Hernando County entries in the National Register of Historic Places

There are eight entries in the National Register of Historic Places for locations in Hernando County. The listing that has been there the longest is the May-Stringer House which was added on March 8, 1997. The newest listing was added a little over a month ago on October 12, 2017 and is the Richloam General Store and Post Office. In addition to those two, there are the Chinsegut Hill Manor House, William Sherman Jennings House, Judge Willis Russell House, Frank Saxon House, South Brooksville Avenue Historic District, and the Spring Lake Community Center.

The Chinsegut Hill Manor House is set on top of Chinsegut Hill which has an approximate elevation of 269 feet. When you visit Chinsegut you have views that you would expect in the mountains, it feels that you are no longer in Florida. The Hill has been home to several prominent families including the Pearsons, Ederingtons, Snows, and Robins. According to Richard J. Stanaback, the Manor house was originally constructed by Francis Higgins Ederington between 1852 and 1854. It was added onto and improved by later residents — the Snows and Robins — until it reached its present state. The National Register Information System ID for this property is 03001171. It is located at 22495 Chinsegut Hill Road in Brooksville.

William Sherman Jennings house 189- located at 48 Olive Street in Brooksville. Photo credit: State Archives of Florida

William Sherman Jennings House was the home of the Governor of Florida who was elected while living in Brooksville. The house is located on a quiet street near city hall in Brooksville. William met his future wife May Mann at her father Austin Mann’s house near Brooksville. After a courtship William and May were married on May 12, 1891 and moved into the house. They lived there until William was became Governor of Florida in 1901. After serving as governor, William and May moved to Jacksonville. The National Register Information System ID for this property is 98001252. It is located at 48 Olive Street in Brooksville.

William Sherman Jennings house 189- located at 48 Olive Street in Brooksville as it appears today. Photo credit: State Archives of Florida

The Judge Willis M. Russell House is named for a prominent Brooksvillian who served as city clerk, property assessor, justice of the peace, and county judge. He was the son of Reverend A.M.C. Russell who was Superintendent, postmaster, mayor, and published The Southern Argus newspaper. The house is also known as the Verona House, because that was the name of the model of the house listed in the Sears Roebuck Co. Catalog. The home was shipped to Brooksville in two boxcars in 1925. The kit included precut ready to assemble materials that created a two story Dutch colonial home and a 76 page instruction book. National Register Information System ID for this property is 99000046. It is located at 201 South Main Street in Brooksville.

The Frank Saxon House is also known as Saxon Manor and is part of a popular wedding venue. It was formerly known as the Scarborough House. The house was built by Frank Saxon for his second wife Talula Victoria Hope, who was the daughter of William Hope. The Hopes were early settlers of the county and one of the founding families of Brooksville. Frank Saxon was a Confederate Civil War hero having fought with distinction for the Hernando Wild Cats. Frank went on to serve in the Florida legislature along with a several local positions including Postmaster, Chief of Police, and Clerk of Court. National Register Information System ID for the house is 98001321. It is located at 200 Saxon Avenue in Brooksville.

The May-Stringer House houses the Hernando Heritage Museum. This museum has over 10,000 artifacts related to the county’s history. The house started out as a four-room home built by John May around 1855. He died in 1858. John May’s wife, Marena, continued living there and she married Frank Saxon in 1866. Marena died in 1869 during childbirth and Frank Saxon remarried, moved, and sold the house. It was sold several times before eventually being purchased by Dr. Sheldon Stringer a relative of the Lykes Brothers. Dr. Stringer added on to the house expanding it to fourteen rooms. He practiced medicine out of the house. National Register Information System ID for the house is 97000210. It is located at 601 Museum Court in Brooksville.

Spring Lake Community Center is a stone building built in 1939 by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) of the New Deal from local materials. The building served as a gathering place for the community. It also did double duty as the cafeteria for the Spring Lake School, which has since been torn down. It is located in a hilly section of the Spring Lake Highway.

National Register Information System ID for the property is 09000843. It is located at 4184 Spring Lake Highway in Spring Lake.

Richloam General Store and Post Office was built by Sidney Brinson in 1922. The building burned in 1928 and was rebuilt that same year. The general store and post office served the Richloam area until 1936. The store was originally called “Brinson and Boyett General Merchandise” as it was joint venture between Sid Brinson and Elbert “Son” H. Boyett. The store used to be on a main road and railroad, but now it is a few miles east of 75, about a half mile south of State Road 50, down a limerock road as the roads have been reconfigured. National Register Information System ID for the house is 100001734. It is located at 38219 Richloam Clay Sink Rd. near Ridge Manor.

South Brooksville Avenue Historic District is a beautiful stretch of old Florida with large oak trees forming a canopy over the brick street. There are 17 historic buildings in this district. Some of the better known homes are the Coogler House at 133 S Brooksville Avenue, Frazee House at 302 S Brooksville Avenue, and the Maillis House at 312 South Brooksville Avenue. The National Register Information System ID for this area is 98001203. The district is located on South Brooksville Avenue, approximately from Liberty Street to Early Avenue in Brooksville.

There are several historic buildings in Hernando County that are not on this list. The first building that jumps out at you is the County Courthouse, it has been called the crown jewel of Brooksville. The Cafe Masaryktown building is another that would be on the list of historic buildings, it was formerly the Masaryktown Hotel and was built by the Cimbora family in 1925. The hotel was the first stop for Czechoslovakians moving to the area. It also played an important role for Masaryktown as community space. The Courthouse and former Hotel are Florida Heritage Sites and have historical markers. It is great to see our history being preserved for the next generations to enjoy.

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