I wanted to let you and the Alachua City know what a wonderful experience myself, my family and our friends recently had at the Swick House. As you know, the Swick House is located behind City Hall in the City of Alachua. Myself and my family members have a close relationship to that house because my grandparents lived there, and later my aunt, uncle and their four kids lived there.
My grandparents were James and Rena Swick. They lived in the house in the 1950’s until their death in 1963. Going back to the Swick House brought back a lot of memories. Our family spent all of the holidays there. As kids, we enjoyed riding bikes up and down the driveway that is still there. Every Christmas my grandparents made the house so beautiful that everywhere you looked there was something colorful and happy. They had a dining room table specially made so that the whole family sat together for the holidays and special occasions. (This table held 12 grandchildren and 8 adults.) My childhood was special because of the memories from the Swick House.
My grandfather was a successful business man who never graduated from high school. He started working at a very early age to help out his family. He always wanted to help others. He consistently contributed to the Florida Sherrif’s Boys Ranch and in fact the cafeteria there is named after my grandparents.
On December 29, 1963 my grandparents were in Jacksonville, Fl. for the Georgia-Florida football game. They were staying at the Hotel Roosevelt in downtown Jacksonville. At 7:30 AM the fire department was called and smoke was traveling through the 13th story building.
The fire was out at 9:30 and 475 people were saved. Among the 22 who died were James and Rena Swick.
In memory of my grandparents there is (and has been for many years) a scholarship to Santa Fe College. Many deserving young people have benefited from this (The Rena and James Swick scholarship fund).
In summary, I just wanted to give an idea of how special this house is to my family. Since the City of Alachua has redone the house, more memories are being made there. We recently held my niece (Chelsea)’s bridesmaid’s luncheon there. It was a perfect venue and everyone loved the surroundings including the large old tree in front and the back patio with beautiful flowers. The camellia bush in the back yard was actually named after my grandmother, “The Rena Swick Camellia” The City of Alachua provided everything we needed. Kimberly, you were such a pleasure to work with and were so helpful.
Thank you for our memorable day at the Swick House. The house offers a wonderful venue for parties, weddings or business meetings. Our family hopes that the future holds a continuance of memorable occasions at this historic house.
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