Gainesville’s most public diary arches up to 24 feet in its stretch of 1,120 feet of concrete along Southwest 34th Street. It was built by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in 1979 when 34th Street was widened from two to four lanes.
The Wall is one of Gainesville’s most recognizable public sites, painted with dozens of messages and images. No one is certain when the graffiti tradition began, but FDOT employees and residents recall a similar graffiti wall in the same spot prior to the expansion.
Residents and City of Gainesville officials debated allowing the technically illegal graffiti to continue. The City tried to paint the Wall white after each episode, but it proved impossible. On the night of September 3, 1990, part of the Wall became a permanent memorial. Adam Tritt and his friends painted a message honoring the five victims of the most brutal murders in Gainesville’s history. Tritt inscribed the victims’ names, along with a heart and the words “We Remember.” Years later, this one memorial message remains a constant on the Wall.
Other messages on the Wall have commemorated death, hailed new life, healed emotional wounds, proposed marriage, celebrated national championships, and raised awareness of social issues.
The Concrete Blog: Messages on the Wall is a Gainesville community project, organized and developed by the citizens of Gainesville, the Alachua County Historic Trust: Matheson Museum, and the Digital Library Center, University of Florida Libraries. This project is funded in part by the Florida Humanities Council.