Coleman House
Coleman House built in 1800's restored in 2009

History of Baldwin

Nearly four centuries ago, the Spaniards built a road from coast to coast across the Northern part of Florida by the year 1835 a frontier stagecoach line crossed what was later to become the "Old Spanish Trail" at the point we now call Baldwin.

It was at the crossroads that a man named Thigpen opened a tavern for the benefit of the stage line.

Mr. Thigpen supplied fresh horses for the stage and for its passengers he supplied food and shelter.  So, no later than 1846, Baldwin was known as "Thigpen."

By the early1850's, the country felt a pressing need for railroads; by 1860 such a cherished dream had become a reality.  The first railroad from Thigpen was built in 1857 with a second crossing it, in 1859, to and from another junction in Thigpen.

After a rash of Thigpen jokes, far-sighted city fathers anticipated the old name running into trouble; so in 1860 townfolk remedied the situation by naming the settlement in honor of Dr. A.S. Baldwin, a former member of the Florida Legislature, who aided in bringing the first railroad tracks into the area.

In 1859 the first telegraph line was built from Jacksonville to Baldwin where it connected with the line from the North.

Accordingto the 1860 census the general occupations were farming and logging.  Some citizens were registered as laborers, one a gentleman, one light ship tender, one teamster and one seamstress.

Baldwin was of great importance to the Federal Government near the end of the war Between the States.  The legislature in 1862 passed a law allowing the circut court of Duval County to be held here for the reason that the county seat was in the hands of the Union forces.

Supplies and equipment belonging to the confederacy were stored and shipped in Baldwin until August 15, 1864.  At that time all of the town was burned to the ground by the Union soldiers.  Only one month before, the troops had entered the city to destroy communication and transportation.

Virtually the fallen South lay prostrated at the victors feet. Baldwin bore its share of sorrow and misfortune.  During the period from 1865 to 1875 the area began to rebuild and finally all of the war damage was repaired.  In 1885, there were two churches,(Baptist & Methodist) several stores, a telegraph, an express and a post office.  At that time Baldwin had a population of 250 residents.

After many years of pulling itself, by its own bootstraps, a new and better Baldwin had arisen from the ashes of old.  

The town was incorporated by the act of Legislature and approved by Governor Park Trammel, May 22, 1913.  The boundry lines of the town covered 11 sq miles.  This act provided for a Mayor, 5 Councilmen, a Clerk who could also be treasurer and a Marshall who was also the tax collector.