Zephyrhills: What’s in a name?

By , 15 January, 2010, No Comment

On November 11, 1886, a man named Simon Temple purchased 281 acres of land from Florida Railway and Navigation Corp. for a little over $1,000. He named the area Abbot after Dr. J.M. Abbot who ran a drug store at the crossroads of today’s US 301 and 5th Avenue. In 1886, Abbot became “Abbot Station” when the Seaboard Coast Line depot was built.


Capt. Howard B. Jeffries

In December 1909, a Civil War veteran captain by the name of Capt. Howard B Jeffries bought 35,000 acres at Abbot Station with his wife, Helen Jeffries, and their daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Moore. He chose Abbot Station because he wanted to create a retirement area for old union soldiers. The land was high and fertile with an abundance of water and no swamps. How Capt. Jeffries came up with the name Zephyrhills is a bit of a story.

While showing off the land to prospective residents, Capt. Jeffries happened to overhear  a conversation about the “rolling hills” and “zephyr-like breezes.” Moved by the remark, he coined a new name for the colony company: Zephyrhills. On March 10, 1910, Abbot Station changed its name to Zephyrhills. There are variations to this story; it has been said the town was initially named Jeffries Hills and evolved to Zephyrhills from there.

A 1912 newspaper article described Zephyrhills as “the healthiest place in Florida;” it incorporated as a town in 1914. Known for its citrus groves, pure water, and good people, Zephyrhills grew quickly. Capt. Jeffries home, now a historic landmark at 38537 5th Avenue, is one of the oldest residences in Zephyrhills.


Helen & Howard Jeffries

{Comments are closed}