Memories of Chicken Farming in Masaryktown

Special to Hernando Sun, John Bartko

credit: Florida Memory

I helped as best I could. I don’t remember anyone else helping my father Otec. We came to have four chicken houses and about 4000 chickens. That was a lot. We picked eggs three sometime four times a day. We did this to minimize breakage in the nests. The chicken houses had to be cleaned of the manure of course. The manure under the roosting areas was much easier to shovel and haul to the manure barn than were the alleys. They packed down hard and we had to use scrapers to loosen it up before shoveling it into the wheelbarrow.

Why Hernando, Florida is not in Hernando County

Hernando Beach and Community Park in Hernando, Florida

If you try to map Hernando, Florida on your phone you will wind up in Citrus County. This is because there is a Hernando in Citrus County. The city was formed in 1881 by the Van Ness and Croft families. The city of Hernando disincorporated in the 1970's.

The city is named in honor of Hernando De Soto just like the county. Hernando De Soto marched through the area while exploring America for Spain. Hernando De Soto died of fever on the expedition in Louisiana.

The Short-Lived Logging Town of Centralia

Special to Hernando Sun, Cynthia Taylor

Centralia Sawmill

The Centralia sawmill site is now on Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area. It was a short-lived logging town to harvest 15,000 acres of monster red Tidewater Cypress trees from the Gulf’s edge. To drive to Centralia, travel CR 476 west and take Centralia Road. When you reach US 19 you are “downtown” Centralia (Post Office was open June 10, 1910 until December 11, 1922).

Centralia Today

This area was once the float pond, where logs were floated to the sawmill.

Today, it's hard to tell that Centralia was once a community of about 1800 people. The trees which were cleared at the time to make way for a mill, town, housing and rail have taken a strong hold once again. There are relics from the past like brick used in the furnaces, glass and burnt wood/charcoal fragments.

More impressively, the ramp where the logs were rolled up into the mill from the float pond remains as well as the base of the double band saw itself.

36th Annual Brooksville Raid Reenactment

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

 36th Annual Brooksville Raid

Today at the Sandhill Scout Reservation in Brooksville, canvas tents stood clustered amongst the landscape, fire pits remained smoking from the morning cook out, ladies were adorned in elaborate hoop dresses while children played soldier with their friends. Rifle and canonfire could be heard ringing out miles away, while clashes ensued between the Union and Confederate soldiers. These are the scenes which greeted onlookers at the 36th Brooksville Raid Re-enactment.

The unbelievable story about Homosassa's Fishbowl


There is an almost unbelievable story about Homosassa. The underwater viewing area known as the Fishbowl was lowered into the Spring on bananas. The owners of the Spring at the time, Norris Development Co., needed to slide the underwater observatory which weighed 157 tons to its present location in the spring on skids. To accomplish this, they needed to lubricate the skids, but they did not want to use a lubricant that could injure fish or the spring. They needed something biodegradable and natural.

History of Events Commemorated by the Brooksville Raid

It was the summer of 1864. Sources state that four ships numbering 240 men from the 2nd Florida Cavalry (Union) and the 2nd U. S. Colored Infantry unloaded near Bayport. Many of the Union soldiers were familiar with the terrain, as twenty percent of the men from the 2nd Florida Cavalry were Hernando County natives.

A Family Celebrates 100 Years in Brooksville

Endsley-Bruce Orange Grove

Along Powell Road, about a mile past the railroad tracks, there is a sprawling and meticulously kept orange grove. A long driveway leads you past majestic oaks and along the western edge of the grove to a humble home. There I spoke to Lynn Endsley Bruce, granddaughter of A.B. and Adelia Endsley who purchased the property in 1916.

"There are no more Endsley's left except me," explained Lynn Endsley Bruce. The grove is still in her family just the same and her grandson, now in college, wishes to take over the property someday.

Colonel George C. Martin avoids being caught in court "totin' weepins"


Photo: Colonel George C. Martin- Brooksville, Florida. 19--? State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

BROOKSVILLE - Colonel George C. Martin was law partner of William Sherman Jennings. Martin served as the campaign manager for his Jennings' campaign for governor. The campaign was successful and Jennings was Florida's 18th Governor from 1901-1905.

Martin was a well known Brooksville attorney and his legal arguments were legendary. In a memoir entitled Twenty Four Year In the Woods, On the Waters and in the Cities of Florida by Judge Harry A. Peeples from 1906, there are several stories about Martin. One of these stories that is particularly fantastic is included.


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