Para español, seleccione de la lista

Contact: Mark Ard
[email protected]

PRESS RELEASE: Secretary Byrd Designates Main Street Zephyrhills as Florida Main Street Program of the Month


Today, Secretary of State Cord Byrd announced that Main Street Zephyrhills, in Pasco County, has been designated the May 2024 Florida Main Street Program of the Month.

“Main Street Zephyrhills has been an exemplary Florida Main Street for more than three decades,” said Secretary Byrd. “The community cherishes and celebrates the city’s history, provides support in its professional and residential communities, and embodies the core principals of the Main Street program, which merits recognition during National Historic Preservation Month.”

Zephyrhills, Florida, boasts a rich history dating back to the early 1800s when the Seminole and other Native tribes inhabited the region. American settlement remained sparse until after the Civil War, when settlers arrived and laid the groundwork for development. Originally founded in 1888 under the name Abbott, Zephyrhills was officially established in 1910 by Captain Harold B. Jeffries and incorporated in 1914. The community was Florida’s second Union soldiers’ colony founded by federal army veterans, after St. Cloud in Osceola County.

The 1920s ushered in a period of prosperity, fueled by the Florida land boom and the arrival of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. The community persevered through the Great Depression and had a resurgence in the mid-20th century following World War II. Starting in the 1960s, the city gained recognition through the bottling and sale of local spring water by the Zephyrhills Water Corporation. In addition to its famous water, Zephyrhills has historically been regarded as a go-to destination for seasonal residents. Zephyrhills is also known worldwide as a major skydiving destination. Professional and recreational parachutists visit Zephyrhills from around the world to partake in ideal jump conditions and specialty aircraft. Today, the community stands as a testament to resilience, boasting a diverse population and a rich historical legacy.

Downtown Zephyrhills. Photograph provided by Kram Kran Photo

Main Street Zephyrhills works to preserve and promote the community’s historic 5th Avenue, which has long served as the epicenter for residents and is the city’s commercial hub, a travelers’ oasis, and community gathering place. Visitors encounter a welcoming atmosphere of small-town living with ready access to modern conveniences. The quaint, yet vibrant, downtown offers local shops, eateries, and gatherings, each offering a unique taste of the community’s character.

In addition, Main Street Zephyrhills has recently acquired the historic Home Theater, a landmark on 5th Avenue, ensuring that preservation remains a prominent theme throughout their Main Street district. The theater opened in 1948 and was touted as one of the most modern movie theaters in the South, featuring comfortable seats, a large stage, and a “crying room,” a glass enclosure for parents to tend to crying children during performances. Thanks to state funding allocated by the 2023 Florida Legislature, Main Street Zephyrhills was able to purchase the historic building and is fundraising for its preservation. The Main Street, in partnership with the CRA previously worked to preserve two other buildings in town, a 1940’s carriage house and the 1910’s era Jefferies House.

Since 1994, the city has contracted with Main Street Zephyrhills to organize fun, family-friendly activities that help cultivate the heart of the tight-knit community. These include the annual Founder’s Day Festival and Parade, the Halloween Howl, and the Festival of Lights & Christmas Parade, each of which draw thousands of attendees every year. Main Street Zephyrhills is supported by volunteers and is instrumental in spearheading public art initiatives such as the painting of murals on historic buildings, alleyways, and crosswalks in the city’s core district.

"We in Zephyrhills are incredibly excited to be recognized as the Florida Main Street Program of the Month,” said Antwon Gildon, the Executive Director of Main Street Zephyrhills. “We pride ourselves on maintaining our unique historic charm, while fostering opportunities for new and existing businesses of all flavors. We also look forward to drawing visitors from far and wide to our attractive events, continuing to place Zephyrhills on the map.”

For more information on Main Street Zephyrhills, visit or follow on Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more about the Florida Main Street program, visit or follow on Facebook and Instagram.




About Florida Main Street

Florida Main Street is a program administered by the Division of Historical Resources under the Florida Department of State, which currently oversees 54 communities throughout the state. By implementing the National Main Street Center’s Four-Point Approach, Florida Main Street encourages economic development within the context of historic preservation through the revitalization of Florida’s downtowns – the community’s heart and soul.