• Florida’s Female Pioneers

    CANCELLED – We Hope to Reschedule

    Join the HHPS as we welcome historian and author Peggy Macdonald as she examines some of the women who have shaped Florida.

    Florida’s Female Pioneers: Examining some of the women who have shaped Florida, including Dr. Esther Hill Hawks, a physician who ran the first racially integrated free school in Florida; Harriet Beecher Stowe, famous for writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin who kick-started Florida’s tourism industry with her 1873 book, Palmetto Leaves; and May Mann Jennings, a suffragist and conservationist who helped establish Royal Palm State Park, which formed the nucleus of Everglades National Park.

    Thursday, April 2, 2020
    6:30 pm
    Brooksville Woman's Club
    131 S. Main Street
    Brooksville, FL

    Free and open to the public.

    Funding for this program was provided through a grant from the Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

  • 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.


  • Lee Anne Shoeman Award Winner 2019: Bill Rosst

    William Rosst became a member of Hernando Past in 2010. For almost a decade, he was always willing to help the society as a board member, and later as an ex officio board member. He purchased a computer projector for the organization. He provided wonderful lectures/presentations on the history of the MAYA, drawn from his rich experience as an archaeologist and engineer around the world. In 2012, with the MAYAN CALENDAR event in the news, Bill gave a great presentation at that time. He brought a steady and professional opinion and demeanor to all of the preservation society’s meetings and deliberations. Most notably, he was instrumental in the CENTRALIA historic marker by providing the majority of the funding for that project, dedicated a few years ago. His work in preserving Hernando County’s cultural/historical resources qualifies him immensely to receive the Lee Anne Shoeman Preservation Award for 2019. He was a beloved member of Hernando Past and will be sorely missed. It is a great honor to his memory to award this to Bill Rosst, posthumously.

    Bill Rosst, 1931-2019
  • February HHPS Meeting: Guest Speaker “Billy the Kid”

    The Adventures & Times of William H. Cox II “Billy the Kid”

    The HHPS is pleased to welcome William H. Cox II as he shares his great adventure of living in Lincoln County New Mexico in the early 90’s, in the footsteps of William H. Bonney, the legendary figure known today as “BILLY THE KID.”

    Thursday, February 6, 2020

    6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

    Brooksville City Hall Council Chambers

    201 Howell Ave, Brooksville, FL

  • No January HHPS Meeting

    Due to the proximity of the first Thursday of the month to the New Year holiday, we will not be meeting in January. We will hold our February meeting as scheduled on Thursday, February 6 at 6:30 pm when we welcome William H. Cox II as he regales us with his stories of Billy the Kid.

    February HHPS Meeting

    Thursday, February 6, 2020

    6:30 pm

    Brooksville City Hall

  • December HHPS Meeting

    The December meeting date has been changed in order to not conflict with the Main Street Tree Lighting. We will meet Thursday, December 19 at 6:30 pm at City Hall. We will hold elections for our Board and Officers – please come cast your vote! We will also be selecting our Lee Anne Shoeman Award winner. Please bring a dish to share as well as an inexpensive (less than $5) wrapped Christmas ornament for our gift exchange. This is always a fun meeting, once we get our important business out of the way.

    Thursday, December 19th 6:30pm - 8:00pm
    Brooksville City Hall, 201 Howell Ave, Brooksville, FL
  • 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

  • Lee Anne Shoeman Preservation Award 2019 – Now Accepting Applications

    LeeAnne Shoeman was a gifted educator and historian.  She worked tirelessly for the Hernando Historical Museum Association, as well as the Historic Hernando Preservation Society.  Her work on the Bay Port historical marker  project was something she poured her heart and soul into.  She was an individual who strived for historic accuracy, and correctness of the written word.  Her work as an educator at Central High school earned her the respect of her students and colleagues alike.  

    Lee Anne Shoeman Preservation Award

    LeAnne’s life was cut short by tragedy, and a memorial in the essence of the LeeAnne Shoeman Award was created by the Historic Hernando Preservation Society.  The award is presented annually to someone who has contributed to the historic significance of Hernando County, and or contributed to the furthering of historic education of Hernando County.  

    The first award in 2015 was presented to Virginia Jackson, Hernando historian, author, and inspiration to many.  Her name was placed on the LeeAnne Shoeman Award.  The award itself bears the symbol of pen and scroll, a testament to LeAnne’s love of the written word.  The award is housed in City Hall in Brooksville, and a new name plate will be added bearing the name of the current award winner for subsequent years.

    This award should not be presented lightly, as it is a beacon of hope that the work of LeAnne will carry on with those of us who love history and wish to continue the memory of a beloved historian, writer and educator.