Monticello, Florida is the county seat of Jefferson County, named after Thomas Jefferson. It is located about 20 miles east of Tallahassee.
The name of the town is not pronounced like Jefferson's famous home in Virginia, however.
It is MONTI-I-SELL-O,
The population is about 3,000 people. It is a small working class southern town that serves not only as the county seat, but as a supply center for the surrounding farms.
Jefferson County is very old by Florida standards, being chartered in 1827 when Florida was still a territory.
Monticello is a pretty little town with giant oak trees forming canopy streets and a lot of old restored homes, many of them going back to before the Civil War. Many of these homes were restored during the Great Depression of the 1930's.
The opera house is still functional and puts on musical and theater performances, and the ground floor ballroom is a local gathering and meeting place.
There is also one of the prettiest Carpenter Gothic churches in all of Florida in the Monticello Historic District. Christ Episcopal Church is at 425 North Cherry Street.
If you are a Florida Gator football fan like me, Monticello is famous as the boyhood home of Pro Football Hall of Famer Jack Youngblood.
Jack went to Monticello-Jefferson County High School and graduated in 1967. He helped his team go to the state playoffs, and was voted as one of the State of Florida's 33 greatest high school football players of all time.
He had a great college career at the University of Florida, and an equally great career with the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL.
He is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Jefferson County likes to refer to itself as the "Keystone County" because it is the only Florida county that reaches from the Georgia state line to the Gulf of Mexico.
The old saying in Florida is that south Florida is northern, and north Florida is southern. That is certainly true of Monticello, a true gem of an old southern City.
MONTICELLO, FLORIDA HOTELS
The Cottage Bed & Breakfast, 295 W. Palmer Mill Road, Monticello, FL 32344. Tel: 850-342-3541. Set among peaceful green fields and old oaks. Each room has a queen bed, european decor, sitting area, private bath, cable tv, comfy robes and central heat/air.
1872 John Denham House, 555 W. Palmer Mill Road, Monticello, FL 32344. Tel: 850-997-4568. This is a beautiful restoration of the house that was built in 1872. It has eight fireplaces and a lot of beautiful antiques on an acre of land.