History

History

Turning on the lights in Hernando County

June 05, 2017 - 17:09
Electric pole in front of Varnada Hotel in Brooksville circa 1910 (State Archives of Florida) The pole seeems to carry at least 50 lines.

Something that is very important to those old enough to recall is when electric power service first became available. Historian Frasier Mountain illuminated the importance of this by speaking for a significant amount of time on when electrical service came to different areas of the county. This was literally a life altering experience for the the residents of the area and they remember when electricity first became available where they lived.

Billy E. Brown: "His word is his bond"

June 03, 2017 - 13:35
Billy E. Brown

The Board of County Commissioners honored Billy E. Brown with a resolution on May 23, 2017.

Brown has worked for the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, Inc. (WREC) since October 16, 1956. He started with WREC in the Line/Operations Department, earning $1.10-an-hour. He quickly advanced to supervisory positions in Warehousing, Member Services and Billing. He served as District Manager in Brooksville during the 60’s and has held the position of Executive Vice President and General Manager since 1973.

The Bradley massacre: "last such attack east of the Mississippi"

May 25, 2017 - 18:52
Billy Bowlegs, Seminole Chief from History of the Indian tribes of North America (1872) McKenney, Thomas Loraine, 1785-1859; Hall, James, 1793-1868

The Bradley massacre was an indian attack on a Capt. Robert Duke Bradley's homestead during the Third Seminole War. Two of Bradley's children were killed in the attack which happened in Hernando County on May 14, 1856. On June 2, 1887, Hernando county was split into three counties the site of the Bradley massacre was located in the new Pasco county. It is located about five miles south of Hernando county on Bellamy Brother's Road. There is a historical marker on the east side of the road just past Darby Road as you head south.

J.C. Burwell: Innovator, Publisher & Businessman

May 19, 2017 - 16:43
First car in Brooksville - Florida. 1909. Black & white photonegative, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. J.C. and Sally Burwell are in the car; Lucy and Grace Burwell are on the porch of the Burwell home.

In the early days of Hernando county and Brooksville an important figure was John Cabell (J.C.) Burwell. J.C. Burwell was the editor and publisher of The Brooksville Star which he started in 1888. The Brooksville Star was a weekly paper which came out on Friday and was associated with the Democratic Party. It had a circulation of around 500 people.

Hernando County's contributions to World War II

March 25, 2017 - 13:41
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.

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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?

January 28, 2015 - 20:52
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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).