WHAT’S IN A NAME
By Kyle LoJacono
This week will look into how Fort Broome, Gall Boulevard, Gower’s Corner and Jessamine got their names.
(1) FORT BROOME in Dade City was named for former Florida Gov. James E. Broome, who served from 1853-1857. It was built at the end of the first Seminole War to protect the only town in what is now east Pasco County. All the settlers had to live in the fort when the second Seminole War began.
This fort was located on the south line of the farm of W. C. Brown about halfway between Wire and Richland roads, about two miles south of present Dade City. Close observers can see where the wood cabins from the first settlers stood by the discoloration of the soil under the oak trees now growing there. Those who lived around the fort were said to have called the area Fort Broome.
(2) GALL BOULEVARD is what US 301 is called through Zephyrhills. It is named for Walter R. Gall, who was able to influence the state to run the highway through the east Pasco County city. Gall’s son Owen, was a prominent resident of Zephyrhills who died in 2008 at age 96.
(3) GOWER’S CORNER is named after W. A. Gower, who once owned all four corners of the intersection of US 41 and SR 52 in the mid-1920s. Grower had been superintendent at the Aripeka Sawmills at Fivay in west Pasco County until the timber ran out and the mills closed. Gower bought 80 acres of the then-bare land for himself, including corners of the intersection.
Gower also owned a portable sawmill that he moved from place to place, removing whatever timber was still left and marketable. He built a grocery store on the southeast corner of the intersection, which he eventually turned over to his son Ralph. The store later became a filling station run by Joseph Chapman, but was demolished in the summer of 1984. Today a shopping area known as Chapman Square stands in its place.
(4) JESSAMINE is located in Dade City and includes the area around Jessamine Road between Blanton, Lake Lola and St. Joe roads, including Jessamine Lake. In 1887, businessmen Walter Pike and William Ellsworth moved to Pasco County and were intent on starting a seed and plant business. They moved into an old cabin on the edge of what is now Jessamine Lake, about five miles southwest of Trilby.
The two began clearing the woodland and became so impressed with the pleasant smell of a certain wild flowering vine that they named their company Jessamine Gardens and their community Jessamine. They later started growing citrus under the name Jessamine Groves.
For additional information on these areas and how they got their names, visit www.fivay.org.
*The Laker and the Lutz News series on how historic places were named will continue throughout the summer. Information is provided by interviews with Pasco County historian Jeff Miller of Fivay.org and the West Pasco Historical Society. See how Lake Jovita and Land O’ Lakes got their names next week.