PORT RICHEY & NEW PORT RICHEY
TWIN TOWNS OF WEST PASCO
PORT RICHEY AND NEW PORT
RICHEY, West Pasco's dual coastal communities,
are best known today as booming retirement centers, but both towns had more
basic origins. PORT RICHEY was started in 1883 by Missourian Captain A.
M. Richey, who homesteaded on an island at the mouth of the Pithlachascottee River. NEW PORT RICHEY, once
Hickory Hammonds, made the name concession in 1914 when the Port Richey Company
began heavy development.
WHERE TO START: HEAD NORTH ON FL 595
from FL 518 (Trouble Creek Road),
which connects with US19 five miles south of Port Richey.
On your right after a mile you'll see the FIRST
BANK OF ELFERS (1925), a Boom
Town bank in the town
started by J. M. Mitchell, developer of the first sizing citrus machine. Just
south of High Street, on the right is OLD
SCHOOL (1922), used later by Pasco-Hernando Community
College. If you travel to 520 High Street, you'll see the
attractive OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CHURCH (1919), started by Rev.
Father Ulrich, and featuring an Italian marble Shrine of Fatima (1954) by
Wilson Cornell. The original one-story frame church is at 6710 Washington Street.
If you drive around Elfers,
you should look at: OLD EDENFIELD STORE(1932),
4049 Grand Boulevard,
a landmark of native rock and concrete; the OLD
(1914), 4136 Barker Drive,
a two-story limerock and white brick Adult Center;
and the PORTER L. PIERCE HOUSE (1913), 4121 Redleaf Drive,
a frame house with tongue and groove walls.
A worthwhile sidetrip
is to Centennial Park
at 5740 Moog Road
to see the SAMUEL BAKER HOUSE, the oldest Cracker vernacular in West Pasco
County and a unique house
with no structural frame.
Crossing the Pithlachascotee River into the commercial district of
New Port Richey, you'll note at 315
South Boulevard,) THE NEW PORT RICHEY
TOURIST CLUB. By Nebraska
Avenue is the THOMAS MEIGHAN THEATER
(1925), 203 South Blvd.,
named for a silent film star and brother of architect James Meighan
who also built the Palms Theater in 1927 on East Main. It was Meighan
who brought a group of Hollywood celebrities
to the town to vacation and invest.
Grand Boulevard is the 1920 CEMMIE BUTLER
BUILDING, a business
complex built with native rock.
Hacienda Hotel/ Elfers
Across the street is another fine Mediterranean
Revival structure, the PASCO
with an octagonal corner tower. It is a neat building with some nice shops.
Down Main Street
at 5743 is the CHASCO INN, built in 1924 and the oldest downtown
commercial structure – a building that has served as post office, hotel,
and bus station.
At 5728 Main Street is the MICHAEL MILBAUER
BUILDING (1919), the
first brick building in New Port Richey.
At 5805 is the ARCADE BUILDING
(1927), another structure that once housed the post office.
LEFT ON MAIN STREET. On your right a few blocks, TURN INTO THE ENTRANCE
WAY of the: HACIENDA HOTEL (1927), 5621 West Main Street, once a 55 room
tourist complex designed by James Meighan. Early
investors may have included Gloria Swanson, Joe E. Brown, and Mary Pickford. Ed
Wynn emceed the grand opening and for two decades it was a social center. As
the Christian Hotel in the 1940's, Rev. Billy Graham
was a waiter.
EXIT VIA BANK STREET GOING NORTH toward the PORT RICHEY MUSEUM, 6431
Circle Boulevard, once the SEVEN
and open on weekend afternoons. An old church has been added to this historical
park. The WEST PASCO HISTORICAL SOCIETY meets here. On your left
is SIMS PARK and the lake is ORANGE LAKE
surrounded by Circle Boulevard. The playground is one of the best in the
DRIVE AROUND THE LAKE to note the fine homes and the abundance of older
churches. At 217 Circle Boulevard is the FIRST BAPTIST
started in a store. At 325 Circle Boulevard is the fine COMMUNITY
Just two blocks east at 506 Jefferson at Pennsylvania Avenue
is the METHODIST
DRIVE NORTH on NORTH
BOULEVARD along the east bank of the Pithlachascotee
River, past Mediterranean
Revival homes and newer tract models. TURN RIGHT ON US19 and turn LEFT ON BAY BOULEVARD
which shirts the northern limits of MILLERS
Park Drive is WILMSLOW PARK
with a good view of the Bayou. Continue down Bay Park Drive to end your trip at RITTER
POINT on the Gulf of Mexico.
Off Sunset Boulevard is the OELSNER MOUND,
the remains of a late Weeden Island Indian mound execavated in 1879 by S. T. Walker of the Smithsonian