Dade City, Florida

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Dade City, Florida
City of Dade City
The Pasco County Courthouse in June 2009
The Pasco County Courthouse in June 2009
"Tree City, U.S.A."
"Proud Heritage, Promising Future"
Location in Pasco County and the state of Florida
Location in Pasco County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 28°21′51″N 82°11′19″W / 28.36417°N 82.18861°W / 28.36417; -82.18861Coordinates: 28°21′51″N 82°11′19″W / 28.36417°N 82.18861°W / 28.36417; -82.18861
Country United States of America
State Florida
Named forFrancis L. Dade
 • MayorJames D. Shive
 • Mayor Pro TemporeKnute J. Nathe
 • CommissionersScott Black, Ann E. Cosentino, Normita Woodard
 • Total6.89 sq mi (17.85 km2)
 • Land6.68 sq mi (17.31 km2)
 • Water0.21 sq mi (0.53 km2)
118 ft (36 m)
 • Total7,275
 • Density1,088.42/sq mi (420.22/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
33523, 33525, 33526
Area code352
FIPS code12-16125[2]
GNIS feature ID0281254[3]
Location within county from
Historic railroad station

Dade City is a city in and the county seat of Pasco County,[4] Florida, United States. It is located in the Tampa Bay Area. The population was 6,437 at the 2010 census.

Dade City is popular with tourists for its antique stores, restaurants, and historic architecture, including the Pasco County Courthouse, Hugh Embry Library, and Edwinola. The annual Kumquat Festival is hosted downtown. The surrounding area produces the tart kumquat, a citrus fruit eaten whole, as a commodity crop. The city was home to former Yankees pitcher Dave Eiland.


An earlier European-American community known as Fort Dade existed nearby in the 1870s and 1880s. The railroad was constructed a few miles to the east, and business owners chose to relocate a few miles to the east to be near it. The newer town became known as Dade City. The name became official when the Hatton post office was changed to Dade City on December 18, 1884.

Dade City was initially incorporated in 1884 or 1885. That incorporation seems to have been forgotten subsequently, and the city was reincorporated in 1889. When Pasco County was formed from the southern section of Hernando County in 1887, Dade City became the county seat of the new county, first temporarily and later permanently, by a popular vote.

The Pioneer Florida Museum, which opened on Labor Day, 1975, showcases the life of European-American pioneers in Central Florida.[5] Its artifacts and exhibits include a 1913 locomotive, a Methodist church, a house built before the American Civil War, an old school, and an old train depot from Trilby, Florida.[6]

The Hugh Embry Library, currently located on 4th Street, was started in 1904 when its namesake, then 25, was recovering from an illness. Embry had a strong desire to read, but at that time there was no public library in Dade City. He solicited donations of books from local households, and developed a small library in the Embry home on Church Street. (This is now the site of the U.S. Post Office.)[7]

His efforts helped generate enthusiasm in the community for a more extensive library, culminating in the development of the Pasco County Library Association in 1905. After Embry's death at the age of 28 due to tuberculosis, the library initially faltered. Efforts of active community members and civic organizations such as the Dade City Woman's Club kept it operating. The library was relocated several times over the next five decades, finally reaching its current location in 1963. The library underwent a complete renovation in the late 1980s. The current 7,200-square-foot (670 m2) building opening in 1991.

The Crescent Theatre was Dade City's main theater from its opening in 1926, to show movies, until it closed in 1950.[6][8] It was located on the northeast corner of South 5th Street and Florida Avenue. The front facade/entry to the original building was preserved while other renovations were made for adaptive reuse. A metal structure was added in the 1990s. Today the building is used as a non-profit Seniors' Services center.

The Pasco Theater, built as a movie theater on South 7th Street, operated from 1948 until 1999.[9] The Pasco theater has since been demolished.

Lawrence Puckett (1906–1985) settled in Dade City in 1925. He later became involved in politics and served as mayor of Dade City from 1981–1983 and as a member of the Dade City Commission from 1976 until his death in 1985. His recollections of the city were published by the Pasco County Centennial Committee. They date from his arrival as a young man of 19. Puckett describes Dade City before and after the Florida land boom as "a typical southern agriculture area, where the few well-to-do controlled the economy and the poor white folks and Negroes did the work for minimal pay. In other words, folks here were either quite well-to-do or very damn poor". Puckett described Dade City as it existed during the Florida boom, with its various shops, streets, and buildings. Most of these had changed significantly by the time he was writing.[10]

With the Florida land boom, people were streaming into the state, usually sticking to the Eastern Coast. The overall economic effect was to drive up property prices all across the state. For Dade City, Puckett estimated that the top money-making ventures were either real estate, business related to real estate, or the production of moonshine.

He said that the increase of people and capital into Dade City had a profound effect on its culture:

"Country clubs and golf courses were being constructed with country folks playing golf and dancing the Charleston. Wood lands and grazing lands were developed into subdivisions with side walk &: streets built 9 miles in the woods, which in most cases was about all that happened."[10]

During World War II, the government established a prisoner-of-war camp in Dade City. The prisoners were German soldiers from Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, who were captured in battles in North Africa in 1942-1943. They were put to work, producing limestone bricks, building warehouses, and making boxes. The POW camp operated from approximately 1942 to the spring of 1946. The site has been redeveloped as the Pyracantha Park Civic Center.[6]


Dade City is located at 28°21′42″N 82°11′36″W / 28.361774°N 82.193319°W / 28.361774; -82.193319.[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2), of which 3.3 square miles (8.5 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (2.96%) is water.

Dade City contains gently rolling topography with elevations from 60ft to 100ft.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

As of the census[2] of 2010 there were 7,223 people, not the 6,437 stated above. In the census of 2000 there were 6,188 people, 2,399 households, and 1,460 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,885.3 person per square mile (728.4/km2). There were 2,818 housing units at an average density of 858.6 houses per square mile (331.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 64.90% White, 24.16% African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 8.10% from other races, and 1.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.76% of the population.

There were 2,399 households, out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.3% were married couples living together, 18.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.1% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 18.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.3% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,115, and the median income for a family was $31,148. Males had a median income of $25,404 versus $21,984 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,675. About 12.0% of families and 15.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.3% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.


Dade City's downtown is known for its antique shops[13][14] and restaurants. It is also the location for the Hugh Embry branch library which is a member of the Pasco County Library Cooperative.


Major roads[edit]

  • US 98.svgUS 301.svg U.S. Route 98/301 (Gall Boulevard/US 98 Bypass/) is the main road through Dade City running north and south through the city.
  • Alt plate county.svg
    Pasco County Road 35A FL.svg County Road 35 Alternate (Old Lakeland Highway)
  • Pasco County 41.svg County Road 41 (Fort King Road/17th Street/Meridian Avenue/21st Street/Blanton Road) is an extension of SR 41, which is a hidden state road along US 301 from the Hillsborough County Line and becomes an independent route in Zephyrhills.
  • Florida 52.svg State Road 52 (San Antonio Road/21st Street/Meridian Avenue) is the main east-west road that runs through central Pasco County, from US 19 in Bayonet Point to US 98/301 in Dade City.
  • Alt plate county.svg
    Pasco County Road 52A FL.svg County Road 52 Alternate (Clinton Avenue)
  • Pasco County Road 578 FL.svg County Road 578 (Suwannee Way/21st Street/Lock Street)


The city is served by Zephyrhills Municipal Airport.


Passenger rail service was previously available at the Atlantic Coast Line depot. Since 2004, the depot is only served by Amtrak's Thruway Motorcoach service to Jacksonville and Lakeland.

CSX Transportation's Wildwood Subdivision provides freight rail service to Dade City.

Local bus service[edit]

Pasco County Public Transportation provides local bus service on routes 30 & 31 in Dade City.[15]

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Archived from the original on 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "Find a County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  5. ^ "Pioneer Florida Museum, Dade City, Florida". Archived from the original on 7 March 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Horgan, James J., Alice F. Hall, and Edward J. Herrmann. The Historic Places of Pasco County, Pasco County Historical Preservation Committee, Pasco County, Florida, 1992
  7. ^ "Friends of the Hugh Embry Library". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Crescent Theater in Dade City, FL - Cinema Treasures". Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Pasco Theatre in Dade City, FL - Cinema Treasures". Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  10. ^ a b Puckett, Lawrence (1987). Recollections of Lawrence Puckett (1906-1985). Dade City, Fla.: Pasco County Centennial Committee.
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Laura Kinsler (2008-10-25). "Dade City Downtown Sees Lots Of Changes". Archived from the original on 2013-02-04. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  14. ^ Geoff Fox (2008-07-19). "Oh, Henry! Take A Trip Into The Past". Archived from the original on 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
  15. ^ "Document View: No. 1859". Archived from the original on 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2013-11-26.

External links[edit]