Brooksville, Florida

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Brooksville, Florida
Hernando County Courthouse
Official seal of Brooksville, Florida
Location in Hernando County and the state of Florida
Location in Hernando County and the state of Florida
Brooksville, Florida is located in Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Location in the United States
Brooksville, Florida is located in the United States
Brooksville, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Brooksville, Florida (the United States)
Brooksville, Florida is located in North America
Brooksville, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Brooksville, Florida (North America)
Coordinates: 28°33′13″N 82°23′19″W / 28.55361°N 82.38861°W / 28.55361; -82.38861Coordinates: 28°33′13″N 82°23′19″W / 28.55361°N 82.38861°W / 28.55361; -82.38861
Country United States
State Florida
 • Total11.28 sq mi (29.22 km2)
 • Land11.18 sq mi (28.97 km2)
 • Water0.10 sq mi (0.25 km2)
194 ft (59 m)
 • Total8,890
 • Density794.89/sq mi (306.91/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
34601-34605, 34613-34614
Area code352
FIPS code12-08800[3]
GNIS feature ID0279446[4]

Brooksville is a city in western Florida and the county seat of Hernando County, Florida, United States.[5] As of the 2010 census it had a population of 7,719,[6] up from 7,264 at the 2000 census. Brooksville is home to historic buildings and residences, including the homes of former Florida Governor William Sherman Jennings and football player Jerome Brown. It is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Brooksville, established in 1856 by the merger of the towns of Melendez and Pierceville, took its name to honor and show support for Preston Brooks, a pro-slavery congressman from South Carolina who caned and seriously injured Massachusetts Senator and abolitionist Charles Sumner.


Brooksville is located in east-central Hernando County, 45 miles (72 km) north of Tampa and 51 miles (82 km) southwest of Ocala. The geographic center of Florida is 12 miles (19 km) north-northwest of Brooksville.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Brooksville has a total area of 10.9 square miles (28.3 km2), of which 10.8 square miles (28.1 km2) are land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.90%, are water.[6]

Brooksville is known for its rolling topography with elevations ranging from 100 ft to 180 ft. The highest elevation in the area is Chinsegut Hill, at 269 ft, over five and a half miles north of the city.


Climate data for Brooksville, Florida (Brooksville–Tampa Bay Regional Airport), 1991–2020 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 70.7
Daily mean °F (°C) 57.5
Average low °F (°C) 44.3
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.01
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.0 7.6 7.3 7.0 7.8 15.4 19.0 17.9 13.5 7.8 6.5 6.9 125.7
Source: NOAA[7][8]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of Census 2010,[3] there were 7,719 people, 3,504 households, and 1,927 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,469.5 inhabitants per square mile (567.4/km2). There were 3,504 occupied housing units at an average density of 793.0 per square mile (306.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.7% White, 19.1% African American, 1% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 2.1% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.6% of the population, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander composed 0.2% of the population.

There were 3,220 households, out of which 23.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.9% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.1% were non-families. 38.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city, 22.1% of people were under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 21.7% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 29.7% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.4 males.


Personal income[edit]

The median income for a household in the city was $25,489, and the median income for a family was $31,060. Males had a median income of $29,837 versus $21,804 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,265. About 16.8% of families and 21.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.9% of those under age 18 and 11.5% of those age 65 or over.


The city hosted an annual Blueberry Festival in downtown Brooksville until 2017.[10] The Festival then moved to Plant City.[why?]

The city has historic homes along brick streets. There is also a Native American outpost in a log cabin,[11] the Brooksville Railroad Depot Museum, and The Hernando Heritage Museum, located in the May-Stringer House. The Historic Brooksville Walking/Driving Tour features many historic homes; a guidebook is available at the City of Brooksville website and at the main library on Howell Avenue.[citation needed]

The first annual "Get Healthy Brooksville Cycling Classic" was held in 2010 and attracted cyclists from all over the state.[citation needed]

The Brooksville Business Alliance has sponsored the annual Brooksville Founders Week Celebration since 2006.[12] There is a monthly live music performance, antique car show, and other events.


May Stringer House

19th century[edit]

Fort DeSoto, established about 1840 to give protection to settlers from Native Americans, was located at the northeastern edge of present-day Brooksville on Croom Road about one-half mile east of U.S. Highway 41. The fort was also a trading post and a regular stop on the Concord stagecoach line which ran from Palatka to Tampa.

The fort was built on top of a heavy bed of limestone, a fact which they were unaware of at the time. This made it exceedingly difficult to obtain water, thus causing the location to be abandoned.[citation needed]

On September 12, 1842, Seminole Indians attacked the McDaniel party which was riding near the settlement known as "Chocochatti" or "Chocachatti", south of Brooksville, killing Mrs. Charlotte Crum (née Winn/Wynn; 1792–1842).[13]

Brooksville was settled in 1845 by four families: the Howell family which settled the northern part of town; the Mays family which settled the eastern part of town; the Hale family on the west; and the Parsons family on the south. In the early 1840s the population shifted about 3 miles (5 km) to the south, where a settlement formed by the Hope and Saxon families became known as Pierceville. About this time, another community about 2 miles (3 km) northwest of Pierceville, named Melendez, was formed.[citation needed]

In 1850 a post office was established at Melendez, which in 1855 was listed as the Capital of Benton County, now Hernando County.[14] In 1854 it was replaced by a post office at Pierceville. Both towns were situated in the area that would become Brooksville.[citation needed]

In 1856, the town of Brooksville was established by the merger of the towns of Melendez and Pierceville and served as the county seat of Hernando County.[14] The name was chosen to honor Preston Brooks, a congressman who had caned abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner nearly to death in 1856 on the floor of the Senate after Sumner gave an anti-slavery speech and disparaged Brooks' uncle, Senator Andrew Butler.[15]

The Pierceville post office was renamed Brooksville in 1871. The city of Brooksville was incorporated on October 13, 1880.[citation needed]

A study of lynchings recorded in Hernando County in the late 19th and early 20th centuries revealed it had one of the highest per capita rates of violence against blacks in the United States.[16] In Brooksville, the county seat, several African-Americans were killed in the 1870s and 1920s. Arthur St. Clair, a community leader, was murdered in 1877 after he presided over an interracial marriage. After the murder, the investigation was stymied by local actions to prevent bringing to justice the white men accused in his killing.[16]

Around 1885, there was a brief uprising by blacks, three of whom were killed and many others wounded by whites.[17]

20th century[edit]

The 1920s saw a resurgence of Ku Klux Klan activity and lynchings; as a result, many black residents left the area.[18] During the Great Depression, Brooksville suffered from a lack of currency. The school board paid teachers with chits, and Weeks Hardware "accepted chickens and sides of bacon" as payment.[19]

In the 1920s, Brooksville was a major citrus production area and was known as the "Home of the Tangerine".[20]

In 1948, Brooksville instituted a zoning law segregating neighborhoods.[16] Schools remained segregated until the late 1960s.[21]

One of the most notorious examples of racism in the city was the creation of the "Lewis Plantation and Turpentine Still", which claimed to show life in African-American rural communities, but in reality contained black residents dressing and acting in grotesque stereotypes as a means of entertaining white tourists.[22]

21st century[edit]

Brooksville is a residential-commercial community. There are several modern medical facilities in the area including Bayfront Health Brooksville, Oak Hill Community Hospital, and Bayfront Health Spring Hill. A campus of Pasco–Hernando State College is a mile north of the city limits. The business section includes eleven shopping centers, and Brooksville–Tampa Bay Regional Airport is 6 miles (10 km) south of the city. There are three city parks with walking trails, sports, and picnicking facilities, including a nine-hole golf course.[citation needed]

Jerome Brown, defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles was a graduate of Brooksville's Hernando High School. In June 1988, he received praise for his calm demeanor as he helped disperse a group of Ku Klux Klan protesters in Brooksville.[23] Brown, and his 12-year-old nephew Gus, died on June 25, 1992, after Brown lost control of his car and crashed into a tree; Brown was 27 years old. In 2000, the Jerome Brown Community Center was opened in Brooksville in memory of Brown.[24]

A minor controversy arose in the summer of 2010 when local media and residents brought attention to the origin of the town's name, calling it "shameful".[25] The suggestion was made that the town should change its name in order to distance itself from its pro-slavery history. The idea was opposed by locals and not entertained by the city council. However, the city's official website did remove a page which discussed the Brooks/Sumner encounter and had cast Brooks in a positive light.[citation needed]

Public transportation[edit]

Brooksville is served by THE Bus's Purple and Green Routes.[26]


  • WWJB (1450 AM), radio station based in Brooksville
  • The Hernando Times, an issue of the Tampa Bay Times, is published each Friday.

Notable people[edit]


  • Canadian director Bob Clark's 1974 horror film Deathdream (aka Dead of Night; The Night Andy Came Home) was filmed entirely in Brooksville.[31]


  1. ^ "City County List - Division of Library and Information Services - Florida Department of State".
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. ^ a b "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  7. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  8. ^ "Summary of Monthly Normals 1991-2020". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  9. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. ^ "Amidst controversy, Florida Blueberry Festival won't return to Brooksville". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  11. ^ "Peace Tree Trading Post". Facebook.
  12. ^ "Photo Slide Show of Founder's Day in Brooksville". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  13. ^ "161 years later, grave gets a marker". Tampa Bay Times.
  14. ^ a b "About". City of Brooksville. City of Brooksville. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  15. ^ "The Compromise of 1850, The Kansas/Nebraska Act, Dred Scott, and John Brown's Raid". The University of Alabama. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  16. ^ a b c DeWitt, Dan (October 4, 2013). "Hernando's 100-year-old courthouse part of long, slow journey to justice". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  17. ^ Judge E.C. May of Inverness according to accounts by John W. Davis of Lecanto (July 3, 1955). "Negroes Tried 'To Take' Brooksville 70 Years Ago". Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  18. ^ "Ku Klux Klan march in downtown - Brooksville, Florida". Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  19. ^ DeWitt, Dan (2003-12-24). "Hernando: A throwback that still thrives: Walking into Weeks Hardware, the oldest active business in town, is like going through a time warp to a business style that is rare today". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  20. ^ "Brooksville the home of the tangerine". University of South Florida. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
  21. ^ "History of Schools in Hernando County, Florida".
  22. ^ "The Lewis Plantation". Retrieved 2020-12-12.
  23. ^ Scheiber, Dave (August 29, 1988). "Cool Under Fire". Sports Illustrated. Vol. 69, no. 9. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  24. ^ "Jerome Brown". City of Brooksville, Florida. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  25. ^ "Resident shines light on shameful old story behind Brooksville's name". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on 2017-04-23.
  26. ^ "Bus Schedules". Archived from the original on 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2013-11-26.
  27. ^ "Florida high school sports | Baseball: Hernando to retire Bronson Arroyo's jersey". Archived from the original on 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2013-03-30.
  29. ^ "Jerome Brown". Archived from the original on 2013-04-05. Retrieved 2013-03-30.
  30. ^ "JON OLIVA: Mozart & Madman". 2 August 2009. Archived from the original on 2 August 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2022.
  31. ^ "Ford Custom in "Dead of Night"".

External links[edit]