CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. — A lot has changed since Citrus County was created 134 years ago -- dirt roads, scattered business.
At the time, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties were all considered Hernando County.
What You Need To Know
- Citrus County is marking its 134th anniversary
- Before breaking off, Citrus was part of Hernando County
- At time it was created, Citrus had only 2,500 residents
- Many people back then were farmers, raised cattle
In 1887, Nick Barco and Albert Willard traveled to Tallahassee to push for separation.
"There were many miles to have to travel, and the only way to get there was by horse or wagon,” Citrus County historian Kathy Turner said. “There were some in Citrus County that felt that there was a need for Citrus County to divide out.”
Mr. Valentine Rooks was born and raised in Pleasant Grove in Citrus County. He said, “We were on a farm and cattle-raising. We’d run the farm. It was 9 of us children — five boys and four girls — and when Daddy died, we had quite a few cows and they were scattered into Hernando County and Citrus.”
Memories of his childhood in Citrus County are all kept in a photo album not too far away.
“That was me right there,” he said pointing to a black and white photo.
He was just a little boy at Pleasant Grove School, where the population in the county at the time was just under 7,000 and everyone knew each other.
Rooks is now 97, and he has stories for days. He remembers having to feed the cows before walking to school every day. He told Bay News 9 he didn’t travel much to town. He spent his time farming and taking over when his father passed away.
Rooks said he and his parents also built the house where he currently still lives. He raised his children in Citrus County as well, carrying on that tradition.
The county was created with fewer than 2,500 people and by 2019, the population had grown to nearly 150,000.