Historic Brooksville Walking Tour
Our Latest Addition: East Early Street and Great Stuff Antique and Curios Shop at 500 South Main Street. Encompassing both the East and West side of Main Street on Early, Great Stuff’s West Early Street is paved in a mix of both “Augusta Block” and “Copeland Inglis B Ham Ala” block laid in the early 1900’s. The 150 year old Live Oak in the center of West Early Street off of Main Street provides shade and a home to innumerable birds and other small wildlife. Currently there is an effort to preserve the historic landmark stature of this portion of the City to prevent the paving stones from being removed. One possible compromise may be removing only the bricks beyond the tree (careful not to damage its roots and kill it) and possibly put in a Gazebo area between it and the railroad tracks, which would be an attraction for bike riders on the trail to stop for their lunch or a drink of water and some needed rest.
There is a meeting at City Hall Monday, May 5th 2014 at 7:00 pm to decide on the fate of this historic street – and thus on whether to keep and preserve the current historic boundary of Brooksville or to shrink it.
Built around 1910 by Miss Christian Cook. her father, James Cook, owned land in this area which was known as Cook Subdivision. this was the residence of a local druggist, Vivian B. Coogler, and then Terry B. Hancock Jr, another local druggist. (This lovely home is also shown below further down the page on the tour, but from a slightly different angle)
The City of Brooksville was incorporated in 1880 being named after a Senator Brooks of South Carolina who had become a hero in the eyes of many southerners when he came to the defense of the south in Congress. This building was built in 1970 and was originally the home of the Mid-State Federal Savings and Loan. Originally on this site was a hardware store and later a service station. The City of Brooksville purchased the building in 1997 to serve its administrative headquarters. The third floor is rented out to the Hernando County Property Appraiser’s Office. The City Hall Art Gallery is located on the first and second floors and focuses on art by local citizens. Some of the exhibits have included paintings, quilts, photos, poetry, pottery, and jewelry. Exhibits change every two or three months. Open M-F 9-5. Free to public. Restrooms available for public use.
Following are some of the historic homes of Brooksville featured on the Walking Tour of Brooksville.
This Victorian style structure with upstairs and downstairs verandas was built by John Taylor around 1880. William Fulton bought the house in 1902 and owned it until 1942. The kitchen was connected to the main house by a dog trot. The Robbins who later owned Chinsegut Hill spent their honeymoon here.
This beautiful Colonial Revival home was built in 1905 by local druggist, Roy Newman Chelf, who relocated here in the 1880’s from Kentucky. The Chelf’s were related to the Rogers and Lingles. Notice the huge sagos in front of the house.
Built around 1895, this house was occupied by the Arick family.
Built around 1900, this is an example of Queen Anne style architecture.
This house dates to around 1910. Notice the huge camphor tree in front.
This 1900 Colonial Revival structure is believed to have been owned by E.E. Stoudemire and was the site of one of Brooksville’s fist hospitals. During the 1920’s land boom, the need for a facility to nurse the sick became apparent. In 1926, while funding and land was being secured for a permanent hospital, this structure was remodeled to provide for 10 beds. it also had a nurses’ quarters, an anesthetizing room, an operating room and a kitchen. It was only used for a year, when the hospital moved to a larger facility.
This bungalow, built around 1910, was occupied by a member of the Stoudemire family.
This Gothic Revival structure was the original St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Brooksville. This area’s Catholic community celebrated its first Mass on Easter 1874. Services were held in private homes from 1874 until 1908 when this permanent structure was built. A priest from Saint Anthony’s Parish in San Antonio, FL provided services on a regular basis. This structure is now a private residence. Today, a more modern St. Anthony’s is located on State Road 50. An old cemetery, located behind the old church, is also privately owned and is believed to be the final resting place of some of the earliest residents of Brooksville.
Built at a later time than the church, this house served as the parsonage of St. Anthony’s Church and is now a private residence.
This lovely Queen Anne style building, built in 1888, was once the home of William Sherman Jennings, elected Governor of Florida in 1900. Jennings moved to Brooksville in 1886 and started practicing law. He served as judge, city commissioner and state representative before serving as one of Florida’s most successful governors. His wife, May Mann Jennings, was an equally prominent person. She was the co-founder of the Florida League of Women Voters and campaigned for women’s rights, prohibition, funding for education, and many other causes. one of her greatest endeavors, however, may have been her fight to preserve the Florida Everglades. The Jennins family lived here until about 1910 when the home was sold to Junius M. Rogers and his wife Alice Spencer Mudd Rogers. Plaques honoring William Serhman Jennings and May Mann Jennings were placed on this building in October, 2001 as part of the Great Floridian 2000 Program.
This Gothic Revival house was built around 1890. Alice and Junius Rogers lived here in the early 1900’s. They owned Rogers’ Dept. Store on N Main Street, the family forerunner of the Rogers’ Christmas House. Mary Belle Rogers & Margaret Rogers Ghiotto who were born in this house then became the owners of Rogers’ Christmas House after that.
This frame vernacular with a side hall was built in the late 1800’s by John C. Burrell, publisher of the Brooksville Star, a local newspaper. The first home in Brooksville to feature an indoor bathroom.
This residence was originally built during the 1920’s land boom as a duplex for rental purposes. It has since been converted into a single residence.
Built in 1911 by Miss Christian Cook, who married Neil F. Law, Sr. Their son, Neil F. Law, Jr. was born here in 1917 and is known for donating land for the Brooksville Country Club. This house was then bought by Dr. George Creekmore in 1925, who had an office on Main Street and then here in his home. It was also was the residence of Neil Kinnear, Spervisor of Elections 1972-1987
Built around 1910 by Miss Christian Cook. her father, James Cook, owned land in this area which was known as Cook Subdivision. this was teh residence of a local druggist, Vivian B. Coogler, and then Terry B. Hancock Jr, another local druggist.
This Colonial Revival was built around 1890 by W.E. Law. Notice the sleeping porches on the left side of the house which are now enclosed. A granddaughter of the original occupant now owns this home.
This bungalow was built in 1927 by Mary and Delbert Springstead, who ran the City Market on Main Street, directly across from the courthouse.
was organized on April 29, 1883 and at first held services in various locations. There were two other church sites until this structure was built in June 1951. The stained glass windows ere in the original church.
Many of the streets in the tour are paved with Augusta Brick, laid in 1919.
Built around 1900, this two story home has a hip roof and has been recently renovated.
Built in 1935 this Victorian cottage was the home of Mary A. Coogler, famed local impressionistic artist. Currently a bed & breakfast. Coogler Cottage – Bed & Breakfast owned by George and Diane Rodriguez can be rented for garden weddings and other occasions. See their guest lodging link on the map page – or call them at: (352) 796-6857
Built in the early 1900’s this 2-story house has been recently restored.
Built around 1900, this is the original home of Joe Weeks, founder of Weeks Hardware, which is still in business located on Main Street. Stop at Weeks Hardware right across the street from the SunTrust Bank on Main Street, next to the Main Street Eatery for batteries and any of your other hardware needs while you’re shopping in town. Stop in at this delightful spot frozen in time before it’s gone forever. (More will be available on Weeks Hardware when you reach the “Main Street” portion of the walking tour). Walking tour pamphlets are available at City Hall.
This two story house was built around 1908
This Colonial Revival was built around 1915. It has a lovely wraparound porch and rounded pillars on brick supports.
Built in 1913, Colonial Revival was the home of T.S. Coogler.
AA meetings are available here two evenings a week.
This house may have been built around 1884. This is an example of stick style architecture.
Built in the early 1900’s, this beautiful Colonial Revival house was owned by James A. Jennings, first president of the Hernando State Bank. Note its construction of cement block. Later it became the parsonage of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Built around 1903: Colonial Revival with a rounded porch – used as a backdrop in a 1972 horror film.
Built around 1909, this home has a white New Orleans style balcony and ornamentation. The brick facade was added in the 1950’s.
Built around 1927 and currently used as apartments.
Built around 1910, this house has been renovated.
Built around 1925, this home has been renovated in the last few years.
Built around 1907, this frame vernacular was built by a Mr. Springstead.
This home was built around 1935
Bult in 1925 by B.H. Grelle, the Boom Time Mayor of Brooksville. A good example of the 20’s Florida home design.
Built in 1917 by the Roddenberys. Mrs Roddenberry ran a boarding house here for the railroad train crews.
Sunday morning in July – breezy and cool in a Mayberryesque atmosphere.
Our online tour deviates from the printed form in that the Main Street tour starts here. Built in 1913 and run by the Week’s family to this day – This is not only the oldest retail store in Brooksville, it is the oldest retail store in the entire county of Hernando. Here time has truly stood still – step through these doors to take a peek into the past, breathe it in, and savor it for a while – pick up some spare batteries for your camera while you’re there and poke around for whatever else Mr. Weeks, 84 years young, has in stock that you might need.
Built around 1929, this was once Bacon’s Drug Store. Since 1989 it has been the Main Street Eatery and is run by Peggy and her wonderful crew. Pressed Cubans, Reubens and Buzzards’ Breath Chilli are just a few of the “Eat Healthy” theme items on this menu. Open until 4pm Monday to Saturday with extended hours until 8pm on special local celebration days.
Bult in 1954 – this was Brooksville’s original Department Store. It now houses a few other businesses. The horses are Belgian Draught horses. These are the strongest horses in the world and are larger and stronger than Clydesdales. This particular team was specially chosen because of their immense strength as a champion pulling team, and was part of ST.FRANCIS CARRIAGE SERVICES no longer in service, but which may be returning.
Built in 1902 – Neoclassical Revival. It was originally The First National Bank.
Built in 1895 this cavernous more than just a coffee shop completely surprises the visitor entering its doors. Expecting just another small cafe, this space could easily house a full blown restaurant or popular night spot.
Built in 1885 by Wesley Grimsley and called “The pantry”. Bobby Meadow’s Brooksville Printing had been in this spot since 1977, but has now moved down toward the bottom of Main Street. Bobby Meadows himself, however, remains and still runs his own printing and antiques shop at this same location today with a partner.
Built around 1945, and originally a music store, and then more recently an antique shop. It is now occupied by a law firm.
Built around 1892, this is a Colonial Revival. The Mosher house.
Organized and Federated in 1910, this building was built in 1931 based on the plans drawn up by then president Lena Hawkins. On Sundays, this building is also the current meeting place of the Universalist Unitarians “UU In The Pines”.
Built in 1848 this is perhaps the oldest frame building in Brooksville, and certainly the oldest house on this tour. The exterior has been renovated. This house was recently home to Creative Porch and Garden, and now a rental unit. Renovated, this house was built by Theopholis Higginbothem.
This and other Walking Tour pages to come are credited to:
The Brooksville Mural Society as Sponsored by Florida Power, A Progress Energy Company.
Special thanks to Jane Maitski (Compiler of original printed version)
Virginia Jackson, Frasier Mountain, Mary Alice Queiros, Hernando County Historical Museum, Old Brooksville In Photos & Stories by Bob martinez, A History fo Hernando County by Richard J. Stansback, Sun Journal and all other swho took the time to help gather this information.
Web page design by David Curtis
Photography by David Curtis
Thanks also to:
The Brooksville Mural Society, Inc.,
The Brooksville City Hall Art Gallery
This web site is financed by the courtesy of Dave Curtis and any sponsors
interested in advertising here.
You can pick up a paper copy of the tour at Tourism Development, City Hall or download it here: http://www.hernandocountygis-fl.us/CentralGISWebsite/pdfmaps/walking%20tour%2003212007.pdf
The above PDF is only the route covered in the tour, so there is also this descriptive Brooksville Walking Tour you can attempt to match up with the PDF above.
NOTE: This page is still being updated. Be patient and I’ll find a better solution or create one myself. I’m sure there’s already something out there with both the route and the descriptions at each stopping point. If not I’ll make one.