Random Facts about Pasco County, Florida
At the southern tip of the Nature Coast and the northern edge of Tampa Bay, Pasco County is an outdoor lover’s paradise that offers a great eco-tourism and outdoor adventure alternative to the typical theme-park experience. Close to major cities, the area boasts 20 miles of shoreline to the west, hilly terrain to the east, and more than 100,000 acres of pristine wilderness to explore in between.
You may be familiar with Pasco County, Florida, but did you know these five random facts?
1) Johnny Cash & June Carter-Cash had a Vacation Home in Port Richey
Johnny Cash, the legendary country music artist, will forever be remembered as the “Man in Black,” but here in Port Richey, he shed the dark duds for shorts, T-shirts and a fishing pole. Family ties brought Johnny Cash to Port Richey back in the 1960s, where his mother-in-law, country singing matriarch Maybelle Carter, owned a riverside house on Sunset Boulevard. Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, inherited the property in 1979, a year after Maybelle Carter died. On numerous occasions Cash performed benefit shows to help out the local law enforcement agency as well as others. He was a regular at Korman’s Marina where he would stop in and pick up bait to take out to his friend’s Fish Camp right on the Gulf.
2) Stilt Houses/Fishing Camps- Port Richey, FL.
The early history of the stilt houses off the Coast of Pasco County is unclear. The first stilt houses were thought to have been erected between 1916 and 1918 to shelter fishermen and store the mullet they caught in nets, which is why many refer to them as fishing camps. At one point in time there were roughly 24 stilt houses off the coast of Port Richey, until Hurricane Gladys destroyed almost all of them in October 1968. Some of the owners were allowed to rebuild and through the years had to fight for their rights to keep their fishing camps.
3) Highest Number of Residential Nudist Resorts in the United States
If you’re thinking about exposing yourself to new things, look to Pasco County, Florida. The county boasts the largest nudist and clothing-optional communities in North America, with 12 different resorts to choose from. That means everything from posh resorts and low-key RV parks, to year-round activities that cater to anyone wanting to bare it all. You don’t have to be a nudist per se to experience what it’s all about. You’ll find college students, empty-nesters and bucket-listers all looking for some liberating adventures of their own — as well as nudists (also known as naturists).
4) Al Pacino played Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero in “Donnie Brasco,” a movie based on the Mafia being ran out of Port Richey.
In the late 1970s early 1980s the FBI called its Pasco presence “Operation Coldwater,” in honor of an alleged low-level thug of the Gambino crime family named James Vincenzo Acquafredda in New Port Richey. Undercover agents got in on the ground floor with the Mafia and worked on the case for years.
The cameras rolled as Rossi and another agent, “Donnie Brasco,” reeled in their fish. On March 26, 1980, they caught a mid-sized one when a lieutenant of the Bonanno family named Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero paid a visit. Soon after, the feds ended Coldwater. The evidence they had gathered contributed to indictments in New York and Milwaukee. In April 1983, a federal grand jury in Tampa indicted a dozen more members. Agent “Donnie Brasco” went on to write a book by that title, which became a Hollywood movie starring Al Pacino as Lefty.
5) New Port Richey, FL to be the next Hollywood
In the 1920s it seemed possible that New Port Richey, Florida, might become another Hollywood. Silent screen, Broadway and motion picture stars were purchasing property and building mansions on the Pithlachascotee River, while many other stars stayed at the Hacienda Hotel. There were plans for films to be made in the area and for a theater to go up. Unfortunately, the actors’ hair and makeup couldn’t hold up to the Florida humidity. New Port Richey wasn’t the next Hollywood, but at least it could be a winter residence for Hollywood stars.