Brooksville is a reflection of “the Old South.” It grew from two communities: Fort DeSoto and Pierceville. In 1843, Hernando County incorporated what is today known as Pasco, Hernando and Citrus Counties. Visiting Brooksville today brings southern hospitality to fun, adventure, shopping, dining and a myriad of discoveries.
The city of Brooksville is the county seat of Hernando County, Florida. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 7,719 and an area of 10.9 square miles. The geographic center of the State of Florida is 12 miles north-northwest of Brooksville.
Quick Brooksville History
Brooksville was originally known as Melendez and then Benton. Incorporated in 1856, it is a wonderful city featuring a hilly terrain that ranges in elevation from 175 to 274 feet. There is a long history of successful planters, growers, and cattlemen in and around Brooksville.
Its southern background is reflected in its name, honoring South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks who is best noted for hitting abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner on the head with his cane.
The downtown area features the iconic Hernando Courthouse, along with great shopping in unique stores featuring everything from antiques, outfits, high-end resales, stationery, flowers and bric-a-brac to formal gowns – and a centennial hardware store. Some streets still show the Augusta bricks laid by slaves in the 1800s.
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It’s commonly called “swift mud” locally in a mispronunciation of the initials defining the Southwest Water Management District (SWFWMD). SWFWMD is one of five water management districts in Florida, and the District covers sixteen counties including Florida’s Nature Coast. It is headquartered in Brooksville, Florida. Today, the Southwest… Read More
In 1973, a small group of Hernando County residents sought a better way to care for the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled citizens of the area. Many of these families had children or relatives who had been labelled “retarded” and were living in dark institutions away from their loved ones. These… Read More
It was a beautiful day in May, sunny and a bit humid (but this is Florida and that’s how we roll). After a delicious lunch at the Chinsegut Hill dining hall, my son, David, and I were to go exploring on the “hidden” Chinsegut Hill trail. Renee Berger was our… Read More
In 2007, the idea to hold a foot race and fun run/walk in the beautiful area surrounding The Arc Nature Coast’s Neff Lake Campus was born. The roads surrounding this nonprofit organization serving adults with developmental disabilities were hilly and shaded, with minimal traffic, and so the Spring Lake Classic… Read More
On December 21st Florida Cracker Kitchen is teaming up with Operation Heart F.E.L.T. and Florida Natives, The Bellamy Brothers, for the inaugural Florida Cracker Christmas! With a full lineup of country music and headliners, The Bellamy Brothers, it is sure to be a great night supporting a great cause. Read More
Community Health Improvement Plan Partnership Seeks Vendors for Great Hernando Weight Loss Challenge Kick-Off Event Weight Loss Challenge Kick-Off Event The Community Health Improvement Plan Partnership (CHIPP) is seeking health-related vendors for its Great Hernando Weight Loss Challenge (GHWLC) kick-off event on Saturday, January 11, 2020, from 9 am-12 pm… Read More
A meeting of the Hernando County Fine Arts Council will be held at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, December 12, 2019, at the Joseph E. Johnston, III Council Chambers in Brooksville City Hall, located at 201 Howell Ave. in Brooksville, Florida. The purpose of this meeting is to consider issues pertaining to… Read More
Classic Reflections Carriages is once again bringing traditional Christmas carriage rides to historic downtown Brooksville. Take in the sights and sounds of our magical historic downtown during this wondrous season. This year downtown Brooksville carriage rides will be available on December 12th, 19th, and 20th from 6 pm… Read More
Due to the high demand for tickets, Live Oak Theatre has added two additional performances to its original run. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever will now be presented on December 12, 13,14, and 15. Showtimes are at 7:30 pm on Thursday & Friday; and 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm… Read More
Season’s Greetings everyone! Strawberry season is upon us once more and the fields at JG Ranch feature four varieties of strawberries to try this year. Don’t worry, they’re all sweet! All four of these varieties were available before and the same colors as last year are used to mark… Read More
The Hernando County Mosquito Control Department (MCD), in conjunction with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, will be hosting a Tire Amnesty Day on Saturday, December 7, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hernando County Fairgrounds located at 6436 Broad Street in Brooksville. During this event, Hernando… Read More
The Hernando County Utilities Department (HCUD) is currently in the design phase for an upgrade and expansion to the existing Airport Water Reclamation Facility (WRF), located in the Brooksville Airport industrial park on Downwind Way. Residents are invited to attend an open house on December 3, 2019, from 4 –… Read More
Hernando County Utilities December Classes Free Class – Tis the Season – Best Plants for Florida Holidays and Beyond Residents are invited to attend a free class, “Tis the Season – Best Plants for Florida Holidays and Beyond” on Thursday, December 5, 2019, at the West Hernando Library – 6335… Read More
December 2019 Activities of Hernando Audubon Society Hernando Audubon Society organizes two Christmas Bird Counts in Hernando County. These are among the more than sixty Christmas Bird Counts being planned in Florida, and the thousands scheduled throughout the United States and other countries. Christmas Bird Counts have occurred annually for… Read More
The Florida Department of Elder Affairs is introducing the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Produce Bundle (SFMNP) to Hernando County Seniors who meet the income eligibility requirements for food assistance this USDA program. Maximum income limits can be found at www.http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml SFMNP is a food assistance program that provides… Read More
Hernando County Fine Arts Council Meeting A meeting of the Hernando County Fine Arts Council will be held:5:30 p.m., Thursday, November 14, 2019Joseph E. Johnston,III, Council Chambers, Brooksville City Hall201 Howell Ave., Brooksville, FL 34601 The purpose of this meeting is to consider issues pertaining to routine business matters of… Read More
Visiting Brooksville Today
There are several downtown restaurants and coffee shops, along with legal and banking offices, a library and a park. Brooksville is working hard to revive its downtown to attract more visitors and became a Florida Main Street community in 2016.
They hold several events in the downtown area as well as host farmers and artist markets, as well as motorcycle rallies and holiday events.
Local art is displayed in several downtown businesses and buildings, as well as murals painted throughout the downtown area. The Brooksville City Hall building houses a changing art exhibit in The Uptown Gallery, and all are welcome. There is no charge.
The architecture is interesting in several buildings and a wonderful historic walking tour can be had for the simple act of following the map here. If you would like more information about each building on the historic tour, download the complete guide here.
Visit the May Stringer Museum, located at 600 West Jefferson. Housed in the 1850 Stringer House, a Queen Anne masterpiece with a four-story tower, this historic building is reputed to be haunted.
F. L. Stringer was a State Senator and judge. With thousands of historic artifacts and regular tours, it commemorates the Civil War era and provides a glimpse at the lifestyle and relics of a gone but not forgotten segment of American history. Ghost tours are held on Friday and Saturday nights by reservation.
There are a historic train depot museum and one-room schoolhouse to visit on Russell Street.
Continue east to find another wonderful shopping area, featuring the Hawkins House, Transformed Treasures, The Wired Bird, and the Florida Cracker Trading Company and Tap Room. There is even an old-fashioned Coney Island where it is rumored that Elvis Presley may have eaten many years ago.
Expanding Beyond Brooksville’s City Limits
If you travel north on US 41, you can visit the historic Chinsegut Manor House at the Chinsegut Retreat Centerand rediscover the magic that caused its last private owners to name it Chinsegut, meaning, “place where lost things are found.” Learn their story of courage and civil rights for all.
Then spend the night in one of the unique cabins on the former plantation’s grounds.
*Please note that Chinsegut Hill Museum and Retreat Center are temporarily closed.
Head back south on U.S. 41 and then travel east on S.R. 50/U.S. 98. Make a right on Spring Lake Highway (541) and follow it to the top of the hill. On the left is Boyett’s Grove Citrus and Timeless Attraction. Here you will find a wonderful zoo where you can feed the animals, a dinosaur cave, aquariums, birds, snakes, alligators and more.
A putt-putt golf course winds through part of this fun-filled tourist trap. There’s even a snack bar, ice cream parlor, and an old fashioned Florida gift shop! It’s one of my favorite places in the Nature Coast.