The Downtown Palatka Commercial District encompasses eleven blocks of St Johns Avenue and Reid Street beginning at the banks of the St Johns River, Florida's only designated American Heritage River. Palatka has one of the largest collections of existent historic architecture in the state. Downtown Palatka is bounded by two residential historic districts listed on both the National and Local Register of Historic Places. Palatka's population is approximately 10,500 residents. Palatka has a rich and amazing history. Naturalist William Bartram explored the area in the late 1700s chronicling and illustrating his discoveries in his book, Travels. The post- Civil War period was the City's golden age when citrus groves flourished and steamboats brought tourists to the "Gem City of the St Johns". There were several grand hotels as well as smaller establishments located in the city totaling over 5000 guestrooms which accommodated wealthy northerners. The combination of Mr. Flagler's rail service on the coast bypassing Palatka heading further south, multiple freezes destroying the citrus industry here and the depletion of cypress forced Wilson's Cypress Mill to close. At its production height it was the second largest cypress mill in the world. These factors resulted in an economic downtown that impacted the community for decades. Palatka's historic train station offers Amtrak service to anywhere in the country. Palatka has over 25 murals depicting the historic, cultural and natural riches of the area and is on the Florida Mural Trail. Palatka was designated as a Florida's Trail Town. It is a trail hub for cycling, hiking and kayaking. Palatka is also on the Bartram National Recreation Trail. Palatka is home to Florida School of the Arts and St Johns River State College. Downtown Palatka offers so many possibilities and is the perfect choice for the America's Main Streets Contest. Positively Palatka!