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Wednesday, December 7, 2022
HomeHistoryNotes from the Museums: Hobo Symbols

Notes from the Museums: Hobo Symbols

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The 1885 Depot Museum on Russell Street holds a wealth of information about life when trains used to stop in Brooksville. The trains brought visitors to the area who weren’t just tourists escaping the northern winters. Hard times brought hobos on the rail cars by hitchhiking. Hobos were vagrants who kept moving from place to place. When work was short in one area, men took a few personal items (bindle) and hit the rails and roads to eke out what they could to survive. They developed a system of communication with symbols they inscribed along the rail lines, especially, that helped others determine the type of reception they could expect at a home or business. Some symbols also suggested what type of demeanor to present to get the desired results. For instance, a large ‘M’ meant ‘tell a hard luck story here.’

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In today’s world, I wonder if there are new symbols out there among the homeless. Do you wonder what symbol would be etched on your fence post? In my case, I hope it would be the one of a kitty lying down, which means there is a kindhearted woman who lives here!
The Depot is now open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Noon – 3pm so you can look for many railroad facts and artifacts.

The Museum Schedules!

The May-Stringer tours on Tuesday – Saturday from 11am – 3pm – 352-799-0129
The 1885 Depot tours on Thursday – Saturday from noon – 3pm – 352-799-4766
The Countryman One Room Schoolhouse is open on Saturdays from noon – 3pm – 352-515-3054

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