Zephyrhills 100th Anniversary: The naming of the streets

By Gregg, 18 February, 2010, No Comment

We thoroughly enjoy writing the Countdown column. As each week’s deadline approaches, we confer about a topic.  Believe it or not, we have so much to say! Well, knowing both of us, we’re sure you already know that! Truly, we are grateful for the many suggestions for interviews and topics…please keep them coming.   Our goal is to provide an array of historical information. With that said, we have been toying with a column about local street names for awhile. Through the alumni website, Clereen has surveyed and generated an initial list.

This week we offer an introduction to street names and their origins in Zephyrhills. In the earliest days of town-development, streets tended to be named for landmarks: churches, hills, lakes and other topographical features. As the identity developed and in response to military feats/heroism, names of brave men/women and leaders were popular names.  Later city officials began numbering the streets and a subsequent trend was the use of nature in street naming; hence streets with the names of trees and flowers.  ‘Street’ was displaced with ‘avenue because of new connecting roads from population expansion. Boulevard, park and terrace were reflective of architecture trends as well. After World War I, with automobiles on the scene, ‘drive’ was used in place of street as well. With the implementation of a system for emergency services (911), Pasco County eliminated duplicate road names/addresses in the county.

Bunt and Mary Lou Massey with their dog Jack - several folks read the article last week and wanted to see what the Massey's looked like today.

Bunt and Mary Lou Massey with their dog Jack - several folks read the article last week and wanted to see what the Massey's looked like today.

You ask ‘what is your point?’ Well, as you journey about our fine town and community, you may wonder about the various street names. For our student readers (since we are addressing school history), you may wonder who the person behind the name might be? Rosemary Trottman and other historians including the compilers of the recent A to Z book have given us some insights. A visit to the Depot Museum will answer some of your questions as well.

Consider  a few  Zephyrhills street names?

ALLEN ROAD

ALSTON AVENUE

BAILEY HILL ROAD

BOHANNON ROAD

BOYETTE ROAD

CASS ROAD

CHANCEY ROAD

CHARLES AVENUE

CHENKIN ROAD

COATS ROAD

DAUGHTERY ROAD

DEAN DAIRY ROAD

EILAND BOULEVARD

FORBES ROAD

GALL BOULEVARD (HWY. 301)

GEIGER ROAD

HILL DRIVE

JENDRAL AVENUE

JUDEE DRIVE

KIRKLAND DRIVE

KRUSEN FIELD ROAD

LANE ROAD

LANI DRIVE

LANIER ROAD

MASSEY ROAD

MORRIS BRIDGE ROAD

MURPHY ROAD

OTIS ALLEN ROAD

PATE ROAD

PAUL BUCHMAN HWY. (HWY. 39)

RYALS ROAD

SEABERG ROAD

SHAW DRIVE

SIMONS ROAD

STEBBINS AVENUE

TUCKER ROAD

URBAN ROAD

WILSON DRIVE

WIRE ROAD

We offer just a few samples for you of the origin of a sampling of our Zephyrhills street names. We are open for additions, corrections or further insights into our conclusions. We found that the names sometimes come from obvious connections and can also be the product of legend or perhaps in other cases, are not known.

Wire Road Legend has it that Wire Road got its name in early Abbott because of the telegraph lines (which were quite tall) that extended a great length of the path.

Gall Boulevard was undoubtedly named for Walter Gall.  Walter Gall bought 30,000 acres for $3.00 per acre and lumbered and then resold it (area including what is now Saddlebrook.) Gall was also instrumental in the building of Highway 301 in 1936 as a major thoroughfare right through town from his position on the State Road Department. In addition he was personnel director for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression and recruited thousands of men back to work.

Dean Dairy Road was named for ‘Dean’s Lakeside Dairy.’ Carolyn Dean of the family told us that the dairy encompassed part of what is now Betmar, Oaks Royal and Sunnyside Mobile Home Parks. ‘Lake’ was in the original road name because there were three lakes which filtered into Zephyr Lake (which have since been covered over). Carolyn shared that a wooden bridge on Dean Dairy Lake Road offered the greatest fishing around. She still reminisces about getting a dipper of the fresh milk from the dairy milk tank—“the best, coldest, sweetest milk ever!”

Lane Road was named for Clarence Lane.  Last week in our interview with Bunt Massey, he shared that he may have been known to partake from one of the infamous stills in that general area.

Coats Road was named for Ernie and Della Coats

Seaberg Road was given its moniker from Roy Seaberg, a prominent grove owner.

Could Chancey Road have its origins from the Chauncey family? Does anyone know? Chancey family members were early settlers to the area and often transported visitors by oxen cart to view the 5-acre tracts of land plotted out by the Colony Company. In 1910, the five acre plots sold for $50 which included a lot in town and stock in the company. The Chancey brothers, John, Abe, Jeff and Luke, were known for their well-trained oxen teams that performed many other tasks in the early town including supplying telephone poles for the growing Tampa Electric Company and delivering cordwood to the racks of the railroad depot for the locomotives.

Chancey family - early days in a wagon pulled by oxen

Chancey family - early days in a wagon pulled by oxen

Geiger Road undoubtedly comes from the Geiger family. Rosemary Trottman states in her book that John Geiger was the founder of the Geiger family in Zephyrhills. The inaugural city postmaster was James Geiger, known around town as ‘Uncle Jim’ who was also an owner of a general store and city councilman. Mr. and Mrs. Abram Elias Geiger homesteaded 160 acres west of Zephyrhills. Geiger Cemetery was on part of what was this original Geiger property.

Chenkins Road got its name from Herman and Rose Chenkins who established Chenkins Packing  for dried fruits (later known as Natural Foods Company, Inc.) in 1924 and operated it until 1966 in Zephyrhills.

Eiland Boulevard is named for William Eiland who was the police chief in Zephyrhills from 1961-1996.

Stebbins Avenue is named for a Zephyrhills Colony Land company realtor, A.E Stebbins whose son, Jesse Stebbins was also known as the first pastor of the colony’s first church, Bible Gospel Chapel, built in 1910 and the oldest church building constructed of hand-crafted block.

Whew, the list goes on and on! We invite you to tell us the stories about the creation of the various names.  We promise to give you periodic updates on the alumni website and the Countdown column about our findings. We envision that from the various origins and stories (perhaps even folklore), we will learn more about our own history which can be commemorated on the 100th anniversary…coming soon!

Countdown to Centennial

Countdown to Centennial
By Madonna Jervis Wise and Clereen Morrill Brunty of the 100th Anniversary Committee, ZHS. Article originally appeared in the Zephyrhills News on September 24, 2009.

All rights reserved. Photos © Madonna Jervis Wise

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