History of Pasco County,

Holiday, & Sand Bay

Our Story

Have you ever wondered about the history of our county, or how Holiday got its name? History provides us an insight into our past and can be interesting, enlightening, and even entertaining.  Check out what we found in the history of Pasco County, Holiday, and even our own backyard!



  • About 900 to 1500. Native Americans known as the Tocobaga Indians live in small villages at the northern end of Tampa Bay.

  • 1528. Panfilo de Narvaez lands on the shores of Old Tampa Bay and marches northward through what is now Pasco County.

  • 1839. Fort Dade is abandoned.

  • Mar. 3, 1845. Florida becomes the twenty-seventh state.

  • 1852. A man named Walter Lowe goes in the schooner Chestnut to Anclote Key and in several days secures a cargo of sponges. They brought such a profit that other men embarked in the business. This might be considered the birth of the sponge industry of Florida.

  • Jan. 10, 1861. Florida secedes from the United States.

  • About 1866. Peter Karr Baillie and his wife leave Georgia for Florida and build a home at what is now called Bailey’s Bluff. Florida Cracker Days gives the dates 1864 and 1867.

  • 1867. Frederick Meyer and Franklin B. Meyer, brothers, build log cabins about 100 yards west of the present Anclote Cemetery, thus founding the community of Anclote.

  • Jan. 16, 1879. The state House of Representatives unanimously passes a resolution asking for a lighthouse at Anclote Key. The measure was promoted by Samuel Hope.

  • 1882. The Fort Dade Messenger is established.

  • May 16, 1882. The first post office in Hudson is established.

  • July 9, 1884. The Port Richey post office is established. Aaron Richey was the first postmaster.

  • Jan. 29, 1885. The Indiana Weekly Progress reports, “Mrs. Harriet Smith, of Tuckertown, Fla., has proved that women have a soul above the fashions. She is making money by running a large sawmill.”

  • 1886. The spongers from Key West build a pavilion at Bailey’s Bluff to store the sponges they had pulled from the Gulf.

  • Sept. 15, 1887. The Anclote Keys lighthouse is first lit.

  • Oct. 17, 1887. The Pasco County Commission adopts a strict quarantine policy requiring persons who entered the county to have yellow-fever immunity cards. The minutes have: “In view of the fact that yellow fever is raging in Tampa and for our own protection, the board assembled to take some steps to establish a quarantine against infected sections.” Telegrams were sent to the mayors of Tampa, Plant City, and Lakeland, stating that Pasco County was quarantined against Tampa and all points south of here. It was voted to appoint two quarantine guards for Flat Ford, Cooper’s Ford, the F. R. & N. R. R. crossing, the Hillsborough River, Burnt Bridge, Anclote, and, if necessary, Trout Creek.

  • June 4, 1889. Saint Leo College is granted a charter by the state of Florida.

  • 1891. John King Cheyney (1858-1939) starts a commercial sponge venture called the Anclote and Rock Island Sponge Company on  Bailey’s Bluff. [On Mar. 9, 1894, the Tampa Tribune reported on the Anclote & Rock Island sponge Co., John K. Cheyney, manager. It reported that J. C. Bowyer has 13 vessels, 120 employees, $400,000 annual income.]

  • Aug. 3, 1892. The Indiana Progress reports, “Pasco county, Florida, boasts of having the oldest soldier in the United States. His name is Jonathan Pratt, and he is claimed to be 103 years old.”

  • 1900. The population of Pasco County is 6054.

  • May 11, 1909. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports that the Mutual Construction Co. of Louisville, Ky., was awarded the contract for erecting Pasco County’s new court house at $34,860.

  • 1912. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Station is erected in Dade City.

  • April 30, 1913. Voters approve a $100,000 bond issue to build a hard road from Tarpon Springs to Port Richey to Aripeka.

  • Oct. 25, 1921. A hurricane, later estimated as category 3, makes landfall around Tarpon Springs. 

  • Sept. 18, 1922. Gulf High School opens, the first high school in western Pasco County.

  • Nov. 6, 1934. In an election, Pasco County votes 1130 to 670 in favor of becoming “wet.” Pasco was the 42nd of 67 counties to resume the selling of alcoholic beverages stronger than beer.

  • Jan. 9, 1958. A measurable snowfall occurs in Pasco County. 

  • 1980. Gulf View Square Mall opens in Port Richey.

  • 1990. The 1990 census shows these population figures: Pasco county, 281,131; New Port Richey, 14,044; Port Richey, 2523.

  • Mar. 16, 2001. Salt Spring is dedicated as Florida’s newest state park and named Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park.

For many more historical moments visit five.org

Why do they call it Holiday? 

Courtesy of wtsp.com

Author: GraysonKamm

Published: 3:52 AM EST December 21, 2011

Updated: 5:53 AM EST December 21, 2011

Banks. They decide whether you can buy your dream home. Some people say they decide what bills Congress passes. And 45 years ago, bankers at a board room table decided this community would one day call itself Holiday. In the 1960's, the folks at -- deep breath -- the First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Tarpon Springs were planning a new branch office. It would be north of Tarpon Springs, but south of New Port Richey. It was an area of West Pasco County with plenty of people but, umm, no name. So bank president Bill Boyd pulled out a map and perused some of the street names here looking for inspiration. Thankfully, he did not take a liking to streets like Lomi Lomi Drive, Speck Drive, or Reggie Drive (even though we're sure 10 News' own Reginald Roundtree would have loved it). The street name that eventually caught his eye? Holiday Drive! The bankers thought the "Holiday Branch" had a nice ring to it. So they stuck it on their building and started pushing everyone in the growing community to use that name to refer to the area. It caught on, with the help of some up-front marketing. The bank handed out a thousand front license plates proudly proclaiming Holiday, Florida! Eventually, the post office started using Holiday -- and the unofficial name had become official. The joyful name has lasted to today. In fact, it has lasted longer than the bank. The First Federal -- whatever you wanna call it -- was bought out by another savings and loan in 1987. It no longer exists.