Newest book in the museum library

A new book in the museum library is The Saltworks Near Hopeville, published last year, written by William Holcomb of Largo. The salt works was an operation at Salt Springs, behind Gulf View Square Mall, which supplied salt to the confederacy. Not a lot is known about the saltworks, but probably everything that is known is in the book. Hopeville was an early name for Port Richey. The Saltworks Near Hopeville is also available at here.

School yearbooks

We have a small but growing collection of old school yearbooks at the museum. We have the Gulf Middle School yearbooks from 1990 to 2010 and the Ridgewood High School yearbooks from 1987 to 1990. We have the 1963 and 1974 Gulf High yearbooks and the 1972 and 1973 GHS yearbooks have been donated and should be available by next weekend. The 1974 GHS yearbook is actually the combined yearbooks for Gulf and Hudson high schools, as the two schools met in the same building that year and part of the next.

Museum visitors

Richard and Judy Osteen were visitors to the museum today. They have been married for 49 years. Richard is a 1968 graduate of Gulf High School. Judy transferred to Clearwater before graduating. She is Class of 1969. Richard says that Osteen Road is named for his father, Leroy Osteen, who was one of the earliest residents in that area.

Old newspapers have been digitized

We are happy to announce that the early years of the New Port Richey Press, our local weekly newspaper, have been digitized.

This is important because it ensures the long-term survival of these newspapers, as the files will be widely distributed.

The scanning of the microfilm was done by MicroImaging Source Inc. of Dunedin. The microfilm, created in 1986, has all of the surviving newspapers from 1918 to 1947.

The files will be placed on both computers at the museum for viewing by the public. In the future we plan to offer the images on a USB flash drive for a small fee. The newspapers are not currently searchable, but are arranged by date.

The Port Richey Press was founded on Nov. 21, 1918. The name of the newspaper was changed to the New Port Richey Press two years later. The newspaper eventually became the West Pasco Press and declined in influence before becoming absorbed by the Tampa Tribune.

Some issues of the newspaper are presumed lost, including all of 1932 and 1933 and the second half of 1921. So if you happen to have one of those newspapers, please let us know! There is a missing newspaper from January 1930 that probably had a banner headline announcing that Gloria Swanson would be visiting New Port Richey. It’s understandable why the newspaper is missing. Her trip to New Port Richey never took place.

The New Port Richey Public Library is looking into the possibility of digitizing the later issues of the New Port Richey Press, which they have in the Avery Room, along with some years of the Hudson Chronicle, West Pasco Chronicle, and The Good News. It would be a more expensive project, as the scanning would require manual turning of the pages of bound volumes of the newspapers, whereas scanning the microfilm was a mostly automated procedure. If the library’s newspapers are digitized, it’s likely that the historical society’s newspapers and the library newspapers would be put on line.

Museum visitor

Madonna Jervis Wise was a visitor to the museum in Sims Park today (3/12). She is President of the Pasco County Historical Society, which meets monthly in Dade City, and the author of several books about history of eastern Pasco County. In this picture, our museum administrator Terry Kline is showing her one of the displays in our museum.

Museum visitors

Albert and Patricia Watt were visitors to the museum today (Feb. 18, 2018).

Patricia is the artist who did the painting of the home of Thomas Meighan which is on display at the museum. She did the painting in 1985 and presented it to the museum in 2003, but had forgotten that we had the painting on display until she recently saw a picture of the painting on our Facebook page.

Patricia Watt has painted the old historic buildings in New Port Richey and the homes in the vicinity of Meighan’s home. She lives in one of several homes that are on the property which was owned by Thomas Meighan.

Albert Watt is Irish and says he is in his 90th year. Patricia Watt is 82 years old. Albert is Irish; Patricia is from Kent, England. They met in England 46 years ago in the Lake District.

Mrs. Watt will be holding an art show each Saturday in March and April from 12 noon to 4 p.m. at their home at 7124 Jasmin Drive in New Port Richey. For more information, call 727 848-8449.

Museum visitor

Missy Brown was a visitor to the museum on Feb. 17, 2018. She donated this old scrapbook from the Ridin’ Hi Saddle Club, of which her father was President. We’ll have some pictures from the 1960s and early 1970s on our web site shortly.

Thanks for the early Sims family photos!

Thanks to Carol Szarowicz for donating to us three 1920s photos of the Sims family.

The photos were in the scrapbook of her grandmother, Hattie May Palmer-Sargent, who was a first cousin to Mrs. Sims.

We had seen the photo showing Mrs. Sims on horseback before, because it was published in the New Port Richey Press in 1922, but of course with lesser quality.

The photos show:

George Reginald Sims, the owner of the Port Richey Co., which developed New Port Richey. He is considered the founder of the city. He donated Enchantment Park to the city when it was incorporated in 1924 with the provision that it would be used as a park free to the public forever. City council renamed the park in Mr. Sims’ honor. Sims intended to be buried in Pine Hill Cemetery, but upon his death in 1954 the New Port Richey city council arranged to have him buried in Sims Park, with the family’s permission. However, when Mrs. Sims died in 1965, both Mr. and Mrs. Sims were interred in Sylvan Abbey Cemetery in Clearwater.

Mrs. George Reginald Sims (maiden name Marjorie Bartlett Byington).

George Reginald Sims II, usually called Bunt.

Mrs. Willis or Willice M. Byington (maiden name Sallie Blinn Phillips, mother of Marjorie). Mr. Byington died before these pictures were taken. Both he and his wife are buried in Pine Hill Cemetery.

The Sims home is located at the intersection of Grand Boulevard and Queen’s Lane. Queen’s Lane is said to be named for Mrs. Sims, as she was the first Queen Chasco in 1922.

These photos and some related ones are available in higher resolution here.