History

History

Hernando County's contributions to World War II

A concrete bunker that was used in testing and alignment of aircraft machine guns during WWII at Brooksville - TB Regional Airport.

The genesis of the Brooksville Army field now known as the Brooksville–Tampa Bay Regional Airport came during World War II. A multi-county committee representing the Hernando County Chamber of Commerce met with US Senator Claude Pepper asking for his help in convincing the Army Air Force to create an army base on the lands controlled by the Withlacoochee Forest land use development program. The committee was comprised of John Wallace who served as Project Manager for the creation of the Withlacoochee Forest for the Resettlement Administration, Sheriff Neil F.

Opening a connection to our past

Donna Burkes and Kylee Hill ring up customers at the  Richloam General Store grand opening on Feb. 25th, 2017.

On the eastern outskirts of Hernando County, a few miles east of 75, about a half mile south of 50, down a limerock road stands a small general store and post office whose history is connected to several early industries of Florida: timber, turpentine, the railroad and agricultural development. Proprietors Eric and Donna Burkes, who also operate a sign production business, rebuilt the structure in 2016 as a way to attract customers. The Burkes began the sign business in their home next door three years ago, following Eric’s retirement from the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

Spring Hill was almost named Spring Lake

Spring Lake?

The waterfall on US19 almost had a different name on it. Spring Hill was not the first choice of the developers. The original name of the development was Spring Lake after the twenty mostly spring fed lakes that were scattered throughout the development’s property.

Spring Hill was developed by the Deltona Corporation. The Deltona Corporation was the development company that was formed by the Mackle Brothers: Elliott, Robert and Frank Jr. They had developments started in Marco Island and Deltona Lakes at the time, but their main focus was Spring Hill.

Brooksville: 'UFO Capital of the World'

Replica UFO where Western Way Plaza now sits, Photo Courtesy of Old Brooksville In Photos & Stories, Bob Martinez

Near where the Western Way Plaza now sits, in Brooksville, there was a replica UFO. It was built by John Reeves who reported that he frequently saw UFOs in that area.

He enjoyed taking walks through the sandy pine covered area around his home. He reported that on March 2, 1965 in the woods he came across a strange object sitting on the ground. The object was disc shaped and held up with four stilts keeping it a few feet off the ground. The disc was 40 feet in diameter and 9 feet tall at the center.

Hernando Civil War Conflicts: The Battle of Bayport & The Brooksville Raid

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On Jan. 21st, before the skies darkened and winds picked up, the 37th Annual Brooksville Raid Re-enactment took place. The re-enactment was supposed to continue on Sunday, but was unfortunately cancelled due to inclement weather. To coincide with this Civil War Battle re-enactment, one of the largest in the country, this article describes the primary conflicts that occurred in Hernando County.

BOCC approves zoning changes for historic Richloam General Store

(STAFF)

Historic Richloam Post Office and General Store

On Jan. 10, 2017, the BOCC approved the rezoning from AG/(Agricultural) to PDP(NC)/Planned Development Project (Neighborhood Commercial) with deviations for the historic Richloam General Store owned by Eric Burkes.

Burkes, a relative to the original owner and postmaster, is requesting to reopen the old country store which he plans to stock with 1 cent candy and items that were available in the 1930 time period. Burkes explained that the store used to be on a state road until 50 came through and the road was moved north.

Parking will be next to the store.

Dade Battle Reenactment: bringing history to life

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Photography by Elizabeth Dentato

This past weekend, shots rang out across the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park, in commemoration of the 181st anniversary of Dade’s Battle. The actual battle took place just a little distance away from where The Dade Battlefield Society, Inc. performed the reenactment - the battle which started the Second Seminole War (that lasted 7 years).

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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).