Taft Historical Society, Logo

Julian Dominy at 407-405-5752 
Joanne Dominy at 407-341-6651

History Corner 

History Corner- Old Dixie Highway

Visitors to the Taft Community Center should be aware of two very interesting items located near the front of the building. There is a small brick road and a monument made of bricks. The story behind these two historical objects is both fascinating and symbolic of the sense of history and community evident in Taft. The bricks come from the Old Dixie Highway. This was one of the major arteries of Florida’s early highway system. We know this highway was built in 1915. It was built by placing pine needles, palm fronds, and other foliage down as a base. This process covered up the ruts caused by the tires of the early Model T cars; the bricks would then be placed on top. We also know that the bricks were made in Alabama and were brought to Florida for this job.

Years ago this road was repaved and widened. The bricks were pulled up and revealed some of the original ruts. Local residents, Bob Cumby and the late Randy Cone, were able to “rescue” some of these bricks. Bob is an avid historian and understood the historical importance of the bricks. He stored them until 1997 when Taft residents decided to build the monuments we now enjoy. Vic Wise did most of the work on the brick road, using 540 bricks. John Peeples , skilled in masonry, was responsible for the monument, it contains 90 bricks. Take Action for Taft had a beautiful plaque made and it graces the top the monument. The part of Old Dixie Highway that ran through Taft is now known as Orange Avenue. Next time you visit the Center take time to view these historical monuments and enjoy some of Taft’s history.

Faces of Taft

The Taft Historical Society has been very busy since its inception . Two books The History of Taft Florida and Families of Taft Florida have been published and well received by our citizens. The first book  sold over 250 copies and we are awaiting more copies from our printer. The latter contains personal stories from over 40 families as well as the censuses from 1910, 20 and 30. This book is available now and may be purchased from any member of the Society. (Cost for both of these books is $10 apiece.) We are working on a third book which will chronicle the veterans of the Taft.

We have also, with the cooperation of the staff at the Taft Community Center, created a wonderful museum in the small meeting room at the Center. Stop by and view  vintage pictures, the original post office sign, an antique quilt made by some of our first citizens as well as other artifacts. But before you enter the building be sure to see the original siren from the volunteer fire station, old fire hydrant, as well as the “mini” road constructed from bricks from the Old Dixie Highway.

Photos of People

Taft’s Veteran Honor Roll

(We realize this is not a complete list and honor all our citizens who served their country)

Roscoe Alford, John Alexander, Lamar Altman, George Altman, Donald Argentiro, David Banton, Mike Banton, Tommy Britt, James Boykin, Nicole Burnsed, Ernest Calhoun, Ernest Cox, Tracy Cox, Glen Creel, Steve Creel, Terry Dominy, Ron Dominy, Leonard Folds, Tom Futch, Greg Gathers, ‘Doc’ Glover, George Glover, Arnel Gresham, Carl Gresham, Jack Gresham (lost in WW2), Jackie Gresham (lost in plane crash while on duty), Julian Gresham, Mack Gresham, Pete Gresham, Tim Gresham, Tommy Harley, Harold Harris, Jessey Harris, Scott Henry, Clarence Hoenstine, Donnie Hoenstine, Ronnie Hoenstine, James Holliday, Brian Holt, Rick Hunt, Wily James, Justin Johns, Buddy Jordan, Lawrence Jordan, Robert Jordan, Harvey Kemp, Virgil Kemp, Steven Lewis (lost  in Vietnam), Doyle Mallory, Cecil Maddox, Fred Martin, Willard Franklin Martin, Robert Mercer Jr., Robert Mercer Sr., Wes Medlock, Tommy Miller,  Rufus Owens, Ryan Pierce, Eugene Ramer, Gene Ramer, Jamie Ramer, Jeremy Reams, Andrew Rogers, Alvin Rogers, Opal Shields, Benny Strader, Aaron Thomas, Randy Thomas, Gaylord Tool, B.J. Turner, Buck Tyson, William Tyson, Larry Ward, Johnny Walker, Jeff Ward, Jess Ward, Larry Washington, Jerry Washington, Phil Weagraff, Dwight White, Ted Williams, Henry Williams, Johnny Wilson, Randy Wright, Robert Ziegler

Family Corner

The Brickley Family
by Jerine Brickley Williams

The Brickleys came to Taft around 1913 from Kansas. They took a train to St. Louis. They then took a boat down the Mississippi to New Orleans. They took another boat across the gulf to Kissimmee, coming around the tip of Florida, then across Lake Okeechobee to the Kissimmee River and finally to Lake Tohopekaloga. After they landed in Kissimmee they took wagon to Taft, traveling on a corduroy type surface made of logs.

George Reese Brickley was born in Butler County, Kansas in 1885 and would die Nov. 21, 1966 at the age of 71. Hazel Elizabeth Brickley, maiden name Cross, was born in Topeka, Kansas in 1886 and would die in 1986 at the age of 100. The couple’s parents also lived here and I am not sure who came first or if the families all came together. George and Hazel had four children: Ruth who died in infancy, John who was killed by a train, Ester and David who are also dead. J.F. Harrington, one of the founding fathers of Taft signed David’s birth certificate in his capacity of register.

Mr. Brickley served as postmaster for 37 years in Taft. Hazel played and gave piano lessons.

Mr. Brickley was very afraid of tornadoes and built a shelter in his backyard behind the post office. He kept it fully stocked with canned goods.

Hazel lived in Taft most of her life until she moved in with son David and myself for a while. We shared her care with Ester.

I was married to David until his death in June 1971. After his death, Hazel went into a nursing home where she passed away at age 100. 

(The original post office sign as well as the last rubber stamp, last piece of mail stamped and the post office’s first charter are all on display at the Taft Community Center.)