Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dreams could soon become a reality at Chinsegut manor house

A new report about renovating the historic Chinsegut manor house north of Brooksville includes a "wish list" that until last week was more like a dream list.

I mean, who could realistically think about tearing up one of the home's porches just to replace it with a historically representative tongue-and-groove deck?

Who could contemplate rebuilding a widow's walk, another item on the list? Who could imagine paying $6,625 to fit the house with period-appropriate wood-frame window screens?

Not the Friends of Chinsegut Hill, which has long struggled to raise money a few thousand dollars at a time.

Not with all the other work that, according to the report by Preservation Resources Inc. of Brookville, is needed to keep the place from rotting to the ground.

The huge beams in the home's foundation are so termite-damaged that they have been squashed flat by the weight of the house.

Replacing them would cost $20,000, the report says. The price for a new roof, also a necessity, would be at least $32,000. Fixing the worst-fitting windows, the ones letting in rain, would come to $21,500. Ridding the house of lead, mold and asbestos will cost another $50,000.

For a long time, with very little public support, even these needed projects seemed out of reach. The prospect of paying for such repairs was so daunting that, as recently as last fall, the state was ready to sell the house to the highest bidder.

But suddenly the idea of making all the repairs seems less like a dream and more like a certainty.

Today, the Hernando County Commission is set to approve a lease agreement that was needed to keep the house off the auction block and help the Friends apply for preservation grants.

That the house has already been approved for one of these grants helped justify a much bigger, granddaddy of a grant — $1.5 million put into the 2013-14 state budget by local lawmakers, state Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, and state Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby.

It sounds like a turkey. It's the responsibility of everyone involved to prove that it's not.

Chinsegut could be a gem of a conference center, a historic attraction, a symbol for the beauty of this part of Florida. It could bring in tourism revenue for the entire area. It could make the label that Pasco, Hernando and other nearby counties hung on themselves years ago — the Nature Coast — more than an empty marketing slogan.

But things have to be done right. The county and the Friends will need to promote the manor house with imagination and energy. They'll have to be careful with this new pot of money.

This report, now just a draft, seems like a good start. It cost $10,000 and, besides all the details about repairs, includes the best history of the manor house, with photos, I've ever seen.

It's available at Take a look, and you'll see that the place has huge potential — and represents a huge responsibility.

Dreams could soon become a reality at Chinsegut manor house 05/27/13 [Last modified: Monday, May 27, 2013 5:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena


    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack


    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath


    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.