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  •       Want to find out what is happening in the town of Havana? Click Here to find out more.
"Shops open Wednesday - Sunday;
most are closed on Monday & Tuesday"
Visitors:

IN THE BEGINNING


depot Having suffered devastating economic hardship when the cigar industry moved to Central America several decades ago, Havana - named for Havana, Cuba, because of the cigar tobacco produced there, practically dried up. After enjoying the rewards of the shade tobacco industry in Havana in the '40s - '60s, people moved away to find jobs when the industry shriveled. Those who stayed shopped in nearby cities, such as Tallahassee, just 15 minutes away.



MAIN STREET IN THE EARLY 1900'S


store The streets were dirt in the early 1900's. Parking was unorganized. Large power poles ran through the middle of town. And there were no traffic lights. Havana Garage on the left later became Miller Chevrolet and is now Kellum's Furniture. The street to the right is 8th Avenue, which crossed Main Street in those days. MORE RECENTLY But in 1983, Tallahassee antique shop owners Henderson and Lee Hotchkiss were looking to relocate. The pair were interested in a small corner of a building on the main street in Havana. "We'd always loved this building," Henderson said of the two-story, red-brick warehouse that formerly housed a hardware store and drug store. Now it's occupied by H & H Antiques, Mirror Image Antiques and Little River General Store. "We were negotiating, and they said, "For twice as much money, we'll sell you the whole block," Henderson recalled. So they took a leap of faith and - before the deal even closed - they'd sold two of the store spaces and leased another. Soon, Havana was back on its feet and headed toward becoming the antique and art Mecca it is today. "What we had seen on our buying trips to Ohio and Pennsylvania was that a lot of shops in one little town created a big draw," said Henderson, referred to by many of his fellow merchants as a visionary. "People will go way out of their way to go to a half a dozen or a dozen antique shops, where they won't go out of their way to go to one. Over the years, it's just continued to grow."

STICKING TOGETHER


One reason for the success - and the camaraderie of Havana merchants - fire is that rather than trying to work against one another, they work together.They even have a joint advertising group, which Henderson said allows them to do things none of them could do individually, such as place billboards on Interstate highway 10. "We've created a good draw," he added. Historic Homes Havana boasts many beautiful homes and gardens. Some were here before the town was chartered in 1906. This one on East Sixth Avenue was built in 1907 and is on the Historic Register. It was a bed and breakfast for a time. It is now a private home again. Fires have plagued Havana since the beginning, from a major fire in 1909 to the destruction of the First Baptist Church in 1973 and the Havana Canning Co. warehouse in 2000. The most disastrous was in 1916 when two fires destroyed W.S. Loyd's dry goods and spread throughout the block. Twenty-four houses were burned to the ground and only four businesses remained.

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