History

History

Prohibition Era Murder at the the Tangerine Hotel

Photographs from the State Archives of Florida

The Tangerine Hotel was on Howell Avenue. It is now the Tangerine Cove assisted living facilities. The Tangerine Hotel was the site of a famous murder. The City Attorney in 1931 Herbert Smithson was meeting with Judge Bird and Prosecuting Attorney J. R. Kelly. Smithson is said to have been gunned down by three men in a small sedan as he left the hotel. It is rumored that Smithson was helping federal agents fight the illegal alcohol trade in Hernando.

Transition of Florida

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Historic Hernando Perservation Soickety President Don Moses with Dr. Steve Noll (right). Photo by Alice Mary Herden

The Historic Hernando Preservation Society guest speaker Steve Noll, Ph.D. University of Florida held a lecture at City Hall Thursday night. The guest speaker teaches the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the History of Disability in America, and Florida History at University of Florida. He has published three books: Feeble-Minded in our Midst, Mental Retardation in America, and Ditch of Dreams: The Cross-Florida Barge Canal and the Struggle for Florida’s Future.

The "Crown" of Hernando County

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BROOKSVILLE- The Hernando county courthouse has quite a history. Jimmy Carter spoke from the steps of the courthouse while campaigning in 1975. William Jennings Bryan a former presidential candidate and cousin of William Sherman Jennings, the Florida Governor from Brooksville, also spoke from the steps while campaigning in the 1900s.

Article from the Past: "Varnada Hotel Destroyed by Fire Sunday"

Published in The Southern Argus, Thurs. May, 2 1918

The Southern Argus Thurs. May 2, 1918

The people of Brooksville were awakened early Sunday morning by the fire alarms sounded soon after fire was discovered in one of the rooms of the Varnada Hotel. It appeared to the observers that the hotel could not be saved from the destructive flames. Some of the furnishings were removed from the building, though the owner, Capt. L.B. Varn, reports that not any great portion were saved.

For nearly 130 years, local newspapers have served Hernando County

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For nearly 130 years, local newspapers have served Hernando County. When Hernando Today closed their doors in November of 2014, many were saddened by the loss. That is why we ventured into the world of newspaper publication. A newspaper serves to bring a community together and keep community members abreast of recent changes in government, education and business as well as significant events. It also provides an avenue for recollection, giving new residents an opportunity to learn about the history of their home.

Unveiling the Layers: Oriole

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Dave Thomas, Chris Harbig , Joe Dunn, Robert Bechard and Frasier Mountain. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

Unveiling the Layers: Oriole

In a recent article, I met with three history hikers in the town of Oriole, Robert Bechard of Taped From Florida, Chris Harbig of Dirt Medic and Joe Dunn of Florida Trailblazer. This sparked my interest in discovering a little more about the forgotten town. So, on the property of Dr. William LaRosa and his wife Dorothy which encompasses part of the town, I spoke with two Hernando County residents who have an extensive background of Hernando County history, Frasier Mountain and Dave Thomas.

Will History Repeat Itself: Stolen Primary of 1916

Sidney J. Catts

One hundred years ago, the 1916 Democratic primary for Governor of Florida featured several strong candidates including former state legislator Frank A. Wood, former Speaker of the House Ian Ferris, and state Treasurer William B. Knott. It also featured an outsider candidate: a one-eyed, red-haired baptist preacher Sidney J Catts known as the "Cracker Messiah."

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History Mystery

Who is this Man at the Foot of a Giant Cypress?

In the early part of the 20th century, logging was a big industry in Hernando County. Giant Cypress such as the one pictured here was in high demand for shipbuilding and to support rapidly increasing population growth. Entire mills often relocated to a new area after they had cut down all the lumber in their vicinity and had to shut down as is the case for the Central Cypress Lumber Company which founded the Centralia lumber mill. So much information has been lost in the past century. Can you help to solve this history mystery and identify the man above or have any related details?

Know Hernando!

What is this in Tom Varn Park?

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by Julie Maglio

This structure stands in the middle of Tom Varn Park which was once the Brooksville Quarry. According to historian Frasier Mountain, a railroad track once ran to this spot to bring coal from Alabama for the steam boiler that powered a pump used to recycle water from the slush pond. The ponds in Tom Varn Park adjacent to the structure were once the deepest points of the slush pond (15’-20’ deep).