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Stop 37 & 38: The Frontage Street Businesses (on 8 th Street)

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AUDIO NARRATION*
Copyright © 2024
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FRONTAGE STREET now known as EIGHTH STREET is home to three age-old structures: The Pasco Hardware Building, The Market Building, and the Huckabay Building (formerly known as the Hendley-Burnside Building). 

    These vintage business locations now house: Top of the Town Event Spot, Muscle Clinic Massage, Green Door & City Market Bistro, and Two Ole Hens Too. Documentation is not definitive to exact dates, but the Hardware and City Market Building are believed to be pre circa 1909 and the Huckabay Building is understood to have been constructed prior to 1914. The three stores were referred to as the “Market area.” 

     As one turns the corner at the Griffin Building/Block to walk on the sidewalk just before Meridian intersects 8th Street, you will regard the quaint and beautiful shops of present-day Dade City. Along the row notice the corner section of Griffin Block which over time housed a variety of shops that we learned about on Stop 35, and then you will pass onto the 8th Street stretch.

     We invite you to gaze for a moment at a 1915 and a 1920 map of that area included as map jpegs on the web stop, as this 8th Street section is one of the more complex and undocumented areas of old Dade City but the space has so much to tell us.  Just imagine that these lovely spaces once housed bags of oats and staples of pioneer life in abundant groceries and are now transformed to event space, gourmet restaurant, and antique shops.

    From both of the authentic maps from Library of Congress, you see the 1909 Courthouse and Meridian Avenue as reference points. At this period of time (1915, 1920) and for many decades later, 8th Street was referred to as FRONT or FRONTAGE STREET because that was largely where the merchandising activity of the town occurred, and the businesses look out on the path of what had been the Seaboard Coastline Depot and the trajectory of the Seaboard Coastline railway.

    In the historic directories author Madonna Wise was provided by city administrator, Michael Sherman and the Historic Preservation Board from the city of Dade City in 2014, for her book, Images of America: Dade City, there were virtually no records about the buildings on this section of the walk. Consultation with historians Bill Dayton, Jeff Miller and Scott Black revealed little documented information.

   Easily you spot the corner section of the first building of Griffin that is green stucco and marked with its name. Next is a structure identified in a variety of historical postcards and photos from 1909 forward as Pasco County Hardware & Supply Company and later for the period of time it was occupied by merchant, William Francis Scofield forward, it was known as the Scofield Building. Thu we will refer to it as Pasco County Hardware/Scofield Building. Advertisements in the Dade City Banner also attest to the store’s prominence in not only hardware but furniture and garden items. Next is another two-story building adorned in contemporary times with a festive red, white, and blue awning that served historically as the Market Building. The name was obtained from the presence of numerous grocery and feed stores which occupied the space over time. 

  The buildings have been vastly changed from 1915 to 2023, but one can discern that they are three distinct buildings while closely examining historic photos. Note in the 1909 historical postcard shown here, one can ascertain the labeling on the Griffin block corner for ‘Telephone Exchange’ which we discussed in the Griffin Block stop and also the labeling of Pasco County Hardware & Co. In addition, the three window designs are uniquely different and two of the building heights differ as well as three unique porch configurations. For example, the middle building that now houses Downtown Skin Studio and Nancy’s Natural Foods & The Muscle Clinic have oval brick work above the windows.

    Fourth and lastly, the building on the south at the corner of 8th and Pasco was purchased by Simeon Franklin Huckabay and his son, William Wootson “Woots” Huckabay in 1915. He was trained in retail by Coleman and Ferguson Mercantile as he worked as a clerk for several years at the store. Huckabay negotiated to purchase the Hendley-Burnside building owned by Colonel Jefferson A. Hendley, pioneer settler and lawyer, and partner, Archie J. Burnside, Clerk of the Court in 1914. The building was also occupied by McGeachy & Cochrane Grocery may have owned it for a short period with proprietors, Dennis M. McGeachey, David A. McGeachey, and William Cochrane. Most frequently called the Huckabay Building, Huckabay was a victim of the Stock Market crash and was forced into a bankruptcy sale of all contents and building in March of 1929. The family reacquired the building sometime later. The building passed down via family to Jim Huckabay, a former Dade City Chevrolet automobile dealer, and was later inherited by Simeon’s great-granddaughter, Barbara Huckabay in 2002.

Do please note some of the other peculiarities of the time. A gas pump and a buried tank were located in front of the Hardware/Scofield Building in 1915, and the market building housed a furniture store (the same 1915 hardware store as advertisements from the era indicate they sold furniture) while the Huckabay building housed a Barber & Pressing Shop combination and a Grocery and Feed Store. 

    Moving along five years, in the Library of Congress 1920 map, the hardware store persists but the gas pump has been moved to the Market building which subsequently houses two separate grocery stores and the Huckabay building then houses an office, a jewelry, and the ongoing grocery now referenced as Grocery and Variety Store.

    This area of town has been renovated extensively and we are so thankful to the families, architects, and workmen who have preserved this heritage.

     First and foremost, any review of this area must include the Seaboard Coastline Railroad Depot which all of the building’s “front” to. This was the lifeline for the burgeoning town that depended on the precious source of transportation, the railroad. You’ll learn more about that location and the buildings that occupied it on some further stops.

    Of the Market Building, reporter Steve Kornacki wrote in 2005, “the Market building has the spirit of turn-of-the-century Pasco County with original red Georgia clay tile flooring and tan/blonde colored bricks made from Withlacoochee River clay with the bricks fired in the nearby town of Lacoochee around 1896.  Reaching the red clay floor required intensive sandblasting as Barbara Huckabay said” it was like finding a precious Indian artifact.”

     Restoration was done by Larry Cole who literally breathed new life into the building. “It was a major beast of a building to work on,” Cole said. “This building was condemned. It needed a new roof, electric work, plumbing, and air condition. The floors and the walls were the only original things left.” 

    Tenants in 2005, just after that massive renovation included: The Twisted Vine, Vintage Garden Shop, and Gail Greenfelder’s Chinese Antiques. The upstairs housed the business offices of lawyer Bill Dayton, contractor Bill Borregard, and Barbara Huckabay. Those second-floor offices were previously occupied by a dentist and the military draft board during World War II. Over time the space was utilized for market storage and later stood vacant without occupants from the 1950s for a few decades.

 Barbara Huckabay, Inc. also owned the Hardware Building/Scofield Building, and believed it to be constructed by the Scofield Family. Scofield arrived in Dade City in 1919 from Zumbrota, Minnesota and grew into a prominent merchant. His shop offered fancy groceries and an array of clothing attire. In 1925, he announced in the Banner,We have sold out our line of groceries and will have more space to devote to our line of quality dry goods, notions, ladies’ ready-to-wear, hats, shoes, men’s work clothes, etc.”

     In those early days, stores stayed open late on Saturday nights to attend country folks who came to town…everybody came to town to also visit on Saturday nights.

     The Huckabay building was later owned by the Weitzenkorn Family Partnership and housed Annetta’s Antiques. Janis Annetta Gore’s shop opened in 1983 and featured a whopping twenty-two rooms of antiques. The shop closed in 2018 as the community lost eighty-seven-year-old Annetta on January 2, 2018. She had been in the antique business for fifty years and was a certified appraiser. Some further renovation has occurred on the building and it now houses the lovely shop of Two ‘Ole Hens Too. 

     Historian/Lawyer Bill Dayton said Gore shared with him that mysterious events occurred in the attic shop rooms. On more than one occasion, she and her employee unlocked the door to notice that displays were altered and items had been moved around the lady who worked for her has seen the vision of a ghostly figure standing in the hallway who startled her, and when she moved back around to glimpse another look, he had vanished. 

     Taylor Napier also remembered, “My Dad used to deliver Pepsi a few years back and enjoyed visiting with the owners of Annetta’s Attic, the antique shop; the owners said they thought a spirit of a young girl lived on the second floor where they kept children’s toys. They said customers thought toys occasionally moved or made noise that would startle you. The owners even experienced it too.”

  Dayton’s law office was in the same restored building and although he never experienced ghostly encounters, he remembered a former occupant of the building whose office was on the second floor telling him of several sightings accompanied by a sudden cold rush and a rattling doorknob.

The current Two ‘Ole Hens” Too business was established in 2022 and is operated by Mary Warfel.

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