• Garden Grove Historic Marker

    On Saturday, September 7, 2019, the Historic Hernando Preservation Society dedicated Hernando County’s newest historic marker commemorating the planned community of Garden Grove. Made possible by HHPS Board member Roger Sherman, the marker is located on the east side of US 41/ Broad Street, just north of the Spring Hill Drive intersection.


    Garden Grove Marker Side 1

    Garden Grove was carved out of the Chocochatti Hammock, first inhabited by the Upper Creek Nation and then by pioneer families such as the Hopes and Crums. The area remained largely undeveloped up to the 1920s. By that time, the Florida Land Boom, which started in West Palm Beach and Miami, had spread to the west coast of Florida. Many real estate companies were created and bought large tracts of land with the intention of luring new residents and businesses, along with investors interested in land speculation. Developments such as Hickory Hill, Russell- Hale Heights, Mundon Hill Farms, Dixie Acres, Nobleton, Mountain Park, and Masaryktown sprang up from 1924 through 1926 in Hernando County. One such enterprise was Garden Grove, platted in 1924 and surveyed by G.D. and H.D. Mendenhall, Civil Engineers. Garden Grove originally contained some 13,000 acres with plans for over 1,600 residential, commercial, and small farm lots. It was bounded by the Tampa Northern Railroad on the east and bisected by a portion of the first state road, No. 5 (later US 41) on the west. Plans included a city square and lakeside park, as well as a grand main street called Station Boulevard leading to the train depot.


    Garden Grove Marker Side 2

    Advertisements in newspapers promised a holiday atmosphere and described an idyllic environment. A mobile and newly affluent middle class with leisure time sought to speculate and turn investments into quick profits, often quadrupling them within a year. As a large influx of new residents was expected, the county built roads to Garden Grove from Spring Lake and Aripeka. A bus route from Tampa to Garden Grove began along with passenger train service. By 1926, some of the planned roads were laid out and a number of homes constructed. The Methodist-Episcopal Church South became the first house of worship. A one-room school was built, and operated until 1948. Such speculation, however, was unsustainable and the real estate bubble burst in the mid-1920s, just as Garden Grove was beginning to grow. The company sold back some properties to their original owners for pennies on the dollar. The Garden Grove corporation became inactive in 1936. It was not until the 1950s that development in the area resumed with new home and road construction, along with the donation of land by the Crum family for the Garden Grove Baptist Church.


  • The Stone Age in West-Central Florida

    Florida’s first people began living in this area at least 14,500 years ago. They survived by using our local resources, and most importantly they used stone materials like Chert and flint. Chert and flint is a cryptocrystalline siliceous quartz mineral found in marl clay and limestone. Flint nodules occur as fine particle solution saturating fissured sediment, usually translucent and free of impurities. Chert contains impurities like micro sponge spicules, diatoms and coral structures. Chert is occasionally found in surface out crops of limestone. Rock exposed here locally are part of the Ocala and Suwanee Formation. These sediments were laid down as marine deposits and date between thirty to forty million years ago. It is also frequently exposed in sink hole sites in northern Hillsborough, east Pasco and central Hernando County. Flint when fractured produces extremely razor sharp edges ideal for use as a cutting blade, knife or point. Artifact collectors today covet prehistoric projectile points made of translucent fossil Chert of excellent color. Fossil Chert may range in color from gray, cream, ocher, black and tan. The silica that forms in limestone and marl will usually absorb any elements that happen chance to be In close contact to it. This absorption allows exotic colored elements to bond within it and enhance its color. Flint and Chert nodules are still collected today by rock collectors at the Vulcan Mine on CMEX property in north central Hernando County. 

    The first people inhabiting North America are believed to have originated from Asia. It is believed that they entered by the Beringia Land Bridge. Recently Dr. Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Museum has advanced a new theory. He believes that Solutrean Upper Paleolithic sea mammal hunters ferried westward  from northern Spain to North America along sea ice shelves. Stanford’s theory, called “ The Solutrean Hypotheses’”, is controversial, however recently discovered eastern USA artifact sites have produced artifacts similar to Solutrean projectile points. Several of these sites have been C14 dated from organic associated material to 17,000 years ago. Numerous artifact types have been encountered in Hernando County by artifact collectors. These artifacts represent the few remaining pieces of evidence we have  of the early human inhabitants that were utilizing natural stone material of local origin. The earliest of these stone age cultures described by archaeologists in Florida is the Page-Ladson Point makers. These points are believed to be manufactured around 14,550 years ago. They were first discovered in the Aucilla River by local artifact collectors and excavated by University of Florida archeologists and paleontologists during an under water research project. These projectile points were associated with a mastodon tusk cut by flint tools and radio carbon dated. These artifacts are believed to be earlier than the Clovis Paleo-Indian phase dated at 13,000 years ago. Fluted Clovis Points were first discovered from a Mammoth kill site in New Mexico. A Clovis point was found in a sinkhole just south of Springhill and less than one mile south-east of the US19 and County Line Road intersection about 25 years ago. A possible Middle Paleo-Indian Period artifact called a Simpson Point is believed to have been made approximately  11,000 years ago. The Harney Flats Site, producing Simpson Points, was discovered during the construction of I75 in north-east Hillsborough County. Scientist believe this site was occupied near a local Chert source. This enabled Simpson hunters to manufacture their tool kits and projectile points for hunting and food processing at the end of the last ice age. Simpson projectile points have been recovered from the Withlacoochee River over the last fifty years by local divers. 

    At the end of the Pleistocene Period North America’s glaciers melted and sea levels rose. Our climate became warmer and the large Ice Age animals disappeared. Around 9,000 years ago climate change ushered in the Early Archaic Period of human habitation of Florida. Bolen points dating from this time period have been found many times here in Hernando County and throughout Florida. These side notched points tend to be smaller than the earlier style projectile points. One of my students on a cave expedition at the bottom of Dames Cave in the Withlacoochee State Forest found a perfect example of a Bolen Point in 2002. Our climate, soon after this period, continued to become warmer, allowing a population increase in central Florida. By Middle Archaic times around 7,000 to 3,000 years ago  Newnan and Levy Stemmed Points became common and have been found in large numbers in west-central Florida. These large points occur frequently around the numerous springs and lakes in our area. I collected many stemmed points around Tooke Lake in the 1970s.

    During the Early Woodland Period from around 2400 to approximately 1700 years ago triangular basally notched points such as Hernando & Citrus Points are found. They may occur on Gulf of Mexico islands and near our coastal areas. As sea levels continued to rise, these early inhabitants of Hernando County began depending more on marine animal resources. Hernando points have been found in the Weeki Wachee River and the surrounding area. By Mound Builder times, stone artifacts become scarce as more tools and points were fashioned from shell and bone. By Spanish Contact times Florida’s indigenous people began using some metal from trade.

    All these wonderful artifacts may be found right under our very feet. Carefully record your artifact finds. It is extremely helpful to date and record the location of your find. Accurate records enhance an artifacts scientific and historical value. Placing specimens in zip lock bags will also reduce accidental damage to delicate artifact points during storage. Discovery of human remains must be reported to authorities immediately.

    LEGAL NOTE: Artifact collecting is illegal on Federal, Florida State and County owned public land and parks. Rivers are considered State of Florida property and coast lines are subject to Federal Law. All burial mounds, their artifacts and human remains are illegal to collect. All Native American mounds are protected by law. Artifacts may be collected on private property with land owners permission.


    Florida’s First People, Robin C. Brown, Pineapple Press 

    https//floridamuseum.ufl.edu/aucilla river prehistory project

    A Guide to the Identification of Florida Projectile Types, by Ripley P. Bullen 1968 Florida State Museum, 

    https//www.ufdc.ufl.edu/stonetooltechnology by Dr. Barbara A. Purdy

    The Clovis Site at Blackwater Draw & the Dent Site: found in “Ancient Man in North America” by H.M. Wormington 1957   

    The North American Ice-Edge Corridor- A Possible Paleolithic Route to the New World by Bradley and Stanford, 2004, World Archeology 

    IDENTIFICATION OF FINDS: Artifact finds may be identified by contacting the Hernando Historic Preservation Society, The Florida Public Archeological Network and the Withlacoochee Rock Hound Society of Brooksville

    Written by: David P. Letasi

  • Volunteers Needed

    Remember your Little League days? Or sweaty days on the football field?The HHPS is hosting a Smithsonian exhibit this fall in Brooksville about how home team sports have shaped communities and is seeking docents. You don’t need to be a sports expert – just be friendly. Contact Jan at the number below or email hernandopreservation@gmail.com. Or better yet, attend the HHPS monthly meeting at Brookville City Hall August 1st at 6:30 pm.

  • Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America

    The Historic Hernando Preservation Society is pleased to bring a Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street Exhibit to Hernando County through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council. The event runs September 28 to November 9, 2019 at the Hernando County Mining Association Enrichment Center located at 800 John Gary Grubbs Blvd., Brooksville, FL. See more in this Hernando Sun article: https://www.hernandosun.com/article/historic-hernando-preservation-society-hosts-smithsonian-exhibit .

    Sports Photography

    The Smithsonian’s Hometown Teams traveling exhibition examines the many roles that sports play in American society. Hometown sports are more than just games—they shape our lives and unite us and celebrate who we are as Americans. We play on ball fields and sandlots, on courts and on ice, in parks and playgrounds, even in the street. From pick-up games to organized leagues, millions of Americans of all ages play sports. And, if we’re not playing sports, we’re watching them. We sit in the stands and root for the local high school team, or gather on the sidelines and cheer on our sons and daughters as they take their first swing or score their first goal.

    Thanks to our never-ending appetite for competition and games, Americans now have a wider selection of sports to play and watch than ever before. Football, baseball, and basketball—America’s traditional hometown sports—share space on our calendars with soccer, hockey, tennis, running, wrestling, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing, sailing, and many other sports. What has occurred in our hometowns is nothing less than a sports revolution.


    Saturday, September 28, 2019 @ 10 AM
    Grand Opening of the Smithsonian Exhibit: Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America.

    Saturday, October 5, 2019 @ 11 AM
    ”It’s Not Just Fun & Games” with Steve Noll of the University of Florida.

    Saturday, October 12, 2019 @ 11 AM
    “The Teams, the Stories, the Legends” with Bob Martinez of Old Brooksville in Photos & Stories.

    Saturday, October 19, 2019 @ 11 AM
    “Through the Lens, Images from the Sidelines” with Joe DiCristofalo of

    Saturday, October 26, 2019 @ 11 AM
    Roundtable discussion with coaches, players and parents on the importance of youth league sports.

    The Historic Hernando Preservation Society is pleased to partner with the City of Brooksville Parks and Recreation Department as well as the Florida Humanities Council.

  • Garden Grove Historic Marker Dedication

    Please join the HHPS on Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 10 am to dedicate the new historic marker commemorating the planned community of Garden Grove. We will meet at the First Baptist Church of Garden Grove located at 18131 Stromberg Avenue, Brooksville.

  • May Featured Speaker: Florida Cattle Ranching

    Cattle were introduced into the present day United States when Juan Ponce de Leon brought Spanish cattle to Florida in 1521. Bob Stone’s multi-media presentation explores and celebrates the history and culture of the nation’s oldest cattle ranching state from the colonial period to the 21st century. You will see and hear all aspects of Florida cattle ranching traditions including material culture such as Cracker cow-whips and unique ranch gate designs, swamp cabbage and other foodways, cowboy church and Cracker cowboy funerals, Seminole ranching past and present, occupational skills such as roping and branding, our vibrant rodeo culture, side-splitting cowboy poetry, feisty cow-dogs, and much more.

    • Thursday, May 2, 2019, 6:30 pm
    • Brooksville Woman’s Club
    • 131 S. Main Street, Brooksville, FL
  • Chocochatti Update

    The Historic Hernando Preservation Society and Gulf Archaeology Research Institute will be meeting with the Brooksville City Council on Monday April 15, 2019 @ 7:00 p.m to present the Research Design for the CHOCOCHATTI project and to gain the approval of City Council to conduct studies on the city’s property.

    If you wish to attend, it would help show support for this archaeological project which will benefit the future of our community. CHOCOCHATTI is a unique historical-cultural resource which must receive our utmost efforts of archaeological research and preservation.

    MONDAY: April 15, 2019 @ 7:00 p.m.
    Joseph E. Johnston Council Chambers
    201 Howell Ave. Brooksville, FL 34601

  • April Guest Speaker: Weeki Wachee – City of Mermaids

    Dr. Lu Vickers will cover the history of Weeki Wachee from its very beginnings in 1947. This talk will feature vintage photographs of the mermaids from the earliest days performing silent ballets to the heyday when ABC built them a million dollar theater.

    • Thursday, April 4th 6:30pm – 8:00pm
    • Brooksville Womans Club
    • 131 S Main St, Brooksville, FL 34601

    This program is sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the Florida Department State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Florida Humanities Council partners with community organizations around the state. Support for the Speaker Series is provided by the Florida Humanities Council with funds from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.