Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

John C. Emerson honored as 2013 Great Brooksvillian

John C. Emer­son was born in 1892 in North Dakota and moved to Brooksville in the early 1900s.

John C. Emer­son was born in 1892 in North Dakota and moved to Brooksville in the early 1900s.

BROOKSVILLE — Although he has been dead for more than 60 years, the legacy of developer John C. Emerson is abundant around Brooksville.

The Hernando County library building at Howell and Fort Dade avenues, the Hernando Park band shell that stands near it, the downtown post office, plus dozens of other structures throughout the city stand as testaments to Emerson's vision of a comfortable, stylish community that residents would be proud to call home.

At Brooksville City Hall on Thursday evening, dozens of people — including nearly every local resident with the last name of Emerson — gathered to honor their ancestor, who was selected as the recipient of the 2013 Great Brooksvillian award.

Mayor Lara Bradburn referred to Emerson as a forward-thinking man who helped transform the city during the early part of last century from a sleepy, Southern town into modern municipality.

"The concept of housing developments was still pretty new during the 1930s and 1940s," Bradburn said. "And it might not have happened here as it did had it not been for that desire he had to make the community a better place to live."

Born in 1892 in North Dakota, Emerson moved to Brooksville in the early 1900s. He married Olivette McGeachy of Dade City in 1916, and they raised three children. The following year, he joined the Army and served as a sergeant during World War I before returning home to start his business.

Emerson, who died in 1951 at the age of 59, never ran for public office. However, City Council member Joe Johnston pointed out that he earned a reputation that went far beyond his ability as a builder. A well known philanthropist, Emerson often donated materials and labor for community projects, including the city's first permanent library building, and was noted for supporting a number of education and youth programs.

According to his granddaughter, Leigh Steiner, Emerson was so moved by the heroics of American troops serving in frigid climates during World War II that he bought and shipped thousands of blankets overseas.

In addition, Emerson and his family donated land on which the present-day Hernando High School was built. The school's baseball field is named for him.

Although none of his own children are alive, the Emerson family was well represented at the ceremony. Among those in attendance were grandsons John Emerson, the county's property appraiser, and Steve Emerson, vice president at SunTrust Bank in Brooksville.

"Our entire family felt this was a great honor to the memory of my grandfather," John Emerson said. "He loved Brooksville with all his heart."

Logan Neill can be reached at or (352) 848-1435.

John C. Emerson honored as 2013 Great Brooksvillian 10/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, October 11, 2013 7:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.