Haile Golf and Country Club drops 'plantation' from name

Article Courtesy of  The Gainesville Sun

By Cindy Swirko

Published April 3, 2021


The Haile Plantation Golf and Country Club has been rechristened as Hawkstone Country Club, jettisoning a name that is linked to a homestead and farm built on enslavement.

Hawkstone General Manager Terry Cross does not directly mention the connotation of the word “plantation” or the history of the name in a note he wrote to members about the name change.

“Our new name and logo was thoughtfully designed to incorporate many of the natural surroundings seen throughout the property. The Red-Shoulder Hawk can be seen soaring among the majestic oaks and natural limestone rock formations throughout the golf course,” Cross wrote. “With this change, our identity and character are more clearly apparent not only in our name, but in our iconic logo representation as well.”


The company for whom Cross works could not be reached for comment on whether the word “plantation” was a factor in the decision.

Haile is named after the actual 1800s homestead of Thomas and Serena Haile, who moved to the county from South Carolina and brought about 56 enslaved people with them.

The homestead and a visitors' center, which is west of the development on Archer Road, has been preserved and are open to the public at various times.

Today, Alachua County is home to descendantsof some of the people enslaved by the Haile family.

Tatanya Peterson, left, who spent 13 years researching her family history, and Karen Kirkman, right, with the Historic Haile Homestead, point out the plantations in the area that were associated with the Haile family during the grand opening of the exhibit "Reclaiming Kin: Once Lost, Now Found" which was displayed at the homestead west of Gainesville in February 2020.

Several club members said Tuesday they agree with the change.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Tami Moore while watching over children in the pool. “If it’s hurting people, I’m OK with the change. It doesn’t bother me to change it and I’d rather not have the negative connotation.”

Added a man about to head off for a round of golf, “They can call it whatever they want. It doesn’t matter to me.”

Yet in one survey, most people wanted to keep the name of the entire development.

Some residents of the 2,600-household community off Tower and Archer roads last year launched an effort to change the name and drop “plantation.”

Haile has three different homeowners associations — Haile, Haile West and the Haile Village Center.

Leland Management, which covers the Haile West association, surveyed its residents. About 61% opposed the change.

“I think there are a lot of people who think it should change and a lot of people who think it’s not worth bothering and don’t understand the issue,” said Maggie Labarta, who favors a change.

A grid with an overview of the survey provides general reasons cited by people who want to keep the name and those who want it changed.

For instance, residents opposed to the change said there is nothing inherently evil about the word and that “while some plantations used slaves, many did not.”

Those in favor of a change contend that residents have to look beyond the original intent of the name and understand that such names have a “negative and painful impact on people of color and particularly the African American members of the community at large.”