People have lived around the Nature Coast Springs and rivers for over 4,000 years. The rivers provided drinking water, fish for food, and a means of transportation.
The famous “Mullet Express” Train (Silver Springs, Ocala and Gulf Railroad) was completed at this location in the year 1888. It ran across our property only 20 feet from the Head Springs. The Springs could be viewed by people traveling on the train. A ticket station was located where The Greenhouse Bistro & Venue sits.
New surveying and environmental mapping show that an existing railroad berm matches the historical maps for this train line which ran from Crystal River to Old Homosassa.
Running parallel to the train tracks was a north-south road accessible by horse and buggy (and later by automobile). The road would have been east of this property and behind what is now Village Toyota. It was made obsolete by unsigned highway state road 55 (U.S. Highway 19/Suncoast Blvd).
The Rock House Pub, named so for its exterior walls made of old rocks, was built here in the early 1930’s.
Local resident and baseball player Dazzy Vance owned nearby property along with 120 more acres to the south, according to historical documentation and records from the Citrus County Historical Society. It appears he purchased the acreage around the mid-1940’s and lived near there until his death in 1961.
By 1941, the Mullet Train was out of service. The train tracks were removed and the minor highway was being upgraded. The Rock House Pub was converted to a church sometime between 1945 and 1950.
Sometime prior to the 1990’s, the rock structure was converted from a church to a pub again. Patrons and the public continued to access the Springs.
Apparently, in the past, people thought little about protecting the environment and used the Springs for dumping. We continue to discover and remove trash including bottles, beer cans, golf balls, car parts, tires, and other rubble.
In early 2000’s the last rock bar fell to neglect. A massive fire destroyed all of the contents but left the rock exterior. It was deemed too dangerous to house any more businesses and was removed around 2006-2007.
When we began restoring the Halls River Head Springs in November 2015, many residents that live in the vicinity came to check out what we were doing. They were very concerned and they had good reason to be. The Springs have been abused and neglected for the last 80 years.
This property, the River, and the Springs are now cared for and loved. Come see for yourself.