Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto visited Citrus County around 1539, as part of a long trek through Florida. Hernando County, named in honor of DeSoto, was established On February 27, 1843.
Many people who relocate to the Villages of Citrus Hills are pleased to find that Citrus County is rich with history that has been well preserved.
Even if you are new to the area, there are plenty of great organizations like the Citrus County Historical Society that are happy to guide you through your own exploration of the area’s past.
While just about anyone can appreciate the history of Citrus County on a basic level, history buffs will be delighted by the Citrus County Historical Society. Their dedication to preserving this history as completely as possible has created something truly special in our community.
About the Citrus County Historical Society
The Citrus County Historical Society was started in 1963, and was then incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1979. Their stated goal is to “preserve and further the knowledge of the history and pre-history of Citrus County and nearby areas.”
In 1985, the organization set up shop in The Old 1912 Courthouse located in downtown Inverness. They could not have picked a more appropriate building. There are few, if any, that have as much historical significance as the Old Courthouse.
Today, this building houses the Historical Society’s museum, operates their educational programs, houses the documents that the Historical Society has collected in their archives, and even hosts events and receptions.
Old Courthouse Museum Exhibits
The first exhibit located in the museum is The Brannen Family Gallery of Pre-History. This exhibit contains a large collection of artifacts from the period of time before Citrus County was settled. There are items that were once held by Suwannee and Chattahoochee Indians, as well as Spanish explorers. Some of these items date back as far as 10,000 years.
The second exhibit located in the museum details the history of Citrus County since it was established in 1887. One of the most popular items on display here is the original clock face from the clock tower where women would stand watch looking for enemy planes during World War II.
The Old Courthouse Museum also features a number of traveling exhibits that celebrate various aspects of Florida history.
In addition to running the Old Courthouse Museum, the Citrus County Historical Society also holds many different educational programs. One of the most popular programs is their Coffee and Conversation Speakers Series where they bring in local experts to talk about places of historical significance.
The organization also provides teaching materials for local teachers and hosts school groups.
Citrus County Archives
Also located in the Old Courthouse and maintained by the Citrus County Historical Society are the county’s archives. Here you will find physical documents of various historical significance including county public records, local business records, family papers, and old newspapers.
If you are looking for old documents in Citrus County, this is where you are going to find them.
Beyond the Courthouse
If their work at the Old Courthouse in Inverness was all that the Citrus County Historical Society was responsible for, that alone would be impressive. However, there is quite a bit more to their involvement in the local community.
They also work to operate the Floral City Heritage Hall & Museum, the Coastal Heritage Museum, and the Hernando Heritage Museum.
Between the four museums, dozens of exhibits, and thousands of artifacts and documents, the work of the Citrus County Historical Society is never really finished. There is always something that needs more attention.
If you have recently moved to the Villages of Citrus Hills, the Citrus County Historical Society has created some wonderful attractions for you to visit in order to learn more about our beautiful part of Florida.
And, if you are looking for a fun and rewarding way to spend your free time in Citrus County, the Historical Society is always looking for additional help!