Live Oak is a city in Suwannee County, Florida. The city is the county seatof Suwannee County and is located east of Tallahassee, Florida. As of 2011, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 6,918.
It is served by the Suwannee County Airport as well as many private airparks scattered throughout the county.
|Live Oak, Florida|
|Nickname(s): The city of nature|
|Motto: "A Caring Community "|
Location in Suwannee County and the state of Florida
The founding of Live Oak dates back to shortly before the Civil War. Established in 1858, Live Oak was located at a junction between two strategically important railways: one operating between Jacksonville andTallahassee, and another running south from Dupont, Georgia. A large Live Oak tree located off of the railways was a gathering and resting spot for many of the workers on the line, and gave the new cityscape its name. The tree used to be located where the now-present Pepe's Mexican Grocery on US90 is located.
In 1952 the city attracted national attention with the trial and conviction of Ruby McCollum, a wealthy, married black woman, charged with the shooting and murder of Dr. C. Leroy Adams, a prominent married white physician and state senator. Her husband Sam McCollum had made a fortune in gambling, and there were rumors Dr. Adams was in business with him. Ruby McCollum testified that Adams had repeatedly forced her to have sex and to bear his child. The case has been described as demonstrating white men's assumption of "paramour rights" in the segregated society. Her trial was covered by journalist and novelist Zora Neale Hurston for thePittsburgh Courier, among others.
McCollum's conviction and death sentence were overturned on appeal to the state supreme court in 1954. She was judged "mentally incompetent to proceed" and committed to the state mental hospital. Her case has been the subject of books by journalist William Bradford Huie, who covered the appeal and second trial, C. Arthur Ellis, and Tammy Evans. It has also been the subject of documentary films.
Geographically, Suwannee County is situated on a limestone bed riddled with underground freshwater streams, which surface in dozens of beautiful springs. This phenomenon of "Karst topography" gives the area a local supply of renewable fresh water and abundant sources of fishing. The county is known as a world-class cave diving site for SCUBA enthusiasts, and underwater cave explorer Sheck Exley chose to live here in order to have close access to many of the springs.