Homosassa: Lost In Time
by Mike Miller
Homosassa Florida Lost In Time
Weeki Wachee is a fun place to visit. After you have enjoyed this classic attraction, you might run up US-19 to Homosassa and take a look at the real Old Florida.
There are not many places left in sunny Florida that can give you a glimpse of the past. Many old timers down here mark the beginning of modern Florida by two historic events.
The first big happening was the establishment of mosquito control districts in some Florida counties during World War Two. Before the war, mosquitoes were so bad that cattle were known to suffocate from the little stinging beasts clogging up their noses and throats.
The influx of soldiers, sailors and airmen into the State to the numerous training bases made mosquito control necessary to control diseases like malaria and encephalitis.
Mosquito breeding areas near the military bases and adjacent towns were routinely sprayed by trucks and airplanes, and diked impoundments were created in the swamps and mangroves to breed fish that loved to have mosquito larvae for dinner.
The second big event happened in 1964 or thereabouts, and most people don't know about it. This was about the time FHA (Federal Housing Administration) decided central air conditioning could be included in home mortgages.
Before then, only the house could be mortgaged because the government feared that air conditioning would not last the term of the mortgage. Once people could finance their air conditioning, things really began to boom down here.
In the old days before mosquitoes got under control and cool air was available in new houses, Florida Crackers used to say "Thank God for mosquitoes and the miserable summer heat down here. If it weren't for those two things, everybody would live down here."
Well, not everybody lives down here in this kingdom south of Georgia, but lots of folks do. One place that not too many people have discovered is Homosassa . This little town nestles on the banks of the Homosassa River about an hour north of St. Pete and Clearwater just off U.S. Highway 19.
Fishing is the big thing up here, and manatee watching. Homosassa is home to several state parks including Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, where you can see West Indian manatees from the park's underwater observatory.
The Yulee Sugar Mill State Park is the site of an old 5,100 acre sugar mill, which was used to supply troops during the Civil War. The park is named after Florida's first Jewish U.S. Senator, David Levy Yulee.
The picture above is of an old Florida house on the north bank of the river. Homosassa is a good place to spend a weekend or a lot longer.