sellers want to be open the first and third Saturdays and someday possibly every Saturday. We expect the move will increase or traffic dramatically and that will attract more sellers. April will complete our second year.

If that is not enough for this week, I attended the Main Street Board meeting Monday evening and they voted to purchase 6 pop-up tents for the Market. That will give us an attractive, uniform appearance and make us appear more professional.

Mr. Strickland's Farmer's Market was again mentioned. He seems to think we are trying to take his business, but we can never be any competition for him - we are a different sort of market anyway.. He should always have a table at our Market with his "Monticello" products and flyers telling people his wonderful market is open every day.

My friend Mike Plummer of WFSU TV came out Tuesday AM and after talking about an hour decided to video the Home and Cemetery Tour. I took a lot of pictures of Senator Polk and his wife Jessie in costume down at Roseland Cemetery. He also agreed to video for TV the "Little Free Libraries" when they are complete and in place.

Then I went to the City Council meeting as usual. It is interesting to be there every month and stay from gavel to gavel.