Just south of Gainesville lies Paynes Prairie, a 21,000 acre preserve that is one of Florida’s most significant natural and historic areas. Likely named after the Seminole Chief Payne, the prairie began to fill with torrential rains beginning in 1871. For a time the new Alachua Lake supported steam-powered boats and
a flurry of trading activity, but in 1891 the Alachua Sink became unclogged, draining the lake and returning the prairie to what famed naturalist William Bartram once called the “Great Alachua Savannah”.
One of my favorite ideas that I’ll get to someday is to re-issue this design with a steam boat. See the alternate design.