by JESSICA WILLIAMS
Hernando Sun Writer
At 10 years old, Margaret Rogers would see Brooksville through her young little eyes, as a child in the late 1920s. Dirt roads. Bicycles. Oatmeal on the breakfast table, was a common meal choice among children. World War One had been lingering on the minds of all Americans, especially small town America whose loved ones had been off to war and many had not returned by the time it ended in 1918.
Margaret (born in 1916) grew up here, in Brooksville at that time. The same year she turned 10 years old, The Great Miami Hurricanes hit killing over 300 people and injuring over 6,000. It was a tough way of life back then. If you think it’s hot during the summer now, imagine no air conditioning. None. Not in cars, houses, or any buildings at all. It wasn’t until the 1950s, that air conditioning became popular in Florida, due to the invention of the window unit. To keep most people’s minds off of the heat, Jazz music was heavily popular in the 1920s, before The Great Depression hit. Margaret would’ve been in high-school in the early 1930s. Even though times were difficult, Margaret pursued through it all and received a college education. After graduating from Florida State University, she would return to her hometown to teach for many years at Hernando High School. After her teaching career, Margaret became passionate about carrying on the management of her father’s store, Rogers Department store.
Margaret’s obituary recounts, “After the death of their father, she and her sister, Mary Belle, continued to operate Rogers Department Store. In a small section of that store, she began to create what eventually evolved into today’s widely known Rogers’ Christmas House and Village.”
She was a woman who certainly enjoyed making people smile. Visitors came from all over the world to see The Rogers’ Christmas House. Margaret expanded its appeal by purchasing surrounding cottages and broadening the exquisite Christmas displays full of magical, lighted trees lining the rooms and hallways. For over 30 years, The Christmas House was in business under her ownership.
Travelers would see bright red signs from the interstate advertising its uniqueness. Knowing how long the business kept going, it certainly was a commitment that Margaret was able to carry out for her father’s passion for 3 decades, after he passed away. Generations of visitors came to visit the lovely Christmas shop during those years. In 2006, when the original shop closed indefinitely, it took dedicated visitors awhile to get used to the idea that there was no longer The Christmas House. Neighboring businesses had to relay the bad news to travelers who brought their grandchildren and new tourists.
Without question, Margaret Rogers Ghiotto dedicated her life to teaching children and to The Christmas House (for over 30 years), right here, in the heart of Brooksville. Her life and her passion for the people of Brooksville was certainly one well-deserving of the recognition as a Great Brooksvillian, awarded to her in 2003 (3 years before she died and prior to the close of Rogers’ Christmas House).
It should also be known that the Rogers’ Christmas House was not forgotten forever. Rogers’ Christmas House was reopened in 2015 by new owners Greg and Dorothea Stephens. Prior to closing its original doors, the couple was able to visit the original Rogers’ Christmas House and appreciated its elegance and importance to the Brooksville community.
Visitors can stop by, at its location: 103 S. Saxon Avenue, Brooksville, Florida 34601, phone (352)-796-2415.
Additional Information about the 2019 Great Brooksvillian:
RECOGNIZING INDIVIDUALS WITH OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS
The City of Brooksville would like to recognize outstanding men and women who have made significant positive contributions to the history, culture and/or economy of our community. Each year the Brooksville City Council asks for nominations for this prestigious award.
Do you know someone that should be recognized for their community
contributions? Submit your nomination for this prestigious award by City of Brooksville.
Deadline for Nominee: Friday, June 7, 2019 5:00PM.
For More information & to Download a Nomination form,
Visit the City of Brooksville Website at:
Email: [email protected]
Or pick up a printed copy at:
201 Howell Avenue, Brooksville FL
Jerome Brown Community Center, 99 Jerome Brown Pl.