New Port Richey, Florida – Building on the success of last year’s inaugural custom ornament for New Port Richey, Kelly Hackman has created another beautiful edition designed to enhance the local collection.
“The building at the focus of this year’s ornament was one chosen by the community,” Hackman explains. After the successful launch of the 2015 New Port Richey ornament that featured the Richey Suncoast Theatre, Hackman received numerous requests to create ornaments for different buildings in the historic downtown district. Therefore, she felt the best thing to do was to let the community vote.
Ballots were cast by visitors to Hackman’s store, The White Heron Tea & Gifts, in the summer. Approximately 150 people voted between the Hacienda Hotel, the New Port Richey Pubic Library, and the West Pasco Historical Society.
“The group that received the most votes and is the feature of this year’s ornament, by only 15 votes, is the West Pasco Historical Society,” Hackman states. “It was a close vote, and we look forward to featuring the West Pasco Historical Society this year.”
The building featured on the ornament is that of the Dr. Rao Musunuru Museum and Library that is currently located directly north of the playground at Sims Park. The building, once the Seven Springs School House, was built in 1915. The actual school was in operation from 1913 to 1925.Upon closing in 1925, the building became a private residence. In the early part of 1981, the West Pasco Historical Society took ownership of the building, and moved it to its current location at Sims Park. The building was officially dedicated at its new location on January 16, 1983. In 1992, an addition was added to the building, making room for a library. Today the museum is named the Rao Musunuru, M. D., Museum and Library, in honor of his support to preserve the area’s history and this historic building.
“The West Pasco Historical Society’s school house was officially 100 years old in 2015,” states Bob Langford, President of the West Pasco Historical Society. “It is only fitting that as we enter the next 100 years of this building, that it be commemorated in a beautiful ornament for our community to treasure for years to come.”
The West Pasco Historical Society houses permanent displays of early business in the local area, where numerous items of early origins were donated by local residents. The museum also displays seasonal exhibits as well. The Library is primarily utilized by historians searching for details of early settlers and historical facts concerning local areas, the county, and the state of Florida. It also contains a large selection of photographs and maps.
This year’s ornaments, featuring the original school house, are made of cut brass and come in both gold and silver finishes. They range in price from $14.95 (plain box) to $16.95 (gold gift box). Each ornament also contains a small history sheet on the West Pasco Historical Society. There are a limited number of ornaments available this year so guests are encouraged to purchase their ornaments early. This year, a portion of the proceeds of each ornament will donated to the West Pasco Historical Society to support their many programs.
“I am very excited about this year’s ornament, and am already looking forward to continuing this project for many years to come so that everyone can have a symbolic piece of New Port Richey in their home,” Hackman says. “If anyone missed last year’s ornament of the Richey Suncoast Theatre, we also have some left so that our guests can have a complete set of what we have created so far.”
Ornaments are currently available at The White Heron Tea & Gifts located at 6228 Grand Boulevard in historic downtown New Port Richey. The White Heron Tea & Gifts gift shop is open Tuesday through Saturday. Hours are 10 am until 6 pm, Tuesday through Thursday, and 10 am until 7 pm on Friday and Saturday.