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Star Lake is a 234-acre spring-fed lake in the rural southwest corner of Putnam County, Florida. The spring is stable, so Star Lake has not been affected by recent droughts. It is a private lake with significant shoreline residential development and no public access. Star Lake is part of the St. Johns River Water Management District; water quality is good.
Just twenty minutes from Gainesville, Star Lake is near Hawthorne. The area's original inhabitants were the Timicuan Native Americans who rapidly succumbed to diseases brought by European settlers. In the 1700's the British pushed the Creek Indians south into Florida where they became known as the Seminole. The settlement that became Hawthorne started in the 1840's. There are restaurants, golf and various accommodations, but Hawthorne still maintains its small town charm. Sprawling live oaks dot the landscape, and there are over 400 bodies of water within ten miles of the town.
The nearby Ocala National Forest is an easy day trip from Star Lake. The forest is 383,000 acres in Central Florida between the St. Johns and Ocklawaha Rivers. It is the southernmost National Forest in the Continental United States. The Ocala National Forest was created on November 24, 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and the land that makes up the forest has never been bought or sold. There are over 600 natural lakes in the forest as well as large springs and streams. Alexander, Juniper, Silver Glen, and Salt Springs are the four major spring in the forest. Known as the "jewels" of Ocala, the springs are great places to snorkel and see wildlife.
Star Lake is near the place where Putnam, Marion, and Alachua Counties meet, but it is in Putnam County. Established in 1849, the county was named in honor of Benjamin Alexander Putnam. Mr. Putnam was a soldier during the first Seminole War and went on to become the first president of the Florida Historical Society. Putnam's county seat is Palatka.
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