THE HISTORY OF ZEPHYRHILLS
The Friendly City of Pure Water
Zephyrhills is located in the scenic rolling hills, citrus groves and lake sections of Central Florida. It is the southeastern part of Pasco County about midway north and south in peninsular Florida, 40 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, 45 minutes northeast of Tampa, 35 minutes from Lakeland, 75 minutes from St. Petersburg and southwest of the famed Disney World near Orlando by 90 minutes driving time.
When Pasco County was formed in 1887, the site of Abbott forerunner of Zephyrhills was controlled by Simon J. Temple, who had purchased the land from Florida Railway and Navigation Corp. on November 11, 1886, paying $1,026.69 for 280.74 acres. Abbott, named for a Dr. Abbott who ran a drug store and practiced medicine, was laid out for Temple and the plot recorded April 18, 1888. It became a voting precinct in 1893 and Station was added to the name in 1896 when the Seaboard Coast Line depot was built to facilitate the shipping of naval stores and lumber. In the early 1900’s the land was covered with virgin pine. Old-timers recall four operational phases, each of which left its imprint on the community. Successively, the pine trees were tapped for turpentine production, and then cut for lumber, the stumps uprooted and pushed out, then the land seeded to pasture or set in citrus groves.
Captain H.B. Jeffries, a Civil War veteran from Pennsylvania, chose the Abbott Station location in December 1909, for a veteran colony because the land was high and fertile, there was an abundance of good water, and the area had no swamps, malaria or mosquitoes. While showing the countryside to prospective residents from the top of LeHeup Hill on historic Fort King Road, he overheard a chance remark about the rolling hills and Zephyr-like breezes. Impressed by the melodic combination, he coined the name Zephyrhills for this colony company which was founded January 1910.
On March 10, 1910, Abbott Station changed its name to Zephyrhills. The town was incorporated November 17, 1914, and on February 15, 1916, the charter granted by the Florida Legislature in 1915 was ratified at a meeting held in the G.A.R. Hall – which now is the American Legion Hall – by a vote of 65 for and 12 against.
The 1950's and 1960's saw an influx of tourists, winter visitors and retirees, all lured by the balmy weather, the low cost of living and the tranquil surroundings. Mobile home and RV Parks sprang up to accommodate these new residents.
In 1961, Don Robinson took advantage of the area's good-tasting water and established the Zephyrhills Water Corporation. The company started bottling the spring water and shipping it all over the state. With that, "The Friendly City" soon became well-known as "The City of Pure Water."
Zephyrhills is known for its citrus groves, poultry farms, cattle ranches, and, of course, its world-famous pure water. The Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, largest airport in Pasco County, is the home base of one of the largest parachuting centers in the United States. Each year attendance at and participation in each of the parachute meets increase, giving a considerable boost to the towns economy, and currently an effort is being made to secure the worlds parachute meet for the town.
The 1970's and 1980's brought commercial development to the area, including restaurants and shopping plazas to service the increasing population. As the population grew though the 1990's and into the Twenty-first Century developers built subdivisions and added to the diversity of residential communities.
Zephyrhills continues to thrive in many ways and looks forward to continued prosperity.
There are many civic organizations in Zephyrhills, including the Zephyrhills United Veterans Council, Boy and Girl Scout troops; a Women’s Club of Zephyrhills has 1,000 members from almost every state as well as Canada.
Children living in Zephyrhills are fortunate in having an excellent school system to attend. The Zephyrhills Municipal Government is dedicated to maintaining and improving the quality of life for its residents.
Indeed, Zephyrhills is a community its residents can be proud of.
Fox 13 answers that question and more in the segment below. Click the video to learn more: