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Believing in Brooksville

By Natalie Kahler Posted on October 17, 2019

This month we celebrate the founding of Brooksville. Don’t let the variety of dates floating around throw you off – they are all correct. 

Settlers came to the area in 1842 as part of the Armed Occupation Act, which promised 160 acres of land to those willing to live a bit out from a fort, farm some of the land and live in a home on the property. 

In 1856, the town name was changed from Melendez to Brooksville and the legislature designated it the county seat.  The last date you might see is 1880, when Brooksville was incorporated and officially became a city.

Regardless of the year you choose, Brooksville has been around a long time.  And it’s packed a lot of significant events and extraordinary people into its 10 square mile space!

Brooksville has many Notables

When my family and I first moved here 20 years ago, I was astonished at the number of notable people that have called Brooksville home. 

Blazing the Trail in Women Leadership! 

Brooksville’s Annie Jo Law was the first female admitted to the Florida Bar and the first woman to serve as a County Attorney. 

Lena Culver Hawkins served as Mayor of Brooksville a mere eight years after women earned the right to vote!  Mayor Hawkins ran on a platform of city beautification (close to Main Street’s heart) and had her hand in so many projects, including serving as the designer and construction supervisor for the GFWC Historic Brooksville Women’s Club.  That beautiful building is still in use 87 years later. 

All Roads Lead to Brooksville! 

Have you ever noticed all the buildings and parks named McKethan?  Although many members of this family have shaped our history through the years, Alfred McKethan is credited with creating the water management districts and with bringing state roads into Brooksville.  He wanted everyone traveling on major roads to come through town, making us an important hub. 

Brooksville is soon to be a hub for cyclists when the State Coast to Coast Trail is completed, taking people from one side of our state to the other!  You can enjoy our part of the trail in our Good Neighbor Trail Ride on October 20.  Register at www.RegisterGNT.com to participate.

An abundance of athletes! 

For a small town, the number of professional athletes who called Brooksville home is unbelievable. 

NFL players include Jerome Brown, DuJuan Harris, Maulty Moore. 

MLB players include Eddie Looper, Mike Walker, Christian Arroyo, Bronson Arroyo, Wayne Garrett, and Mike Hampton. 

WWE wrestlers Windham & Taylor Rotunda. 

World Champion Sprinter John Capel. 

And Tori Murden McClure, the first woman to: ski the South Pole, climb the Lewis Nunatak in the Antarctic, and row across the Atlantic Ocean by herself. 

So, stop by one of our schools and watch a game – chances are good you’ll be watching a future famous athlete. Also, there is a great exhibit on Sports in Local Communities at the Hernando Mining Enrichment Center through November 7. Check it out here.

Exporting Brooksville to the World!   

Weenie Rogers Ghiotto made a name for Brooksville with her global marketing of Roger’s Christmas House. 

And today, businesses like Blair Hensley’s Florida Cracker Kitchen and Dan & Darby Pritz’s Mountaineer Coffee are starting in Brooksville and then expanding around the state. 

Come enjoy samples of all our local restaurants at our Taste of Brooksville event in front of the Courthouse during the Founders’ Day celebration on October 19.

Contributing to the Arts! 

Brooksville appreciates the arts and you can tell that simply by stepping into City Hall and exploring the Art Gallery. 

Painter Mary Anderson Coogler exhibited in the World’s Fair.

Musicians like Heather Gillis, Hughie Thomasson, Mighty Mongo’s Lindsay Vitola, and Jon Oliva have shared their Brooksville talents with the world.

And community theaters have been active through much of Brooksville’s history.  A display at Chinsegut Hill Museum shows a performance of the Mikado in the 1920’s as well as sheet music written by Alice Spencer Mudd Rogers.  Live Oak Theatre is now carrying the torch.  Their next performance is “Little Mermaid” and can be seen in November by purchasing tickets at www.liveoaktheatre.org

As you can see, we have so much to celebrate!  Hope to see you at one or all our events this month.

Natalie

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