History

History

Gator Tanglin' with Al Zaebst

One of the more interesting characters we have run across is Al Zaebst. He was brought to our attention when we found photos of him capturing an alligator in the Weeki Wachee River. His method was to stand up in the canoe and launch himself on to the back of the alligator (all while wearing loafers). I am sure it was quite a surprise for the alligator because once it reaches a decent size there is nothing in the river that would want to tangle with it.

Incidents from Brooksville Life: An interview with developer Harry Nobles, founder of Nobleton

From The Brooksville Herald- Combines also The Brooksville Star, est. 1888 and The Southern Argus est. 1901.

Incidents in Brooksville LIfe, Jan 14 1926

Issue of Thurs. January 14, 1926

A community of 60 families all of which have been assembled since last February is the record set by Harry Nobles, developer of Nobleton, it was announced this week.

The fascinating stories of Aripeka's Littell family

Littell fishing cabin in Aripeka

George Washington Coon Littell and his wife Amanda came to Hudson from Missouri in 1886. George Littell was born in Illinois and served in the third Illinois Cavalry during the Civil War. They came to Florida hoping the climate would improve the health of their son Weaver. Weaver sadly passed away that same year. The family settled in Aripeka in 1891. He served as Argo postmaster and teacher at the Argo school. The couple had 13 children and lived to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary in 1932.

Memories: Weddings and Beseda Dancers

John Bartko, Ph.D. is a former statistician for the National Institute of Health. In his youth, he was a Masaryktown Beseda dancer. We are thankful for the memories he has shared with us.

The Beseda Dancers, courtesy of Elaine Hogue

This is a continuation of Mr. Bartko’s memories of Masaryktown, FL during the 1940s and 50s, before “the demise of the mom and pop farms.” We last published his memoirs of chicken farming in our May 6, 2016 issue. His parents (Otec and Matka) at one point had about 4000 chickens on their farm.

Memories: Interesting establishments in Masaryktown

John Bartko, Ph.D. is a former statistician for the National Institute of Health. In his youth, he was a Masaryktown Beseda dancer. We are thankful for the memories he has shared with us.

Masaryk Hotel and Service Station (flmemory)

This is a continuation of Mr. Bartko’s memories of Masaryktown, FL during the 1940s and 50s, before “the demise of the mom and pop farms.” His parents (Otec and Matka) at one point had about 4000 chickens on their farm.

Local artist makes art out of history

photography submitted

Craig Quirolo's Suffragette Bowl

While some artists hope to infuse their art with some form of historical significance, Craig Quirolo has done that and more. Each of his Chinsegut pieces are literally part of the history of Brooksville and Hernando County as a whole.

Over the past few years, a number of renovations at Chinsegut Hill have been carried out. “I discovered the, ‘wood pile,’ at Chinsegut Hill Manor,” Quirolo says. “Dead, dying, and diseased trees were felled at the Manor when the county took control of the property a few years ago.”

Nick Ruggiero was dedicated to community, country and family

Photos submitted.

Nick Ruggiero, far left, former Spring Hill Fire Chief

Nick Ruggiero oversaw the growth of the Spring Hill Fire Department from "meager beginnings" to the establishment of three fire stations with paid staff, dispatchers, EMTs and up to date fire engines and ambulances.

Looking at the statement above in the year 2016, without prior knowledge of those meager beginnings, it is difficult to understand the progress that was made between the time Ruggiero started as a volunteer with the Department in 1968 and when he resigned as Fire Chief in 1985.

Weeks Hardware 100 years: Celebrating the importance of family, work ethic and traditional values

Photos by Alice Mary Herden

Weeks Hardware, John Morgan Weeks (right) with two employees. Photo provided by Mrs. Weeks

At Weeks Hardware in downtown Brooksville, Otella Weeks, 87, born in Tennessee and one of twelve siblings, has continued the daily operations of the store following the passing of her husband Joseph Weeks two years ago. Joe Weeks ran the store for 65 years.

The bell rings as a customer walks in “I need some filters,” the gentleman requested. As Otella helps her customer they proceed to the back of the store to check what filters the hardware store has on supply. The gentleman was happy to have found a couple of filters he needed and both walked to the front.

Who was F.W. Springstead?

F.W. Springstead High School

Frank W. Springstead High School has served Hernando County since 1975. This leads to the question of who was Frank W. Springstead and why was the High School named after him.

Frank was born in 1918 in Brooksville and his father was J. D. Springstead. The Springstead family was a prominent early family of the area. When Frank W. Springstead married Ann Eichelberger, they were prominent enough to have their wedding carried on the society page of The Evening Independent on Wednesday, June 22, 1938. The article is quite detailed in the dresses that were worn at the wedding.

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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).