Published: January 21, 2011
See Original Article on JCFloridan.com
By Morgan Carlson
The “City of Southern Charm” has much to be proud of. On Thursday morning, Marianna was officially awarded a plaque and given the title of Florida Rural Community of the Year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in Florida presents the award to one rural community each year that has engaged in significant efforts to improve the quality of life of its citizens.
Rural Development State Director Richard A. Machek presented the award to the city. Machek said the award is “a big deal,” adding “a lot of people would love to have this prestigious award.”
Machek said the City of Marianna has done many things that probably haven’t been noticed by most residents. People just see these things happen and say, “’Wow, we got a new street; wow, we got better water pressure; or wowm what’s that big steel building they’re building,’” Machek observed.
Marianna was chosen for its emphasis on infrastructure and its success in “leveraging funds to maximize funding opportunities,” according to a press release from Florida USDA Rural Development.
Sneads, the easternmost town in the county, has a population of about 2,000 people, and is located along the shore of Lake Seminole, about 20 miles east of Marianna. Sneads turned 100-years-old recently, and is the type of town where city officials bring in artificial snow during the annual Christmas festival. It always turns out to be a sight for Florida-born children who have never seen the real white stuff. Festival organizers brought in crushed ice a few years ago for an added effect.
The town of Grand Ridge, named after its sister city in Illinois, once had a place called Lover’s Lane, located near a drive-in movie theater.
The railroad also played an important role in Grand Ridge’s history. A variety of products were shipped by rail including syrup for sugar cane during the 1930s.
“That was good stuff; you could eat it off the table,” a local historian and long-time postmaster said.
What sets Greenwood apart from the other townships in Jackson County are the tree-lined streets that give it the feel of a slow moving town. However, Greenwood, with a population of more than 700 people, has more to offer than the views of small-town Florida.
History and mystery reside in this little place where locals still gather at Pender’s General Store, in business since 1896. It’s the kind of place that needs no sign. Everyone knows where it is. It sells just about everything, so it stays busy. One resident said the store has tobacco stamps on its door dating back to 1872.
Bascom is one of the smallest towns in beautiful Jackson County, but it’s also one of the proudest. Residents - totaling about 106 souls - love their community, which sits within a 4.8 square-mile land area.
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