Saturday, April 21, 2012

South Brooksville Historic District: Part I

The Internet is a scary place, and smart people know not to share all of their personal details on it. I'm not that smart, so I'm going to tell you all about the historic street I grew up on. I mean, if you really wanted to, I'm sure you could find out about it on Google Maps. Or trace it down somehow by looking at my "Hometown" listed on Facebook. Besides, I don't live on that street anymore and, even if I did, what are you going to do about it? Send me fan mail about how awesome I am?

So here's a post that I have been itching to share with you. It's all about the brick street in Brooksville, FL that I used to call home (and still do in a different sort of way). It's home to the oldest house in Brooksville, the tallest water tower in Brooksville, and possibly the most cats in Brooksville. Why wouldn't I want to share this with you?

South Brooksville Avenue is a funny little road covered by old oak trees.

The oak trees have always been one of my favorite features of this road. They are old and stubborn and nothing gets in their way. Their roots are lifting parts of the brick street. Their branches are covering everything in Spanish moss. One year my brother built a tree fort in one of them. That tree fort is long gone, but the oak tree doesn't look a day older. What is their secret?

The houses and buildings of South Brooksville Avenue seem to be the biggest at the beginning of the road, and then when you get down to where I grew up, they shrink in size by at least a half. This first installment of the South Brooksville Historic District will only focus on the large homes. That means I won't get to talk about the house I grew up in or the oldest house in Brooksville. So come back for that!

The Large Homes of South Brooksville Avenue
I will only talk about some of the big homes on this street because there are a few that mean nothing to me. They are still beautiful, but I don't really know what to say about them. If you're interested in viewing all of them, then go play around on Google Maps. This is just a simple version as seen through my lenses.

Claflin House - Bed and Breakfast (1910)

Last I heard, no one is living in this house right now. I still call it the Claflin House because that's how I knew it growing up. It was built in 1910 and served as a Bed and Breakfast ever since I can remember. Couples used to sit on the balcony and occasionally I'd see a young couple leave the Bed and Breakfast in a horse-drawn carriage. I hope that someone gives this house some company soon because it used to have so much love.

My Home Away From Home (1925)

I spent almost every day of my childhood in this house. It was the house that all of the neighborhood kids wanted to stay at. They had pool parties, tasty snacks, a trampoline, and a balance beam in the backyard! But for all of the fun we had, there was also some pretty grave things happening inside. My friends' parents said that a ghost named Helen lived on the second floor and would rub your head while you slept. I'm older and wiser now. I've done my research and no one by the name of Helen has ever lived in that house. I'm pretty sure they told me that so I would go to my own house to sleep.

Lonely Craftsman Bungalow (1925)

I have always been in love with this craftsman style house with the large wrap-around porch. An older couple used to live here and occasionally I'd hang out with their grandchildren. Every time I passed their home, the man and the woman would be sitting on the front porch in those old rocking chairs. One day the man passed away, and since then I never saw the woman sit on the porch again. They really loved each other and it was always so sad to see how dark the house was once he left.

Death Dream House (1901)

You must be dying to know why this house is called the Death Dream house. Well, strange story actually. A young boy fought in the Vietnam War and returned to this house after a traumatic experience. The town could tell he was different - maybe it was PTSD? No. No, that's not it. The poor boy was now a .... zombie! ZOMG!

Okay, I'm not telling you the whole truth. This house was actually just used to film a 70s horror film called Death Dream. The entire movie takes place in Brooksville, FL and has some of the locals acting in it. My dad is the ambulance driver with the huge afro. It's so cool to think I grew up next to this house, even if the film isn't widely known.

The House Every Small Child Was Scared Of (1925)

Sure, she looks pretty now. But you should have seen this house when I was growing up. It was uninhabited for close to 20 years (or so we think) and it was the house everyone avoided. I had to pass it to walk to my friend's house up the street. I sprinted for my life when I got to that house, even when I was on the other side of the road. The house was a dull gray and the yard was overgrown. One of my friends was brave enough to knock on the door one night. He immediately ran away after he knocked and he swore he heard a door slam.  I'm pretty sure the only thing that lived there were bugs and dust bunnies, but we were convinced that Boo Radley's spirit was floating up and down that tower of terror. 

I'm eternally grateful for my mom's irrational decision to move into the old house on Old Brooksville Avenue. People thought they were crazy to live in an old home in a small town with few amenities at the time. But without that snap decision, I wouldn't have all the fond memories of the families and houses of South Brooksville Avenue. I wouldn't appreciate creaky wooden floors and wavy windows. I probably wouldn't have Salvaged Spaces, either.

I hope you've enjoyed these homes as much as I have; I can't wait to share the smaller ones!