Museum visitors

Brownies in a local girl scout troop were visitors to the museum on Jan. 25, 2018. Brian Schmit did his usual great job as tour director. The scout troop leader is Nicole Tybor. Larger pictures are here and here.

Then and now

Looking south on Grand Boulevard from Orange Lake in the 1920s and on Jan. 20, 2018. The hotel on the left opened as the Grand Rapids Inn in 1914, as the owners were from Grand Rapids, Michigan. The following year the name was changed to the Hotel Newport, as it was thought the name for the new town would be written as Newport-Richey.

Museum visitors

Members of Girl Scout Troop 582 visited the museum today (Jan. 20, 2018). In the photos also are troop leader Adrienne Brown and WPHS board member Brian Schmit, who conducted the tour.

Museum visitor

Ken Weightman was a visitor to the museum on Dec. 30, 2017. He allowed us to scan a large number of cards from his excellent collection of old New Port Richey picture post cards. He says he has been collecting them since the 1980s. The picture here shows one of two binders of cards he has. Mr. Weightman is a teacher at Gulf High School. The cards can be found here and on our Facebook page.

Pat Pfaff

A Celebration of Her Life will be held for Patricia Pfaff on Dec. 11, 2017. There will be a mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church at 11:30 a.m. followed by a reception at the Gulf Harbors Civic Center from 1 to 4 p.m.

Memorial donations can be made to Hospice of Hernando-Pasco, 6807 Rowan Rd., New Port Richey, Florida 34653.

Pat had recently joined the Board of Directors of the West Pasco Historical Society. Her daughter Donna Dukat was not able to have a service earlier because of Hurricane Irma.

Thank you, Pasco County commissioners!

The Pasco County Commission recently voted to allocate $25,000 each to the Pioneer Florida Museum in Dade City and the Rao Musunuru, M. D., Museum and Library in New Port Richey. We will be using the money to improve our museum displays for the public. In the picture, taken on Nov. 25, 2017, Commissioner Ron Oakley presents a check for $25,000 to Bob Langford, President of the WPHS, and Dr. Musunuru, a benefactor to the WPHS and honorary board member. Mr. Oakley was the commissioner who proposed the funding for the two museums.

New book tells the history of New Port Richey

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We are happy to announce the publication this week of a new book on the history of New Port Richey by one of our board members, Brian Schmit.

Mr. Schmit will speak at the museum on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 1 p.m. and the public is invited. He will talk about what he has discovered in researching the history of New Port Richey and show some pictures from the book. He will also answer questions about the history of New Port Richey.

Mr. Schmit is a recently-retired history teacher, who has taught at Gulf and Dunedin high schools and Seven Springs and Chasco middle schools. He has been a resident of New Port Richey for 13 years.

We believe the book is the best history of New Port Richey ever published. It is titled Glory Days, and concentrates on the 1920s period, but the book does cover the history of the town from its founding until today.

The book is soft-cover, 172 pages, and will sell for $14.95. Copies of the book will be available for sale at the museum on Nov. 25 and afterwards. It will also be available online soon.

We hope to see you at the museum in Sims Park on Nov. 25 for this most interesting presentation!

Eddie Herrmann (1936-2017)

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Edward J. Herrmann, a Pasco County historian and a friend of the West Pasco Historical Society who visited us numerous times, died yesterday (10/21). He was born in 1936. He grew up in San Antonio and later lived in Dade City.

He is one of the three authors of The Historic Places of Pasco County, which was published by the Pasco County Historical Preservation Committee in 1992. He also researched the history of post offices in Pasco County. Mr. Herrmann was a founder of the San Antonio Rattlesnake Festival and served as mayor of San Antonio in the 1970s.

Eddie allowed us to publish on the fivay.org web site an article he wrote on the history of San Antonio and another article he wrote about Father Felix Ullrich, pastor of Saint Anthony Church in San Antonio, who also served as the first resident pastor of Our Lady Queen of Peace Church in Port Richey.

Eddie knew of the existence of a collection of high-quality old photos of Dade City, San Antonio, and surrounding towns. Most of the photos were taken by the Dade City Chamber of Commerce in the late 1920s, although some are older. He asked Oliver and Barbara DeWitt of Dade City, who at the time were in possession of the photos, to allow us to scan the photos. They can be viewed and downloaded in high resolution here. Look for “Helen Eck Sparkman Collection,” as we named the collection for the person who originally preserved it.

Eddie discovered that the historic 1909 court house was designed by Edward Columbus Hosford, an architect who designed many courthouses and other buildings in the south. It had long been thought that the court house was designed by a local man, Artemus Roberts. (Roberts was the superintendent of construction.)

Eddie’s father, Joe Herrmann (1912-2002), came to San Antonio in 1925. He was an entrepreneur and philanthropist and an important figure in the early history of San Antonio.

The photo above shows Eddie at the Pioneer Florida Museum History Center in 2012.