If you’re looking for something to do that’s fun for the whole family and you don’t want to spend too much money, we have a solution that is not only fun but historic and educational. It’s located right in the heart of downtown Brooksville, in Hernando County. It’s the Brooksville Heritage Museum / May-Stringer House.
This attraction has two sides, a fun side for the whole family, and a dark side fit for adults over the age of 18. By day, the house is a representation of life back in the 1850s, and one of the first houses settled in Brooksville under the Armed Occupation Act, which gave settlers 160 acres to use as long as they reside in Florida. It’s also filled with wonderful antiques and history from around Brooksville, making it the Brooksville Heritage Museum. By night: a real haunted house for those interested in the paranormal.
Historic Museum by Day
The day tour talks about the home and all the artifacts inside. It was the former home of the Mays’. After the deaths of Marlena, wife to the late John May and current wife of Frank Saxon, his daughter Jessie Mae and a stillborn son, he moved away, and the house was next inhabited by Dr. Stringer. Dr. Stringer re-designed the house in the unique fashion it now remains, with the tower, because he wanted to have the largest home in the area. Stringer also made the 7 gables to represent the “House of Seven Gables,” something he always admired. After his family moved out, the place was abandoned, and looters destroyed most of the home. The house was later restored to its current condition by the city of Brooksville. They reopened the house as a heritage museum of Brooksville’s past.
The house has a replica one-room school house, a doctor’s room containing medicines and tools typical of what Dr. Stringer would have used on his patients, a telephone/telegraph room, a war room decked with U.S. Military uniforms from the Civil War to World War II, and so much more
The museum offers a guided tour, that lasts around an hour. Admission is $5.00 for adults and $2.00 for children, Tuesday to Saturday from 12:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. The tour will give you the history of the home as well as Brooksville’s great past. All money goes toward the upkeep up of the home.
By Night… the Hauntings
Due to its grim past with death the house is considered by one of the most haunted places in Florida; there were 3 people in the home, Saxon’s daughter Jessie Mae and his stillborn child and his wife giving birth.
Dr. Stringer used the house as a sanatorium during the days before hospitals were around, so many of the terminally ill patients died miserable deaths from causes like Small Pox, Yellow Fever, Scarlett Fever, and others.
The home was also the scene of the first “drive by” shooting in Hernando County (actually “ride by” because the crime was committed on horseback). It’s also said that a WWI soldier returned from war to marry his fiance, only to find that she had married another man when he was away; he then went upstairs and was said to have hung himself in the master bedroom. That claim can’t be proven so it’s only a rumor that may or may not have some truth to it. The May-Stringer house is said to have 8 spirits who reside in the dwelling.
The tour lasts 2 hours! Starting with a history tour of the house concentrating on the most active rooms, they give you more information to the secrets the house holds than you get during the day. In the second hour, you are released into small groups to pick rooms and do seances and readings.
This tour has an age limit: nobody under is 18 allowed. It costs $20.00 per person and reservations are required. The tour starts at 6:00 P.M. and is offered Friday to Sunday only. The tours will be canceled for groups less than 6.
I personally took both of these tours, the daytime and haunted tours and found them extremely interesting and educational. The house is a work of art in itself and the EVP’s caught during the haunt were phenomenal. For the price, I highly recommend trying these tours and help support the Hernando County Preservation of old homes and history.