History

History

Early Schools of Hernando County: Brooksville, Spring Hill, Spring Lake, Istachatta and Bayport

Lykes One Room Schoolhouse in Spring Hill

Early Hernando County schools were privately run by individual families or churches. Schools in Spring Hill and Istachatta were established quite early on and functioned as a refuge that could be used during indian attack. An early school in Brooksville housed in the Union Baptist Church thrived before the Civil War. These early schools were quite numerous, but much of their history has been lost.

God and Country at the Countryman One Room Schoolhouse

Countryman One Room School House

Like many Americans during the first half of the 20th century, especially those who lived in rural communities, Gretchen Countryman attended a one room schoolhouse. Siblings years apart in age would learn alongside other children of varying ages in a simple school with just one room. “A one room school house is like a family,” explained Ms. Countryman. She had the privilege of being educated in this manner for 6 years, between 1946 and 1952. Countryman explained that in 1952, schools began to centralize across the country. Her one room schoolhouse days were over by the seventh grade.

Update on Lake Townsend Renaming

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This is an update on the story about renaming Lake Townsen back to its original name Lake Townsend. To recap Istachatta Historian Melba Ward recently passed away. She wanted the see Lake Townsen have its “d” restored. The lake was named after the town’s founder and postmaster Francis M. Townsend. She said that she “would like to paint a ‘d’ on the signs, but everyone would know it was her.”

Correcting the Historical Mistake at Lake Townsend

Lake Townsen Sign

Istachatta Historian Melba Ward recently passed away. She left behind her book Istachatta: History of the First Hundred Years 1850-1950 as well as a corresponding genealogical anthology of the area that outweighs her history book by hundreds of pages. A few months ago, she remarked that something she wanted to see fixed was the name of Lake Townsen near Istachatta. The lake was named after the town’s founder and postmaster Francis M. Townsend. He built a ferry across the Withlacoochee River in hopes of getting a stagecoach to go through.

The Headless Dinosaur by August Herwede

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As you drive state road 476 between Lake Lindsey and Nobleton you come across a headless dinosaur, brontosaurus to be exact, next to the road. It is very realistic and on some foggy mornings it would not be difficult to imagine it coming alive. You can’t help but wonder how did it get there and who built it.

Historic Brooksville Sidewalk Saved

Guest Contributor Mary J. Moses

"The Crew", Evan, Donovan and Travis Pearson lend a hand to Grandad Moses as they finish the sidewalk installation on Friday, October 16.

When the Howell Avenue Historical Sidewalks were slated for removal, Historic Hernando Preservation Society executed a plan. Don Moses, current president of the organization, wrote a proposal to the City of Brooksville to save a portion of the historic sidewalk. He began by choosing a section that might be of some significance. Simply walking the sidewalk led to a portion at the corner of Howell and Olive streets that bore the date of January 6, 1914. When Don submitted the proposal to Mr. Bill Geiger, Community Development Director of Brooksville, it was accepted.

Haunting Expert Andrea Perron Visits May-Stringer House

Photography by Beverly Stapleton

Andrea Perron speaks at the May Stringer House in Brooksville

Fans of the horror movie genre may recognize the name, Andrea Perron. She is a daughter of Roger and Carolyn Perron. The 2013 movie “The Conjuring” (http://www.warnerbros.com/conjuring) is based on the paranormal experiences of the Perron family while they resided on a farm in Harrisville, Rhode Island in 1971. Andrea Perron has written three books disclosing incidents that were not scripted in the movie: House of Darkness: House of Light- The True Story, Vol. I – III.

Bayport: Once a Thriving Port Town

Bayport Hotel, Courtesy of Frasier Mountain

Proceeding on in our journey of historical locations in Hernando County, we visit the flourishing town that once was Bayport. At its peak in history it was a small but beautiful city on the water, which catered to Northerners in the winter, and locals in the summer. Its position at the mouth of the Weeki Wachee River made it an ideal resort town as well as a port for trade both in and outside of the state.

Spring Lake Community Center

Article by Jim Anderson and Pat Hernandez, Photography provided by Mr. Anderson

Spring Lake Community Center, Hernando County Florida

Some say that the sound of children’s voices, the ring of laughter and the loud clatter of dishes are stored away in the rafters and floors of this quaint old building. If you sit still, close your eyes and listen carefully you can actually hear the echo of these sounds from long ago.

Although the children’s voices have been quiet now for many years, once a month on a Tuesday night you can still hear the sounds of laughter and the clatter of dishes as friends and neighbors gather together to share a meal and fellowship as they have over the last 72+ years.

Weeki Wachee’s Own Tarzan: Al Zaebst

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Photography from Florida Memory State Library & Archives of Florida

Al Zaebst could have had a great reality television show if they had existing in the first half of the twentieth century. Zaebst was a well known photographer, hunter, and animal collector. He had made numerous trips to the African continent, his first was in 1924.

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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).