The area known as Starke was a crossroads in the early days. The arrival of the rail line in 1857 brought construction workers to the area and soon the settlement along the tracks grew and the Starke post office was established. The census of 1860, the first after the birth of Starke, showed 138 residents, more than half of whom came here from Georgia and South Carolina.
Starke, like all other towns in the South, received a severe setback with the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, and many of its early settlers left during this period of unrest. After the war there was an influx of newcomers to Starke. Starke quickly recouped its loss in population and by 1872, the ''Guide to Florida," by George W. Olney, listed the population of Starke at 250.
Soon after the turn of the century, Starke entered a period of modernization with leaders working successfully for bond issues to construct a light and water plant about 1905, a new brick school in 1913, the first sewer lines and paved streets in 1916, and other improvements.
In the early years Starke was a simple dirt crossroads. Today US Highway 301 passes through, running north about 25 miles to I-10, and SW about 25 miles to Gainesville via State Road 24. Other towns are connected as well, by other highways. About 7 miles to the east of Starke is Camp Blanding, activated during World War II. Camp Blanding Joint Training Center is the primary military reservation and training base for the Florida National Guard and hosts other Reserve, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and some Active Component training for the U.S. Armed Forces.