Calling all history buffs! From magnificent manors to timeless roadside attractions, Florida’s Adventure Coast is brimming with local legends and lore. Dispersed throughout the area are ten Historical Markers and eight sites on the National Register of Historic Places. Make plans to see them all. For a jump start, we’ve assembled these seven must-see highlights.
1. Chinsegut Hill Manor House Museum and Retreat
Poised atop the highest point on Florida’s Adventure Coast, Chinsegut Hill Manor is the culmination of a scenic country drive. A treasure trove of days gone by, every inch of the manor house museum is filled with authentic memorabilia.
Your tour guide will share stories from its rich past. In 1905 Raymond Robins, a world traveler and advisor to several U.S. presidents and his sister Elizabeth, acclaimed author and actor, jointly purchased the property. They named it ‘Chinsegut,’ an Inuit word for “the spirit of things lost and regained.” Raymond soon married Margaret Dreier, an activist for women’s and children’s rights. Chinsegut Hill played host to many historical figures, including Helen Keller, William Jennings Bryant, Thomas Edison, J.C. Penney, Jane Addams and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
Plan to Visit
22495 Chinsegut Hill Road, Brooksville, FL 34601
Guided tours given Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday, 10:00am-2:00pm. Admission is $5.00 per person (children under 10 free).
Come for the history, stay for the cooking!
Chinsegut Hill offers a luncheon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to hear interesting stories from museum staff while enjoying a delicious meal.
Visit for the history; stay for the haunting. The May-Stringer House is a four-story Victorian-style home (circa 1856) overlooking the city of Brooksville. The museum offers over 11,000 artifacts on display and fourteen rooms to explore. Not only is it a historic home, it has earned a reputation as one of the most haunted places in Florida. Schedule a Ghost Tour and find out if the rumors are true! A confederate soldier and a doctor lived in the house, among many others. Themed exhibit rooms in the museum include a military room and an 1880’s doctor’s office.
Plan to Visit.
601 Museum Court, Brooksville, FL 34601
The May-Stringer House Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday, Noon- 3:00pm. Admission is $5.00 for adults, $2.00 ages 6 to 12, and free for children under 6.
Ghost Tours are available by appointment on Friday and Saturday nights. For more spooks and fun, attend the museum’s annual Halloween Haunted House held in October.
Imagine clangs and whistles as you step into the 1885 Train Depot. The first train station in Brooksville is now a museum. Take an hour-long tour, guided by knowledgeable docents and browse exhibits of the early railroad industry here on Florida’s Adventure Coast. Museum highlights include model trains and a restored 1925 fire engine used by the city of Brooksville.
Plan to Visit!
70 Russell Street, Brooksville, FL 34601
Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday, 12:00pm-3:00pm
4. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park: A Stage Unlike Any Other
In 1946, Newton Perry scouted a first-magnitude spring and decided it was a wonderful place for a new business. The former U.S. Navy man designed a breathing mechanism using air hoses, and scouted the young women who would use it to perform an incredible show underwater. The women learned how to perform synchronized dances underwater, smiling as the crowd watched from inside an underwater theater. The attraction was named by the Seminoles “Weeki Wachee” meaning ‘little spring’ or ‘winding river.’ The first performance at Weeki Wachee was in 1947, and the attraction reached its heyday by the 1960’s while it was owned by ABC (American Broadcasting Co.). Elvis Presley, Don Knotts, Esther Williams, and Arthur Godfrey each visited the attraction to see the world-famous mermaids. Visit this timeless attraction again and again.
Plan to Visit!
6131 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee, FL 34606
Open daily, 9:00am-5:30pm
Shop like you’re in the 1920’s. Browse dry goods, locally made products and period merchandise at the Richloam General Store. Built and founded by Sidney Brinson in 1922, the Richloam General Store served as both the post office and mercantile for the community of Richloam until January 31, 1936. Newly restored and opened, it now stands as an operating store and living history museum. The Richloam General Store was recently added to National Register of Historic Places.
Plan to Visit!
38219 Richloam Clay Sink Road, Webster, FL 33597
Open Monday – Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm, Saturday, 10:00am-4:00pm
Steps away from the May-Stringer House Museum, The Dolan House Bed & Breakfast hosts visitors and represents Brooksville’s founding family heritage. Colonel Francis Ederington, with his wife Precious Ann, purchased Chinsegut Hill and the surrounding 160 acres after moving from South Carolina in 1851. Both passed away in their forties. The eldest of their ten children was Charlotte Ederington, who married a dentist from South Carolina named Dr. James Russell Snow. They raised seven children as well as Charlotte’s siblings.
The Dolan House (originally named The Ederington House) was built in the 1890’s by Francis Ederington Jr. who, according to census records, lived in the house until 1940 with his wife Carrie.
The two suites are named for both families. The Ederington Suite and the Snow Room, in honor of Charlotte Ederington Snow and the Ederingtons. A stay at the Dolan House is a charming retreat in the heart of Florida’s Adventure Coast.
Plan to Visit!
701 Museum Ct, Brooksville, FL 34601
7. Week’s Hardware Store/ Shops of Downtown Brooksville
Opened in 1916, Weeks Hardware is the oldest existing retail business on Florida’s Adventure Coast. Inside find household items of yesteryear like washboards, stove pipes, cast iron cooking pots, and many types of hardware and tools that customers could not find anywhere else.
Weeks Hardware is just one of many unique shops in historic downtown Brooksville where you can dine, browse and purchase the perfect gift or antique.
Plan to Visit!
115 N Main St, Brooksville, FL 34601