HistoryAround 1840, Fort DeSoto was established in present-day Hernando County in the northeast edge of present-day Brooksville to protect settlers in the area from Native Americans. Fort DeSoto became a small community center, trading post, and way station on the route to . Settlements started to grow near the fort beginning around 1845; two towns developed, Melendez and Pierceville, which would later merge to create Brooksville in 1856. Then encompassing a significantly larger area of west central Florida than it does today, Hernando County was officially established on February 27, 1843, two years prior to Florida's admission into the Union. It was created from portions of Alachua, Hillsborough and Orange Counties and included all of present-day Citrus and Pasco Counties. Named for Spanish , whose name has also been honored in DeSoto County, Hernando County was briefly renamed Benton County in 1844 for , a strong supporter of territorial expansion who aided in the county's creation. However, Benton fell out of favor with the county's residents later in the decade due to his decision to support the and the overall reversal of his stance on slavery, and the county's name reverted in 1850. In December 1854, the legislature designated the small port town of Bayport the county seat. Residents living in the eastern section of the county instead desired a more central place for the county government, and by 1855, voters had selected an inland site within five miles (8 km) of the center of the county at the town of Melendez. In 1856, the citizens of Hernando County chose to rename the town, their new County Seat, Brooksville in honor of Preston Brooks, South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks, who in the same year beat fierce abolitionist Charles Sumner, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with a cane in the Senate chambers, winning the Congressman great renown in the South. In 1855, town founder Joseph Hale donated land for a county courthouse in the center of present-day Brooksville. Soon thereafter, the structure was completed. During the American Civil War, Civil War, Hernando County primarily contributed foodstuffs, cotton, and lumber to the Confederacy. Although Union ships imposed a blockade on the port of Bayport, runners enjoyed a great deal of success—enough to lead the Union in June 1864 to order some 150–250 troops to destroy Confederate stockpiles in the county. In early July, the expedition marched northward from Anclote River to Brooksville, meeting some resistance from assembled Confederate troops hastily organized to protect the city. The Federal troops won this engagement (known locally as the Brooksville Raid and marched to Bayport, where they and an auxiliary force landing from gunboats sacked Rebel operations. The skirmish between Union raiders and local Confederates is reenacted annually in the county. The county courthouse was destroyed by a fire on September 29, 1877. On June 2, 1887, the Florida state legislature, Florida State Legislature divided Hernando County into three independent counties: Pasco County, Florida, Pasco County to the south, Citrus County, Florida, Citrus County to the north, and Hernando County in the middle. Since then, Hernando County's borders have remained unchanged.
GeographyAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of , of which is land and (19.8%) is water. According to the World Atlas USA, Hernando County is the geographic center of Florida. Elevation in the county ranges from mean sea level along the Gulf coast to its highest natural point of 269 feet at Chinsegut Hill (Florida), Chinsegut Hill.
Adjacent counties* Citrus County, Florida - north * Sumter County, Florida - east * Pasco County, Florida - south
National protected area* Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge
State protected areasWeeki Wachee Springs Withlacoochee State Forest
Other points of interest
DemographicsAs of the census of 2000, there were 130,802 people, 55,425 households, and 40,016 families residing in the county. The population density was 106/sq mi (274/km2). There were 62,727 housing units at an average density of 51/sq mi (131/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.85% Race (United States Census), White, 4.07% Race (United States Census), Black or Race (United States Census), African American, 0.30% Race (United States Census), Native American, 0.64% Race (United States Census), Asian, 0.02% Race (United States Census), Pacific Islander, 0.98% from Race (United States Census), other races, and 1.13% from two or more races. 5.04% of the population was Race (United States Census), Hispanic or Race (United States Census), Latino of any race. 91.1% spoke English language, English, 4.5% Spanish language, Spanish, 1.1% German language, German and 1.1% Italian language, Italian as their first language. There were 55,425 households, which 21.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.40% were Marriage, married couples living together, 8.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.80% were non-families. 23.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.70. In the county 18.90% of the population was under the age of 18, 5.40% was between the ages of 18 to 24, 20.40% between 25 to 44, 24.40% between 45 and 64, and 30.90% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females there were 90.50 males. For every 100 females, age 18 and over, there were 87.50 males. The median income for a household in the county was $32,572, and the median income for a family was $37,509. Males had a median income of $30,295 versus $21,661 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,321. About 7.10% of families and 10.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.90% of those under age 18 and 6.20% of those ages 65 or over.
EconomyHernando County is home to the largest (truck-to-truck) Wal-Mart Distribution Center in the U.S. approximately in size and located in Ridge Manor. The industrial par
Top employersThe top employers of Hernando County are as follows:
Airports* Brooksville–Tampa Bay Regional Airport, Brooksville–Tampa Bay Regional Airport (ICAO: KBKV, FAA LID: BKV) serves southeastern Spring Hill, northern Masaryktown, and Garden Grove.
Mass transitTHE Bus (Hernando County, Florida), Hernando THE Bus provides bus service in Brooksville and Spring Hill.
RailroadsCSX Transportation, CSX operates two rail lines within the county. Amtrak formerly provided passenger rail service along the old Atlantic Coast Line Railroad line east of U.S. Route 301 in Florida, US 301 in Ridge Manor, but had no stops in the county, and the service was terminated in late 2004. The other line is the Tampa Northern Railroad, Brooksville Subdivision, which runs close to U.S. Route 41 in Florida, US 41, and was previously owned by the Seaboard Air Line. Notable abandoned railroad lines include a former branch of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad spanning from southeast of Ridge Manor, Florida, Ridge Manor through Istachatta, Florida, Istachatta that became part of the Withlacoochee State Trail, and a spur of this line from Croom west into Brooksville, part of which is being replaced by a new rail trail called the Good Neighbor Trail. Though originally the Good Neighbor Trail only existed within Brooksville itself, the extension to the Withlacoohee State Trail has existed since 2018.
Major highways* U.S. Route 19 in Florida, US 19 (''Commercial Way'') is a major commercial highway running parallel to the Gulf of Mexico on the western edge of the county, and used as a primary connecting route to cities on the west coast of Florida, including Hudson, Florida, Hudson, New Port Richey, Florida, New Port Richey, Tarpon Springs, Florida, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, and , as well as Homosassa, Florida, Homosassa and Crystal River, Florida, Crystal River to the north. * U.S. Route 41 in Florida, US 41 (''Broad Street'') runs parallel to US 19 through points in the center of the county, including downtown Brooksville, where it intersects with SR 50 and US 98. It is still a primary connecting route with Tampa. Between Brooksville and Garden Grove, Florida, Garden Grove, US 41 is a six-lane highway, and between Garden Grove and Masaryktown, Florida, Masaryktown it is a four-lane highway. To the northeast, US 41 runs through part of the Withlacoochee State Forest. Plans are currently under way to widen US 41 throughout Hernando County. * U.S. Route 98 in Florida, US 98 (''Ponce de Leon Boulevard'') runs diagonally across the county from the northwest to the southeast, where it exits into Pasco County, and runs concurrent with SR 50 in the eastern part of the county, intersects I-75 in Ridge Manor West and meets the Suncoast Parkway at the parkway's current end near World Woods Golf Course north of Brooksville. * U.S. Route 301 in Florida, US 301 (''Treiman Boulevard'') is a north–south highway that crosses into the county briefly at its tapered eastern end, running parallel to I-75, and intersecting with SR 50 at Ridge Manor, Florida, Ridge Manor. * Interstate 75 in Florida, Interstate 75 runs north and south across the eastern part of the county, with one exit (Exit 301) at its intersection with US 98/SR 50. Once a major connecting point with Tampa, I-75 has been made obsolete for western residents of the county by the Suncoast Parkway. * Suncoast Parkway (''State Road 589 (Florida), SR 589'') enters the county in the south slightly to the west of US 41, and ends in the far northern part of the county at US 98. (N.B. the Suncoast Parkway is considered incomplete; there are plans for it to extend through northern Hernando County and through adjacent Citrus County and head into Crystal River.) The Suncoast Parkway is a toll road that connects Hernando County with Hillsborough County, Florida, Hillsborough County, where it becomes the Veterans Expressway and heads directly into Tampa International Airport before reaching Interstate 275 (Florida), Interstate 275. SR 589 has four Hernando County exits: State Road 578 (Florida), County Line Road (Exit 37), Hernando County, Florida Road 574, Spring Hill Drive (Exit 41), State Road 50 (Florida), SR 50 (Exit 46), and U.S. Route 98 in Florida, US 98 (Future Exit 54). * State Road 50 (Florida), SR 50 (''Cortez Boulevard'') begins at US 19 in Weeki Wachee, Florida, Weeki Wachee, runs through Brooksville, and exits into Sumter County, Florida, Sumter County at the eastern tip of the county. Along the way, it interchanges with the Suncoast Parkway, intersects with US 41 in Brooksville, runs concurrently with US 98, and intersects with I-75 in Ridge Manor West(Hernando County's only interchange with I-75) and US 301 in Ridge Manor, Florida, Ridge Manor. A significant, well-developed highway in the county, SR 50 originally extended from US 19 to the Gulf Coast at Bayport. This section was given back to the county and is currently Hernando County, Florida Road 550, CR 550. Currently, S.R. 50 is used as a beeline route from the county to Orlando, Florida, Orlando in the east. *
PoliticsHernando County has been trending towards the Republican party in the 21st century.
Board of County CommissionersHernando County's chief legislative body is the Board of County Commissioners. The county is divided into five Districts, each with their own commissioner. Commissioners are elected by the voters at large, to four-year terms. Specific duties of the county Commissioners are outlined i
= District 1=
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= Clerk of Court and Comptroller=
= Supervisor Of Elections=
= Property Appraiser=
Fire Departments* Brooksville Fire Department * Hernando County Fire Rescue https://www.hernandocounty.us/departments/departments-f-m/fire-rescue-1652 * Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department (De-Commissioned 2/15/17) The Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department was decommissioned on 2/15/17 and taken over by the Hernando County Fire Department.
Law Enforcement Agencies* (Defunct) Brooksville Police Department (Disbanded 6/1/18) * Hernando County Sheriff's Office * Florida Department of Law Enforcement * Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, FWC Division of Law Enforcement (State Game Wardens) * Florida Highway Patrol
Hospitals* Brooksville Regional Hospital * HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Spring Hill * Oak Hill Hospital * Spring Hill Regional Hospital * Springbrook Hospital
LibraryHernando County Public Library is located in Hernando County, Florida, which is about an hour north of Tampa. This is a public library system with one central library located in Brooksville and four other branches in Brooksville and Spring Hill. There are no bookmobiles associated with this library system. As of 2013, the staff totaled 42 people, including 11 librarians and 31 other staff members, only ten of which were full-time employees. The Florida Library Association chose the Hernando system as its 2013 Library of the Year. This library system serves a legal population of 136,484 people. The annual number of library visits is 480,706. There are 49 Internet terminals for use by the general public. The annual service hours for all service outlets is 12,215. For more information, please visit Hernando County Library System For Hernando County Public Library website please click here
Census-designated places* Aripeka, Florida, Aripeka * Bayport * Brookridge, Florida, Brookridge * Garden Grove, Florida, Garden Grove * Hernando Beach, Florida, Hernando Beach * High Point, Hernando County, Florida, High Point * Hill 'n Dale, Florida, Hill 'n Dale * Istachatta, Florida, Istachatta * Lake Lindsey, Florida, Lake Lindsey * Masaryktown, Florida, Masaryktown * Nobleton, Florida, Nobleton * North Brooksville, Florida, North Brooksville * North Weeki Wachee, Florida, North Weeki Wachee * Pine Island, Hernando County, Florida, Pine Island * Ridge Manor, Florida, Ridge Manor * South Brooksville, Florida, South Brooksville * Spring Hill * Spring Lake, Florida, Spring Lake * Timber Pines, Florida, Timber Pines * Weeki Wachee Gardens, Florida, Weeki Wachee Gardens * Wiscon, Florida, Wiscon
Other unincorporated communities* Rolling Acres, Florida, Rolling Acres * Royal Highlands, Florida, Royal Highlands
See also* National Register of Historic Places listings in Hernando County, Florida