Local History

The Weeki Wachee Spring in its original, natural state.
Following the Native American presence, Bayport and Brooksville became the main settlements during the 1850’s. The Confederate forces controlled both Bayport and Brooksville. During the Civil War, the Union forces landed at Bayport and launched an attack on Brooksville (one area on the Weeki Wachee River is called Military Landing, where they may have landed on their way to Brooksville). Bayport was later abandoned and now serves as a county park. The event is celebrated as the annual ‘Brooksville Raid Festival‘.

Only in the 1940’s, with a population of a few thousand people, the development of Hernando County got on a fast track. Newton Perry chose Weeki Wachee as his new business location. The US-19 was still the only improved two-lane road. No services were around. He cleaned out and improved the spring and a theater was built that could hold 18 viewers. By the 1950’s, the spring was one of the nation’s most popular tourist stops.

early weeki wache springearly weeki wache spring

In 1959 the American Broadcasting Co. (ABC) acquired the spring, renovated and expanded the theater to what we have today and improved the performances. In 1982 Buccaneer Bay was added with its water slides and sandy beach. Finally in 2008 the spring and park were reborn as the latest Florida State Park.

Hernando County Timeline
  • Hernando de Soto
    Hernando de Soto
    1539 – Hernando de Soto’s expedition lands in Tampa Bay. His name was used for two Florida Counties.
  • 1767 – Indians establish a settlement called Chukochatty (near the present city of Brooksville).
  • 1834 – Hillsborough County is established.
  • 1836 – Construction begins on Fort Dade, near present day Lacoochee.
  • 1838 – Fort Cross is established north of Brooksville.
  • 1840 – New Hope Methodist Church north of Istachatta is built.
  • 1843 – Hernando County is created from parts of Alachua, Hillsborough and Mosquito counties.
  • 1845 – A post office is established at Augusta. near Lake Lindsey.
  • 1850 – The population of Hernando county is 604 whites and 322 black slaves.
  • 1850 – Frederick Eugene Lykes builds the first school in Hernando County.
  • bayport map

  • 1852 – Bay Port is settled.
  • 1856 – A map shows Homosassa, Springhill, Ft. Cooper, Ft. Lindsey, Bayport, and Ft. Dade.
  • 1860 – The population of Hernando county is 1200.
  • 1870 – The population of Hernando county is 2938.
  • 1874 – The name Brooksville appears on a map.
  • 1880 – The population of Hernando county is 4248.
  • 1947 – The first show at the Weeki Wachee Springs underwater theater.
  • 1959 – The spring was purchased by the American Broadcasting Co. (ABC).
  • 1960 – The population of Hernando county is 11.000.
  • 1982 – Buccaneer Bay opened with water slides and a white sand beach.
  • 1990 – The population of Hernando county is 100.000.
  • 2008 – Weeki Wachee Springs became one of Florida’s newest state parks.


Did You Know?


The Seminole Indians named the spring ‘Weeki Wachee’, which means ‘little spring’ or ‘winding river’.

Enjoy the hidden gems Weeki Wachee has to offer.