In recent issues, we’ve been focusing on Brooksville’s historic murals and the history that is behind them. This week we’ll be discussing the history behind the mural, "Early Physicians of Brooksville" located in the SunTrust lot off of Main Street.
In 2003, this mural was sponsored by Victor Heins and the Hernando County Tourism Bureau and was the third mural that was completed. The mural was designed and painted by local artist Diane Becker, and features Dr. Creekmore, Dr. Harvard, Dr. Sheldon Stringer Sr., and Dr. Lykes. The portraits mimic that of old, sepia colored photographs, and depict doctors who were landholders, community leaders, and philanthropists.
Dr. Creekmore - One of the founders of Hernando County Hospital in 1925, Dr. Creekmore started his practice in 1906, and continued to do so until his death at 90 years old. Interestingly, his office was located over what is now the Main Street Eatery.
Dr. Harvard - Dr. Harvard was the son of a doctor and passed away in 1964, but continued to work in the community until that time. He earned his medical degree in 1930, and if you head to the town’s museum, you can find the bag he used when making house calls.
Dr. Sheldon Stringer Sr. - On the tour, Mrs. Rupe explained, “He lived in the house at the May museum, which was once the Stringer House, and he added a room for his medical practice, and if you go to the, ‘Doctors Room,’ at the museum, that was his office at that time.” Dr. Stringer (1834-1903) was a surgeon, druggist, and doctor, and in 1870, he wrote an 80 page speech about local education.
Dr. Lykes - At the age of 15, Howell T. Lykes came to the area and joined the Confederate Army. He handed his practice to Stringer Sr. (his brother in law) and he practiced medicine for two years when the war ended. Dr. Lykes had seven sons and they each joined the family business which was incorporated in 1910 as the Lykes Brothers. The main operations were moved to Tampa and they shipped cattle to Cuba aboard a three-masted wooden schooner. The family business was involved in industries like ranching, shipbuilding, sugar processing, and meat processing. Mrs. Rupe explained, “So the Lykes, a lot of them started here and now they’re all over Florida.” Over the course of 20 years, the family donated over $100,000 to the local hospital. What is now Bayfront Regional Hospital was previously Lykes Memorial Hospital, which had previously been Hernando County Hospital. The Lykes family homestead was the original Spring Hill. The Lykes Home is located on the north west side of the intersection of Fort Dade Avenue and Citrus Way. Most of the land that made up the original Lykes ranch is now part of the Cemex mine.