HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
This page was last revised on Aug. 16, 2019.
The Seven Springs historical marker has: “Early residents of this area were Samuel H. Stevenson and his wife, Elizabeth, who believed in the therapeutic benefits of the mineral springs now known as Seven Springs. It became something of a health resort after Stevenson created a pool by installing a well pipe and diverting water from a spring. The pool overflowed into the Anclote River, where a small bath house was built for guests and mineral water was given to any who wanted it.”
An 1848 survey shows “Sulpher Spring” and maps from 1880 to 1905 show “Sulphur Springs” in this location. A few maps also have Sulphur Creek, apparently another name for the Anclote River.
West Pasco’s Heritage has: “With the influx of tourists many hotels were built. Seven Springs was reputed to have one of the first tourist homes in West Pasco. In 1907, Carl Johnson moved to Seven Springs. He built a large two story home catering to tourists. In addition, Johnson had the distinction of having the first swimming pool and boathouse. However, the pool was poorly constructed of cement and later fell in.”
A Dec. 28, 1912, newspaper article reported, “C. Johnson, who owns half a section of land about four miles east of Elfers, was in the city today on business. Mr. Johnson has an elegant $5,000 residence on his place, and within a few rods there is a group of seven valuable springs, so that the location is known as the Seven Springs. Mr. Johnson really has a town site of his own and has one of the finest locations in West Florida, on the Anclote river. He has had the main spring concreted and piped, and it sends forth a water which is of great value to those suffering from rheumatism and other ills. Many people have visited his place and have spoken very highly of his spring and his location.”
A plat map of Seven Springs appears to have been filed Jan. 15, 1913.
In an article about Elfers, the Tarpon Springs Leader of May 9, 1913, has: “The famous ‘Seven Springs’ are near here.”
The Seven Springs school was in operation from about 1913 to 1925, although the school house was apparently finished in 1915.
A Sept. 25, 1913, newspaper article reported, “C. Johnson, a near resident of Elfers, is accomplishing a most uncommon feat. He has a place called the ‘Seven Springs,’ which is about two miles and a half northeast of Elfers and has seven little springs all right near together on his place. He is putting in a cement bathing pool and a first class tourist resort right out in the woods, and he claims that the water from the springs is something on the order of the famous Hot Springs, Ark., water, that it will cure and has cured sick people of numerous diseases. Mr. Johnson is certainly making a wonderful place of it, and those of you who haven’t visited the place should go there by all means.”
A 1914 newspaper article mentions Charles Johnson, prominent resident of Seven Springs. A 1913 newspaper article mentioned that he owned a Buick car.
A letter to the editor by William B. Powell to the Lakeland Evening Telegram on Nov. 25, 1916, has:
I made my headquarters with Mr. C. J. Johnson’s family, at Seven Springs. My purpose for going there was to try and get some relief of rheumatism, and I certainly got the relief and feel like a different man. I would suggest that they change the name from Seven Springs to Youth Springs. These springs are located in the southern part of Pasco county, about two and a half miles from Elfers. This particular spot seems to be adapted to the various kinds of citrus fruits.
On July 27, 1919, the Tampa Morning Tribune reported, “Pleasure seekers who have been bathing in Seven Springs have had to forgo the pleasure, as the water from the Anclote river is over the springs.”
In a letter dated Sept. 15, 1919, and published in the Ocala Evening Star of Sept. 17, 1919, Jack McCully wrote: “I made my headquarters with Mr. C. J. Johnson’s family, at Seven Springs. My purpose for going there was to try and get some relief of rheumatism, and I certainly got the relief and feel like a different man. I would suggest that they change the name from Seven Springs to Youth Springs. These springs are located in the southern part of Pasco County, about two and a half miles from Elfers.”
The bath house and pool at Seven Springs were destroyed by the 1921 hurricane.
A 1922 newspaper article (unseen) reported that Dan Eiland was planting a five acre tract at Seven Springs, in early vegetables, and that his friends in Elfers have missed him since he moved to Seven Springs and they wish him success with his venture.
The Nov. 24, 1922, Dade City Banner has: “Between Elfers and Odessa are several farms and groves. The largest is at Seven Springs, on the Anclote river and is the property of Carl Johnson of Tarpon Springs. The trees are very thrifty looking and appear to have been well cared for. Some time in the past effort has evidently been made to develop the spring into a resort. Bath houses and bathing pools were erected but for some reason the project was never carried through to completion. It is an ideal site for a resort town and the water is said to have medicinal qualities.”
A 1924 newspaper article about Odessa has: “Seven Springs is only a very short distance with its beautiful flowing springs and wells of different kinds of mineral waters being located on the Anclote river making it an ideal place for afternoon picnics and camping parties. Drink all the water you care for out of the different springs, then grab your rod and reel and try your luck with the finny tribe.”On June 12, 1925, the New Port Richey Press reported:
The M. H. Swafford Organization announces the closing of the sale of the Seven Springs property comprising 302½ acres to a Tampa syndicate for $100,000. It is the intention of the new purchasers to develop the property and place it on the market. It is understood they are now interesting some Eastern doctors in building a sanitorium at the springs. The property consists of one mile of hard surfaced road frontage and has two miles of riverfront, the Anclote river running through it. The townsite is only a half mile from the Jacksonville-St. Petersburg line of the Atlantic Coast Line, and is advantageously located on the paved road to Tampa.
On March 29, 1928, the Dade City Banner reported, “Deputy Sheriff Ray Strickland of Ehren found and brought in a 30-gallon still, and an 8 barrel outfit, near Seven Springs, on Sunday morning, March 25th. No arrests were made and no one was found on the premises.”
On Feb. 19, 1949, the bridge across the Anclote River at Seven Springs collapsed under the weight of a tank truck loaded with 30,000 pounds of citrus syrup. On Apr. 27, 1951, the New Port Richey Press reported, “The Seven Springs bridge, near Elfers, victim two years ago of an over-loaded truck, is being rebuilt. Work began this week on a 150-foot $50,000 steel and concrete span over the Anclote River on State Route 54. In addition, the river channel for a quarter mile will be widened to reduce the danger of backing water in times of flood. The Cobb Construction Co., a Tampa firm doing the job, expects to complete it sometime in August. Present makeshift low-level by-pass bridge will continue in use until then.”
Seven Springs (1923)
This article appeared in the Tampa Morning Tribune on July 22, 1923.
Seven Springs is like an oasis in an unexpected place, cropping up as it does in the midst of an unattractive forest of pines, most of which has been cut over or being now cut. This is the name of a large section some six or seven miles southeast of Elfers, on a hard road leading from Elfers to Odessa, and to be continued and the old road rebuilt, so as to connect with the new road Hillsborough county is building to the Pasco county line near Odessa.
There is no more beautiful or fertile spot in Florida than that about Seven Springs, so named because of the springs of bold flow, clearness of water and purity of fluid which bubble up in the section, flowing off in various directions, finally to unit and find their way into the Anclote river. There are a number of beautiful homes and fine farms and handsome, profitable citrus groves here. The general farm prospects are unusual this season, while there has been reaped a fine harvest of profit from the truck and vegetables grown and sold through the Elfers packing house and the Tampa marketing agencies.
The section is mostly hardwood hammock land with large areas of the richest muck, and a quantity of excellent clay-underlaid farming and citrus land. Property values, considering the opportunities and the location, are very reasonable,and outsiders are taking advantage of this fact to become either home owners or investors, the investors realizing that at the most it will be but a few years before the advance in price and the demand for land and localities of this type will be greater than the supply anywhere in the South.
As a home section there is no more attractive purely rural section in Florida. The water is fine and pure, the altitude is sufficiently great to afford excellent natural drainage,while the climate is so mild winter and summer that most of the permanent residents object to going elsewhere for the summer because they say they are cooler and more comfortable at home.