WPHS speaker is an Abraham Lincoln scholar

Everyone is invited to attend a presentation at the museum by Lincoln scholar Norman Schmidt on Jan. 19.

Mr. Schmidt lives in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, but will be in St. Petersburg for part of the winter, so we asked him to do a presentation for us. He has done presentations on Lincoln for over 30 years, and he has 13 different ones to choose from. This will be his first in Florida.

Mr. Schmidt grew up on a farm very near Lincoln, Illinois, which is the only town in the U. S. named for Abraham Lincoln before he became president. He practiced law in that town from 1847 to 1859.

Mr. Schmidt says he read first book on Lincoln in late grade school and now has about 300 books on Lincoln, so that he can do all of his Lincoln research at home. Mr. Schmidt attended Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois, before attending the University of Illinois. (University Hall at Lincoln College was completed in February 1865 and Abraham Lincoln was scheduled to dedicate it in May of 1865, but was assassinated one month earlier.)

Mr. Schmidt recently finished writing a historical novel entitled “They Took Our President.” Publication is anticipated in the near future.

We’re excited to welcome Mr. Schmidt and hope you will attend, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19. There is no charge for admission.

(This 1862 photo showing Allan Pinkerton, President Lincoln, and Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand at Antietam, was colorized for Time magazine by Sanna Dullaway.)

DAR award

Jeff Miller, one of our board members, was presented with the Excellence in Community Service Award by the Pithlochaskotee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the museum on Dec. 12. In the photo with Jeff are Kathleen M. Oko, historian and public relations chair of the DAR chapter, and Judy Weaver, regent of the DAR chapter. Jeff Miller has researched the history of Pasco County for many years and has published his findings on the web site fivay.org.

Museum speaker

Rita King, who was a mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs in the 1960s and is now a “Legendary Siren,” was the guest speaker at the museum on Nov. 3, 2018. She spoke about her time as a mermaid and her current interest, which is the environmental issues facing the Floridan Aquifer.

In the above photo, WPHS President Bob Langford thanks Rita King for her excellent presentation.

In the above photo are Rita (McKenna) King and Ann (Rusaw) James at the museum. Rita is a former Weeki Wachee mermaid (and now a Legendary Siren) and Ann is the treasurer and a board member of the West Pasco Historical Society. They were classmates at Gulf High School.

Mermaid at the museum

Meet a live mermaid at the museum on Saturday (11/3)! Rita King was a mermaid from 1963-68, after graduating from Gulf High School, and she’s still performing today as a member of the legendary Sirens for the last four years. She will be speaking at the museum at 1 p.m. No charge for admission. A BayNews 9 report is here.

Veterans Day Walk, Nov. 10

Join the community on Saturday, November 10, at 1:00 pm for the traditional walk around Orange Lake at Sims Park for a short ceremony at each of the military monuments representing the different branches of service. Then all are invited in the museum for a great presentation on the history of the US flags. Meet and greet veterans and check out the collection of uniforms and military memorabilia. The Museum Administrator, Terry Kline, a Vietnam War veteran, will be presiding. Light refreshments will be provided. No charge for admission – Donations Appreciated.

Upcoming programs

We had a great turnout our Sept. 29 event, which was held in Peace Hall, and lots of great comments on the program by Jeff Miller on Pasco County history. Our remaining events in 2018 will be held at the museum and they are:

Oct. 12-14: Don’t miss a rare exhibit of classic motorcycles on our front lawn. Compliments of Dale Webb.

Nov. 3: Rita King, former mermaid from Weeki Wachee, will have a presentation on water conservation and the history of our Florida springs.

Dec. 8: Santa is coming!

Museum visitors

Visitors to the museum during our board meeting on Sept. 12, 2018, were Kathy Oko and Judy Weaver, who are the historian and regent of the Pithlochaskotee chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Also in the picture is Bob Langford, president of the WPHS. The DAR donated to the museum a plate which commemorates the tenth anniversary in 1987 of the local DAR chapter, which spells its name based on an early spelling of the Indian name for the river.