Archer City Hall

Archer is a small town southwest of Gainesville in Alachua County. Before 1858, there was a settlement named Deer Hammock where Archer is today. Archer itself was surveyed and platted by the Florida Town Improvement Company (a subsidiary of the Florida Railroad Company). The surveyors named the town after General James T. Archer, Florida's first Secretary of State (1845-1848). The track they were building connected Fernandina (on the east coast) with Cedar Keys (on the west coast).

It was in 1859 that the first trains stopped in Archer. In 1865, the famous Confederate "Treasure Train" unloaded the last of the Confederacy's booty at Cotton Wood plantation, just outside of Archer.

As phosphate mining picked up in Florida, more railroad lines were built through Archer. Citrus farming was becoming a big deal in the area, until the freezes in the mid-1880's and mid-1890's wiped out the trees. When the trees all died, many of the folks moved away. The Great Depression took another toll on the area but Archer began to grow again in the 1960's as most of Florida started to grow with the incoming tide of retirees. Another local boost has come from the growth of the University of Florida in nearby Gainesville.

A recent famous personage who lived in Archer was Bo Diddley. After 1978, Bo Diddley spent most of his time off stage between Los Lunas, New Mexico and Florida, living out his last 13 years in Archer, dying there on June 2, 2008 after losing the fight to recover from a stroke and a heart attack.

The economy around Archer is still somewhat based on agriculture, although it looks like a fair bit of the folks in town work in Gainesville. Most business in Archer seems to be along US Highways 27 & 41, a couple blocks east of Archer City Hall. There's also some activity at the crossroads just north of town where State Road 24 crosses US 27 & 41.

Historic 300 W. Main in Archer (across the street from Archer City Hall)

The downtown area, looks like the former business district as most business has moved over to the highway