Pasco County was created on June 2, 1887, from the southern third of Hernando County. The same legislation also created Citrus County from the northern third of Hernando County. The county was named after Samuel Pasco, who had just been elected to the United States Senate.
Dade City was named the temporary county seat until a popular vote was held in 1889, at which time voters made Dade City the permanent county seat. As early as 1917, residents of the western part of the county proposed forming a separate county or merging with Pinellas County, as Dade City was not centrally located in the county. The issue was finally resolved in the late 1970s with the construction of identical government centers in both Dade City and New Port Richey.
The earliest towns were Anclote, Blanton, Dade City, Earnestville, Fort Dade (not to be confused with Fort Dade on Egmont Key), Macon (Trilby), Lacoochee, St. Leo, and San Antonio. Citrus was an important industry when the county was formed, although a decline followed a freeze in 1895. Several large sawmills operated in the county in the early part of the 20th century. During the Florida land boom of the 1920s, New Port Richey became the winter home of silent screen star Thomas Meighan and golfer Gene Sarazen; Meighan attempted to bring other Hollywood figures to the city. The county has experienced significant population growth since the 1960s. The growth began along the Gulf coast but is now occurring most rapidly in areas north of Tampa.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 868 square miles (2,250 km2), of which 747 square miles (1,930 km2) is land and 122 square miles (320 km2) (14.0%) is water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 344,765 people, 147,566 households, and 99,016 families residing in the county. The population density was 463 people per square mile (179/km²). There were 173,717 housing units at an average density of 233 per square mile (90/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.70% White, 2.07% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.94% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.52% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. 5.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 147,566 households out of which 23.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.60% were married couples living together, 8.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.90% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.77.
In the county, the population was spread out with 20.20% under the age of 18, 5.80% from 18 to 24, 24.10% from 25 to 44, 23.10% from 45 to 64, and 26.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 92.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,969, and the median income for a family was $39,568. Males had a median income of $30,974 versus $23,802 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,439. About 7.60% of families and 10.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.20% of those under age 18 and 7.70% of those age 65 or over.
Government and politics
Though the county seat is in Dade City, duplicate county government offices and court facilities are also located in the New Port Richey area on the west side of the county.
Politically, the county has been a swing area over the past quarter century. However, three of the last four elections have trended strongly Republican in Presidential elections, with 2008 being the exception. Although the GOP had the most votes in 2008, it was by a much smaller margin than the previous 2004 election or the subsequent 2012 and 2016 elections.
Presidential election results
Pasco County vote
by party in presidential elections
Pasco County Public Transportation provides bus service throughout Pasco County.
CSX operates three rail lines within the county. Dade City and Zephyrhills are served with a line from Plant City. Amtrak formerly provided passenger rail service to Dade City on that line, but the stop was terminated in late 2004. The other two lines include the Brooksville Subdivision which runs close to US 41 and the Vitis Subdivision, which runs southeast into Lakeland.
Notable abandoned railroad lines include a former branch of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad northwest of Trilacoochee (formerly Owensboro Junction) that became part of the Withlacoochee State Trail, a segment of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad branch stretching from Zephyrhills to Trilacoochee, another line along the east side of US 301 that spanned from Sulphur Springs to Zephyrhills, part of the Orange Belt Railway which became the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad which ran from St. Petersburg and entered the county in what is today Trinity to Trilby (abandoned during the early to mid-1970s), and a branch of the Seaboard Air Line that ran through Holiday, Elfers and into New Port Richey. This line was truncated to Elfers in 1943. The tracks from Elfers and Chemical (an industrial area in the extreme southwest part of the county along the Anclote River west of Holiday) to Tarpon Springs were removed in the late 1980s, leaving the western half of the county without rail service.
- Interstate 75 runs north and south across the eastern part of the county. Once a major connecting point with Tampa, I-75 has been made obsolete for western residents of the county by the Suncoast Parkway.
- Suncoast Parkway enters the county in the south halfway between Gunn Highway and US 41, and ends in the far northern part of the county at County Line Road (Exit 37), The Suncoast Parkway is a recently constructed toll road that connects Pasco County with Hillsborough County, where it becomes the Veterans Expressway and heads directly into Tampa International Airport before reaching Interstate 275. SR 589 has four Pasco County exits: SR 54 (Exit 19), Ridge Road Extension (Future Exit 24), SR 52 (Exit 27), and County Line Road (Exit 37).
- U.S. Route 19 is a major commercial center running beside to the Gulf of Mexico on the western edge of the county, and used as a primary connecting route to cities down the west coast of Florida, including Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg to the south, as well as Spring Hill, Weeki Wachee, Homosassa and Crystal River to the north.
Alternate 19 is a former section of US 19 that runs closer to the Gulf of Mexico in Pinellas and southern Pasco County than US 19.
- U.S. Route 41 (Land O' Lakes Boulevard) is the main south-to-north U.S. Highway through Central Pasco County. It enters the county from Lutz in Hillsborough County and serves as a commercial strip through most of Land O' Lakes. Further north the road becomes more rural, passing through Gowers Corner, and eventually enters Masaryktown at the Hernando County Line.
- U.S. Route 98 runs northwest and southeast from Hernando County to Polk County. Concurrent with US 301 between Trilacoochee and Clinton Heights.
- U.S. Route 301 (Fort King Highway/Gall Boulevard) is the main south-to-north U.S. highway in eastern Pasco County. It enters the county from Hillsborough River State Park in Hillsborough County and becomes the main road in Zephyrhills, Clinton Heights, and Dade City. North of Dade City, the road runs through Trilacoochee and Trilby before it enters Ridge Manor in Hernando County at a bridge over the Withlacoochee River.
- State Road 39 runs northwest and southeast from Plant City into US 301 in Zephyrhills
- County Road 41 (Fort King Highway/17th Street/21st Street/Blanton Road) begins as a hidden state road along US 301 until it branches off to the northwest as a county road in Zephyrhills and runs parallel to US 301 until it reaches Dade City. From here it moves further to the west through Blanton and Jessamine, and after crossing over I-75 curves back north into rural Hernando County where it becomes CR 541.
- County Line Road (CR 578) is a major county road running entirely along the border with Hernando County beginning at US 19, intersects the Suncoast Parkway, and ends at US 41. Due to increased congestion, it is planned to be upgraded from two to four lanes, and possibly upgraded from a county road to a state road.
- State Road 52 (Colonel Schrader Memorial Highway) an east-west route that runs primarily through the center of the county from US 19 in Bayonet Point to US 98-301 in Dade City.
- State Road 54 (Gunn Highway/Fifth Avenue) another east-west road that runs through southern Pasco County, from US 19 near Holiday to US 301 in Zephyrhills.
- State Road 56 is an east-west route that extends from SR 54 near Land O'Lakes, to just east of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and the new campus of Pasco–Hernando State College in Wesley Chapel. The road was constructed in 2002, and is planned, as of 2016 , to be extended to US 301 south of Zephyrhills.
- State Road 575 the northernmost state road in Pasco County.
- Bruce B. Downs Boulevard
- Rowan Road/East Lake Road (CR 77)
- Dale Mabry Highway
- Moon Lake Road/Decubellis Road/Massachusetts Avenue (CR 587) (N)
- Gunn Highway (CR 587) (S) is a short north and south extension of Gunn Highway(SR 54) that runs through Northern Hillsborough County towards Dale Mabry Highway and Busch Boulevard.
- Little Road (CR 1) is a major four to six lane county road in western Pasco County bypassing US 19 between southeast of Aripeka and Trinity.
- Trinity Boulevard (CR 996)
Public schools in the county are operated by Pasco County Schools.
The county has seen explosive growth in student enrollment, increasing from 46,458 students in the 1999-2000 year to 65,126 in the 2007-2008 year, an increase of 18,668 or 40.2%. The projected enrollment for the 2007-2008 was 64,674, so the actual enrollment was 452 students over the projection. Yearly, the school district has grown 2,489 or 5.4%, which has led to the building of one new school a year. The enrollment in 2017 is up to 73,538.
- Bayonet Point Middle School - New Port Richey
- Centennial Middle School - Dade City
- Charles S. Rushe Middle School - Land O' Lakes
- Chasco Middle School - Port Richey
- Crews Lake Middle School - Spring Hill
- Cypress Creek Middle School - Wesley Chapel
- Dr. John Long Middle School - Wesley Chapel
- Gulf Middle School - New Port Richey
- Hudson Middle School - Hudson
- Pasco eSchool
- Pasco Middle School - Dade City
- Paul R. Smith Middle School - Holiday
- Pine View Middle School - Land O' Lakes
- River Ridge Middle School - New Port Richey
- Raymond B. Stewart Middle School - Zephyrhills
- Seven Springs Middle School - New Port Richey
- Thomas E. Weightman Middle School - Wesley Chapel
- Anclote Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Bexley Elementary School - Land O' Lakes
- C. W. Taylor Elementary School - Zephyrhills
- Calusa Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Centennial Elementary School - Dade City
- Chasco Elementary School - Port Richey
- Connerton Elementary School - Land O' Lakes
- Cotee River Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Cypress Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Deer Park Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Denham Oaks Elementary School - Lutz
- Double Branch Elementary School - Wesley Chapel
- Fox Hollow Elementary School - Port Richey
- Gulf Highlands Elementary School - Port Richey
- Gulf Trace Elementary School - Holiday
- Gulfside Elementary School - Holiday
- Hudson Elementary School - Hudson
- J. M. Marlowe Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Lacoochee Elementary School - Dade City
- Lake Myrtle Elementary School - Land O' Lakes
- Longleaf Elementary School - New Port Richey
- M. P. Locke Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Mary Giella Elementary School - Shady Hills
- Moon Lake Elementary School - New Port Richey
- New River Elementary School - Wesley Chapel
- Northwest Elementary School - Hudson
- Oaksted Elementary School - Land O' Lakes
- Odessa Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Pasco Elementary School - Dade City
- Pine View Elementary School - Land O' Lakes
- Quail Hollow Elementary School - Wesley Chapel
- R. B. Cox Elementary School - Dade City
- Richey Elementary School - New Port Richey
- San Antonio Elementary School - Dade City
- Sand Pine Elementary School - Wesley Chapel
- Sanders Memorial Elementary School - Land O' Lakes
- Schrader Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Seven Oaks Elementary School - Wesley Chapel
- Seven Springs Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Shady Hills Elementary School - Spring Hill
- Sunray Elementary School - Holiday
- Trinity Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Trinity Oaks Elementary School - New Port Richey
- Veterans Elementary School - Wesley Chapel
- Watergrass Elementary School - Wesley Chapel
- Wesley Chapel Elementary School - Wesley Chapel
- West Zephyrhills Elementary School - Zephyrhills
- Wiregrass Elementary School - Wesley Chapel
- Woodland Elementary School - Zephyrhills
Special education centers
- F. K. Marchman Technical College - New Port Richey
- Harry Schwettman Education Center - New Port Richey
- James Irvin Education Center - Dade City
Colleges and universities
Pasco County Library Cooperative
The Pasco County Library Cooperative (PCLC) is the public library system that serves residents of Pasco County. It consists of seven branch libraries and one cooperative partner, the Zephyrhills Public Library. The Pasco County Libraries operated on a budget of $6,205,291 for fiscal year 2016-2017. Pasco Libraries circulated 2,623,024 items during that period. The head of library services reports to the Assistant County Administrator for Public Services.
Pasco County Library Cooperative Libraries
New Port Richey Public Library
The New Port Richey Public Library is located in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County. It is the only public library in Pasco County that is not a part of the Pasco County Library Cooperative. Since the library is independent, it issues its own library cards. Cards are free for all Pasco County residents and for those who pay property taxes to the city of New Port Richey. Members of libraries which have reciprocal borrowing agreements with the NPR library are also issued free cards.
Parks and recreation
Recreational areas include Hudson Beach, The New Port Richey Recreation & Aquatic Center, Odessa Community Park, Moon Lake Park, Land O'Lakes Heritage Park, Land O'Lakes Recreation Complex, Veterans Memorial Park, J. Ben Harrill Recreation Complex, the Jay Starkey Preserve, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, a section of the Suncoast Trail, a section of the Withlacoochee State Trail, Conner Preserve, Cypress Creek Preserve, Withlacoochee River Park, and Crews Lake Wilderness Park. Kayaking, canoeing, sailing, power boating, jet skiing, and fishing are popular along the coast, and large tracts are preserved from development.
Environmental lands acquired for preservation include Aripeka Sandhills Preserve, Boy Scout Preserve, Cypress Creek Preserve, Pasco County, Jumping Gully Preserve, Pasco Palms Preserve, Tierra Del Sol Preserve and Upper Pithlachascotee River Preserve.
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- ^ "Centennial Park Branch Library | Pasco Libraries" . www.pascolibraries.org. Retrieved 2015-11-30.
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Government links/Constitutional offices