When young men Hunter Mello and friend William Lorentsen stumbled upon a headstone in a vacant lot near their home, they had no idea what events would follow. Since bones were also found near the headstone, local police were called to investigate the mystery. They determined the bones were not human, and suggested contacting someone to connect the headstone with its owners.
The headstone reads “At Rest Mr. Jim Blount Died 1940”
Rich Lorentsen, grandfather of William, got involved to help the young men with their search. He researched the name on the headstone, and determined that the individual was buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery. He also researched the family, and found links to substantiate his information. Through a series of phone calls, Historic Hernando Preservation Society was contacted. President Don Moses, Vice President David Letasi, and Secretary Jon Yeager worked together to investigate the matter further.
Alice Walker from the Spring Hill Cemetery was contacted to connect the headstone with the family member. Ms. Walker, recognizing the name Jim Blount, immediately connected Historic Preservation with Margaret Blount Hart, 98 of Brooksville. During the initial phone conversation between Don Moses and Margaret Hart, she confirmed that Jim Blount was indeed her father.
Ruby Hart, cousin of Margaret, requested a meeting with William Hart, his wife Pat, and other individuals involved to return the stone home to the Spring Hill Cemetery. The stone was carefully cleaned by Don, and carried by Rich Lorentsen with the help of his son. Grandson William and friend Hunter also assisted in the placement of the stone; the young men were very proud to be a part of the process. Historic Hernando Preservation Society President, Don Moses, Vice President David Letasi, and their wives along with Secretary Jon Yeager were also present. A simple invocation was conducted after the placement. Margaret Blount Hart plans to visit the site with William and Pat Hart, as soon as she is able.
The family that found the headstone in an empty lot and Historic Hernando Preservation Society President Don Moses at the Spring Hill Cemetery
After years, the missing headstone of Jim Blount was reunited with the headstone of his precious wife Nora, who died in 1927. There they stand, under the shade of a water oak, together at last. Welcome home.
Certificate of Appreciation being given to the family who found the headstone at the May 5, 2016 HHPS Meeting.
Historic Hernando Preservation Society was proud to present Marilyn Townsend, widow of Robert N. Townsend, with a Certificate of Appreciation for his work with Historic Preservation. Marilyn was also presented with a fruit basket.
Robert, “Bob”, was a long time member of Historic Hernando Preservation Society, and he was especially known in the historic community for his work in design. He was a key person in the execution of the Historic Home Tours Reception presented at City Hall in 2010. Bob and Marilyn were also members of Friends of Chinsegut.
Bob will be missed in the Hernando Historical community.
Contributed by: Mary Moses
The day of January 9th may have been dreary and overcast, but the spirit of Historic Hernando Preservation Society was anything but. This day was the culmination of planning and coordinating that would save a piece of history.
On September 22, 2014, Don Moses, on behalf of the Historic Hernando Preservation Society, presented the City of Brooksville with a proposal to save a portion of historic sidewalk from the corner of Howell and Olive Street. This particular piece of sidewalk bore the date “January 6, 1914.” This sidewalk was raised to accommodate carriages, and allowed ladies to disembark the carriage without showing their ankle. It was a piece of history that could have been lost during the 2015 demolition.
Bill Geiger, Community Development Director of Brooksville, agreed to coordinate with Historic Hernando Preservation Society and the contractors to preserve this section of the sidewalk.
The Hernando Historical Museum Association President, Ron Daniel, agreed to consider placement of the sidewalk at the 1885 Train Depot on Russell Street in Brooksville. The Museum Board agreed to the placement.
Daniel Construction donated the gravel necessary to form a bed for the placement, and Accuform Signs of Brooksville donated the historical signage explaining the historical significance of the sidewalk. (See the signage text at: http://historichernandopreservationsociety.org/entries/local-history/howell-avenue-historical-sidewalks) At the dedication, President Don Moses shared the significance of historical preservation. Mary Sheldon of the Museum Association spoke of the importance of preserving artifacts. Bill Geiger of the City of Brooksville spoke of the significance of organizations working together to preserve history. All three shared in the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Those in attendance enjoyed refreshments prepared by both the Historic Hernando Preservation Society and the Hernando Historical Museum Association.
The ribbon cutting took place following the dedication of the walkway of the Countryman One Room Schoolhouse. This dedication marked the one year anniversary of the schoolhouse dedication. Gretchen Countryman and Mary Waller of the Hernando Historical Museum Association planned and executed this wonderful community event. Attendees were treated to hand embossed programs to take home from the event as souvenirs.
Contributed by: Mary Moses
The names of many worthy nominees were presented to the Historic Hernando Preservation Society for the LeeAnne Shoeman Award. The award was established to honor LeeAnne Shoeman, an educator, historian, and gifted writer. She came to an untimely end in 2014, and both the Hernando Historical Museum Association, and Historic Hernando Preservation Society sought to find ways to honor her memory. LeeAnne was instrumental in the Bayport Shipwreck Signage Project.
Historic Hernando Preservation Society presents a trophy to an individual who contributes to the historical significance of Hernando County. The recipient for 2014 was Virginia Jackson. She is affectionately known as the museum “mother”, local author and historian.
This year’s nominee, Jonathan L. Yeager worked tirelessly to develop a relationship between Historic Hernando Preservation Society and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. His research on the Seminole Indian Village of Chocochatti (1760ʼs-1835), led Seminole Tribe Chairman James E. Billie to sponsor the historical marker that was placed on May 30, 2014. It was a careful orchestration of the Historic Hernando Preservation Society, USF, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, the City of Brooksville, FDOT and Hernando County. Jon managed to spearhead the project, and successfully see it through.
Dr. Brent Wiesman of USF stated concerning the dedication “this dedication ceremony was a historical first. Here we have a marker sponsored by the Seminole Tribe in partnership with the Historic Hernando Preservation Society. To my knowledge, this partnership is the first of its kind. Let it not be the last.”
Mr. Yeager also arranges for speakers for the Historic Hernando Preservation Society, several of which have come from the Humanities Council. He has served as Treasurer and Secretary. He has worked on research for Hope Hill, and is currently working on research for a Florida Heritage Landmark for Centralia.
The LeeAnne Shoeman Award was presented to Jon at the Historic Hernando Preservation Society meeting on January 7th at City Hall.
“I would like to send out a sincere thank you to the City of Brooksville, the 2014 Great Brooksvillian committee and the Tomanian Society for their elegant Award Ceremony on my behalf.
For the many years I served as volunteer for many organizations. I never thought I needed any recognition for the work I loved to do and received great gratification doing it until now.
This award bestowed on me by many many people and organizations has brought me great honor and such respect to be in the same honorable standing as those before me. As the 13th recipient of this prestigious award I will continue my work as always and remember this award and why I received it every day with my memories of everyone who helped me along the way. And a special thanks to all who shared that magical, special evening with me and my family and also to those who sent me congratulations but could not attend.
Let us always take a moment and look around and enjoy the rich heritage our City and County have and decide what we can do to preserve it always.
2014 Great Brooksvillian.”
LeeAnne Shoeman was a gifted educator and historian. She worked tirelessly for the Hernando Historical Museum Association, as well as the Hernando Historic Preservation Society. Her work on the Bay Port sign 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.
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 LeAnnes 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.
On Sunday, October 11, HHPS President Don Moses gave a Certificate of Appreciation to Al Madden, owner of Fudge Factory USA on US 19 for his efforts to repair and restore the 22′ tall pink dinosaur on US 19 that helps add a unique flair to our County. The dinosaur was constructed in 1962 as a mascot for the Foxbower Wildlife Museum, which closed in 1998. In recent years, the dinosaur’s tail had developed a hole and the paint had faded and flaked off. When Mr. Madden and his wife opened a new Fudge Store in the building behind the dinosaur, they took it upon themselves to restore the icon, including its bubble gum pink coat of paint, to the delight of visitors.
For more information on the dinosaur’s history, please see: http://hernandocountyhistory.wikia.com/wiki/Spring_Hill_Dinosaur. And to see more about the restoration efforts, please see: http://hernandosun.com/fudgefactory_usa_pink_dinosaur