PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — A once lost Native American town has been found.
- Official historical marker for Chipco unveiled in east Pasco
- Area professors spent years on research
- More Pasco County headlines
Two local scholars were able to find the site of an old town called Chipco in Pasco County.
On Saturday, an official historical marker for Chipco was unveiled on Jessamine Road in east Pasco.
The unveiling marks years of work for Drs. Eric and Karen Hannel.
"When we moved here, we were told there was an Indian village nearby. And that peaked our interest because we are Native American scholars," Eric Hannel said.
The two are professors at nearby St. Leo University. They worked with the state of Florida, as well as the Seminole Tribe, to officially recognize the historic town of Chipco.
"We want to remember not only the town but we also want to remember that the Seminoles were here," Hannel said.
They say the town was thriving in the late 1800s. It was named for Seminole Chief Chipco who was prominent in the area.
The two researchers found old post office records, maps and even some remnants of an old mill to pinpoint where the city was.
They say Chipco was considered to be a more bustling city than even Tampa was at that point, partly because of the railroad that went through the area.
So what happened to the town?
One factor was bad a citrus freeze in the 1890s, which forced a lot of folks to move away. The railroad also moved.
"By 1909, town is off the map. But even before then, people are moving away because everything is destroyed," Hannel said.
Now, it will be forever remembered by a marker on Jessamine Road, between and Blanton and St. Joe.
"A lot was lost," Karen Hannel said. "But we want to put that memory out there."