Historic Hernando Preservation Society

Preserving Hernando County's PAST

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Centralia Historic Marker Project

The Historic Hernando Preservation Society is undertaking a project to place a historic marker at the site of the historic Logging and Sawmill town of Centralia. Your support is appreciated!

 

See details on this project and more at: http://historichernandopreservationsociety.org/markers

Member Highlight: Deborah Charlow

By Mary J. Moses

When one meets Deborah, one becomes aware that Deborah, “Debbie”, is a woman who is beautiful, confident and educated. She was born in Bayonne New Jersey, but raised in Point Pleasant on the Jersey Shore. She grew up as a child who loved the arts, and by age eleven already began forming her foundation in that area. As a small child, Debbie loved to dress up, and was already displaying her artistic abilities. Later, she acquired a degree in Speech and Drama with a focus on design.

Debbie has two sons and one daughter. She began sewing for them because she found what was available in stores was not always what she wanted for her children. She stated she found that design interested and excited her imagination. It was like putting together pieces of a puzzle. Design, fabric, even common items found in everyday life began to fuel and ignite her creativity.

Debbie first came to Historic Hernando Preservation Society with a desire to see the potential unlocked for the historic buildings in our area. She wants to raise an awareness of their design and importance, and make Hernando County a place people want to visit. Her natural love and respect of history make Debbie the steadfast researcher that she is. She recognizes the importance of preserving our rich history for future generations.

The Society for Creative Anachronism has played an important role in Debbie’s life. Here she met people dedicated to history, people who were willing to do the arduous research required to bring the results of their research to a higher level. SCA’s Arts and Science competitions requires research likened to that of a doctrinal level. Debbie learned from the research, and honed her skills to create beautiful pieces.

Debbie is extremely humble concerning her sewn creations and is quick to point out that they “are not perfect.” Little does she realize that the results of her labor are beautiful and captivating. When asked to describe some of her favorite creations, she mentioned a 1635 gown created in black and yellow. It boasts a fitted waist and bodice and is based on a VanDyke painting. Another of her favorites is a navy blue Civil War outfit. It has a pagoda sleeved jacket with a Garabaldi blouse. She even created a parasol to match. 

Debbie takes a lot of pride in being period correct, and although today's fabrics are not the same as the wool, silk, linen and cotton of yesteryear, she works diligently to find something as close to original as possible. Looking at the world through Debbie’s eyes requires something of a knack. She can look at an ordinary beach hat and unleash it’s potential as a period bonnet.

She draws much of her imagination from her extensive collection of books ranging from the Roman period through the 1920’s. Not only does Debbie enjoy creating, she also loves to teach. She dreams of inspiring creativity in others, and touching them in a way that brings dimension to the work of the person she is teaching. Debbie has been a substitute teacher for nearly 27 years and she has learned the patience and love of teaching. Substituting afforded her the flexibility to raise her family, and pursue other interests.

Debbie and her husband live in a country setting. Although it is far from the convenience of fabric and craft stores, it offers her the opportunity to enjoy her garden. She says that in her garden, she is able to enjoy some "happy accidents", which cause her to take pause and enjoy the beauty of it all. I would imagine it is here where she dreams of the dress she is creating to wear to her nieces upcoming wedding. Her cat, Mr. Peanut, a black and white tuxedo clad gentleman, can sometimes be found lounging lazily in her lap. Creativity and love of beauty come together to spin the dreams of Debbie’s future creations.

Heraldry: Armorial History and How to Design your own Coat of Arms

The Historic Hernando Preservation Society is pleased to host Roger Sherman for a hands-on presentation.

Heraldry: Armorial History and how to design your own coat of arms.

Bring a sketch pad and pen if you'd like to participate in the event!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Brooksville City Hall

201 Howell Street

6:30 pm

 

There will be no July HHPS Meeting

No July HHPS Meeting

There will be no July meeting of the Historic Hernando Preservation Society. Have a happy and safe 4th and we will see you in August!

Member Highlight: Robert Townsend, Stitched With Love

By: Mary J. Moses

Robert “Bob” Townsend was a remarkable man. Educated at the Chicago School of Design, Bob would live a life of beauty and creativity. Bob opened a decorating studio in New Haven Connecticut in the early 1950’s. A ball was being held for the Foot Guard near the time of President Eisenhower's inauguration. Nearly 2,000 people attended, and Bob Townsend would be the one to design and make the ball gown for the Major Commandant's wife, Sophia Swanson. The Commandant extended an invitation to Bob to attend the ball.

Bob was in attendance that evening, with his cousin on his arm. She wore a gorgeous gown Bob designed and made. Marilyn Swanson, the Major Commandants daughter, was there with her date as well. Somehow, Marilyn and Bob met, one dance led to another, and they ultimately switched dates for the evening. Bob impressed Marilyn’s parents with a beautifully written thank you letter.

Marilyn asked her parents permission to invite “Mr. Townsend” to the Policeman’s Ball. Her parents consented, and two and a half years later on June 26th 1954, they were married. Bob designed and made the dresses for the bride, the matron of honor, four brides maids, as well as gowns for the mother of the bride and mother of the groom.

Their lives were intertwined with fashion shows and decorating, Marilyn attended modeling school and modeled Bob’s designs. He made nearly all of Marilyn’s wardrobe.

A move to California encouraged Bob with his creativity, and he continued decorating and designing. He and Marilyn opened a restaurant in Rancho Santa Fe, but the Caribbean was calling.

Bob secured a piece of property on the island of Montserrat, 250 miles South of Puerto Rico. Bob designed and decorated their beautiful Caribbean home. He also decorated the View Point Hotel and it’s cottages. Bob engaged local women in Montserrat in the art of tapestry. Here they created tapestries, totes, and like items.

Bob and Marilyn did a lot of work for the British Red Cross. Fashion shows and teas were some of the things they did best. Now, Winter Haven Florida was calling, from there to Mount Dora, on to Columbus Georgia, and finally, Brooksville Florida.

Bob loved to write, he wrote two short stories, and was working on a book. Soon he met writer Heddie Warner. She, recognizing his talent, encouraged Bob. During Founders Week in Brooksville, Bob designed and created a gown for Heddie to wear in the Founders Day Parade. Later that day, Heddie modeled the wonderful creation on a stage built in front of City Hall. Bob won first place for his design. The fashion show segwayed into an art and craft show being held in City Hall. Here guests were treated to a viewing of Bob's “Tapestries of Montserrat” collection.

Bob lived an excellent life, he took joy in helping Marilyn at the Brooksville Women’s Club. Here he made the drapes that adorned the windowed for seven years. He decorated a beautiful historic home on Broad Street, was a member of Historic Hernando Preservation Society, as well as Friends of Chinsegut. He stitched, created and wrote with love.

When Bob passed on March 3rd, 2016, he left behind a manuscript he had been working on. It was here the love of his life picked up the pieces and painstakingly typed her precious Bob’s novel. With the help of friend and local author Jerry Cowling, Marilyn was able to get Bob’s beloved work published. The Woffington: Life and Loves of an Actress is a story depicting the life and love of an Irish actress set in the 18th century, was born. Bob’s Book can be purchased on Amazon, or through Kindle.

Historic Hernando Preservation Society honored Bob Townsend’s life at their April meeting. Marilyn arrived to accept the award in one of Bob’s beautiful creations that was indeed, stitched with love.

2016 3rd Quarter Business Meeting & Live Auction

Historic Hernando Preservation Society will be holding a live auction and pot luck dinner on Thursday, June 2nd at the Brooksville City Hall. There will be a brief business meeting beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m. The live auction and pot luck will follow. Roger Sherman is donating articles from the traditional arts and decor venue. Sales from Mr. Sherman's collection will benefit Historic Hernando Preservation Society and the Tomanian Society. Bring your wallet or checkbook as we will have decorative arts and collectibles including a bronze goddess from SE Asia, signed William Newport oil painting, 19th century glass cameo and much more!!

  • Date: Thursday, June 2, 2016
  • Time:  6:30 pm
  • Location: Brooksville City Hall, 201 Howell Avenue, Brooksville

 

Field Trip to Citrus County Coastal Heritage Museum

June 4th: Citrus County Coastal Heritage Museum. 532 Citrus Ave., Crystal River 34428, 352-257-3870. This is a quaint little museum that offers ideas of a former City Hall/Fire Department/Police Department turned museum. Despite itʼs small size, it holds a large amount of historical information. After the museum tour, we will have lunch at the River Ranch Bar and Grill, 631 N Citrus Ave., 352-564-0902. Along the same block as the museum and restaurant are many little shops that require further investigation!! I know this will be a very enjoyable trip for everyone.

OLD HERNANDO HISTORY ROUNDTABLE

OLD HERNANDO HISTORY ROUNDTABLE is a group of individuals who share a common bond-the history of the “old county” (Hernando, Citrus, & Pasco).  The meetings are quarterly (FEBRUARY, MAY, AUGUST, NOVEMBER) on the third Thursday of the month.  The informal group meets for lunch at 11:30 AM @ Country Kitchen Restaurant, 20133 Cortez Blvd, Brooksville.   Following lunch is a speaker presentation on some aspect of history.

SPEAKERS FOR 2016 

MAY 19:  Bill Dayton: Tales of Old Pasco County 

AUG  18:  Brent Weisman: Chocochatti

NOV  17:   Sid Taylor:  History of Withlacoochee State Forest 

For More Information Call:

               ROGER LANDERS…………..352-848-0505 or

               SID TAYLOR……………………352-344-4705

Honoring Robert Townsend

Historic Hernando Preservation Society was proud to present Marilyn Townsend, widow of Robert N. Townsend, with a Certificate of Appreciation for his work with Historic Preservation.  Marilyn was also presented with a fruit basket.

Robert, “Bob”, was a long time member of Historic Hernando Preservation Society, and he was especially known in the historic community for his work in design.  He was a key person in the execution of the Historic Home Tours Reception presented at City Hall in 2010.  Bob and Marilyn were also members of Friends of Chinsegut.  

Bob will be missed in the Hernando Historical community.

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