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Florida Friday; Abandonment on the Brooksville Ridge

The Brooksville Ridge is a small plateau in Hernando and Pasco Counties which ranges approximately from Brooksville southeast to Dade City.  The Brooksville Ridge has several high points over 200 feet in elevation which are among the highest in peninsular Florida.  The Brooksville Ridge has various former State Road alignments and communities that have largely disappeared to time.



Ayers is located at the corner of US Route 41 and Hernando County Route 576/Ayers Road near Masaryktown.  The first reference to Ayers I could find is from a 1936 Hernando County Map where it appears as a siding of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad at the corner of US 19/41 and Ayers Road.

1936 Hernando County Road Map 

Given rail sidings have had a reduced purpose to exist since the rise of diesel locomotives suffice to say there is quite a bit of abandoned commercial/industrial structures to be found in Ayers.






Interestingly when Hernando County Route 576 original used Old Ayers Road. Comparing topographical maps on historic aerials it seems that Old Ayers Road was in use as a through route at least until 1988.





To the south at the intersection of Pasco County Routes 577 Lake Lola Road and Pasco County Route 578/St Joe Road is location of what was St. Joesph.  St. Joesph was plotted in the early 1890s and had a post office from 1893 to 1918.  According to aerial and topographical maps of the area it seems CR 578 used to traverse through St. Joseph via Old St. Joe Road until at least the mid-1950s.

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Originally FL 41 which would become Pasco County Route 41 traversed through Jessamine in addition to Blanton.  Jessamine is located at the intersection of James Road and Blanton Road on the south shore of Jessamine Lake.  According to topographical maps on historicaerials.com FL 41/CR 41 was shifted north out of Jessamine onto Blanton Road sometime between 1988 to 2012.





According to Fivay.org Jessamine was settled in 1888 and was centered around Jessamine Gardens.  The last recorded reference to the community seems to have come from the Tampa Bay Tribune in 1919.

Fivay.org on Jessamine

East of Jessamine FL 41/CR 41 would have traversed through Blanton on what is now Spring Valley Road.  The last time I see the Spring Valley Road alignment of FL 41 is on a 1962 topographical map.

Blanton unlike many of the communities I listed above still appears much like a late 19th Florida community. 



Blanton was settled on the west side Blanton Lake in 1883.  Blanton was moved to the present site in 1887 when the Orange Belt Railroad was built in the area according to fivay.org.  The last recorded reference to Blanton I could find on Fivay.org was from 1932 when a store burned down.

Fivay.org on Blanton

Both Blanton and Jessamine appear along FL 41 on the 1956 State Highway Map below.

1956 Florida State Highway Map


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