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Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Historical Zephyrhills schoolhouse faces demolition

ZEPHYRHILLS — A building that dates back to at least the early 1900s and was once used as a schoolhouse when Zephyrhills was known as Abbott Station will be torn down soon after years of neglect.

The building at 5050 16th St. is featured as the Brashear-Parker Home in the book “Historic Places of Pasco County” by James J. Hogan, Alice F. Hall and Edward J. Hermann. The book was published by the Pasco County Historical Preservation Committee in 1996.

According to the book, the house is a board-and-batten building that “once housed the school house of Abbott Station, which became the city of Zephyrhills in 1910.”

The building has been purchased by Aaron Zook of Leola, Pa., for $8,000. He has cleared the property that was for years covered with trees that obscured the home.

Zook said he was told by neighbors that they frequently could hear a radio playing at the home although it did not appear anyone lived there.

Zook said he purchased the home in a bankruptcy and has purchased 25 properties “across the nation,” that way.

He said he is a seasonal resident who plans to build a home on the property and use it during the winter. In Pennsylvania, he owns an auto collision shop.

Some questions remain about the historic significance of the home.

The book says the home was built near the end of the 19th century.

But the Pasco County Property Appraisers Office lists it as being built in 1920. Also, an earlier photograph of the home shows the front door in a different location.

Zook does confirm, however, that when the wall of the home came down, he found it to be a board-and-batten wall. Board-and-batten homes have narrow strips of wood or battens placed over the joints of rough board walls.

According to the Pasco County history website fivay.org, this is the school building named “The Abbott School” that is listed in school board minutes of Aug. 7, 1893. The website includes an anecdote from 1910 Zephyrhills: “An early settler in Zephyrhills recalled that when he arrived in February 1910 there was no room at the lodging house so he was told he could sleep in the ‘school house in the woods’ which he described as ‘rather an ancient building and uninviting lodging place.’”

He recalled it was located on what is now Ninth Street between Third and Fourth avenues.

If it is the same building, it would have been moved to its current location.

The website also notes that an article about Zephyrhills in the Tampa Daily Times of Jan. 6, 1912 reports, “The most important thing of our beautiful little city is our school house. A little more than a year ago there was a small one-room school building located on the hill south of Fifth Avenue, where school was held.”

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