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Historic Hernando Preservation Society: From archeology digs to historic home tours

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The Historic Hernando Preservation Society (Hernando Past) was founded in 2008. The mission of this non-profit organization is to support and encourage ongoing interest and research relating to the history and origins of our region. This includes the archeology, architecture, and culture of current-day Hernando, Citrus, and Pasco Counties. They also help other historical organizations in any way they can by assisting with outreach programs, etc.

“We have been involved in many archeology digs with professional archeology groups. When they complete a dig, we suggest to them to place a state marker there to let the public know about the particular settlement,” stated Jan Knowles, president of the Society.

The group believes that these projects are very important to the community and the knowledge it brings and adds to other histories. Understanding and appreciating the past is key to understanding the present and the future.

“Many people think when they look at the artifacts we find that it’s a lot of junk, but that ‘junk’ enables us to recreate the pottery they ate on, the forms of tools they hunted with, and even the way they rested,” Ms. Knowles continued.

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The Society sends the information they find to the state and requests a marker. With the thirteen markers total that they currently have, they applied for a grant from the Hernando County Tourism Bureau to create a brochure of all the state markers. These can be handed out to the public as tourism destinations. This will be a great tourism addition to the Mermaid Trail, the Good Neighbor Trail, the Mural Tours, and Historic Homes tours that are already in place.

Although the Civil War damaged a lot of plantations and homes in the South, Hernando County was lucky. The famous “Brooksville Raid” of 1863 only covered the forty miles off the coast at Bay Port, so it never touched any properties to the east.

“Many of our historic homes stand beautiful and strong to this day. Many people don’t know about our rich historic community. We are here to keep the history alive for years to come,” remarked Ms. Knowles.

This Saturday, April 22, the public will have an opportunity to tour seven of these homes. The tour is from 10 am to 2 pm. Tickets are $25 presale and $30 at the door. Children 12 and under are free. As an especially interesting feature of the tour, you can view a private cemetery that is behind one of the homes. It dates back to 1870, and the last burial there was in 1974. For just an additional $5, you can add the Historical Mural Tour that takes place afterward.

If you want to discover the fascinating history of our county, consider joining The Historic Hernando Preservation Society. Each month at their meeting, they have a guest speaker who will present an aspect of the archeology, architecture, or culture of our community.

Details on membership, upcoming events, and past events can be found on their website, www.hernandopast.org. You can also send an email to [email protected] or call Jan Knowles at 352-279-5182.

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