HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
The Chasco Inn Building
Formerly the Havens/Swafford Building
This page was last revised on Dec. 1, 2017.
|The Havens Building was constructed in 1915, although according to
West Pasco’s Heritage it was completed in 1916. The
original owner of the building was Horace H. Havens (b., Sept. 17,
1867, Michigan; d. Feb. 14, 1948, Tampa).
The building apparently was not originally a hotel, as a December 1918 Port Richey Post lists guests only at other hotels. A January 1916 newspaper reported that New Port Richey had only two hotels, presumably the Sass Hotel and Hotel Newport.
An undated photo shows Emil Nyman, owner of The Standard Grocery, standing in front of his grocery store in the Havens Building. It appears that “HAVENS 1915” is painted at the top of the front of the building.
A photo showing the building taken during the first Chasco Fiesta in 1922 shows a sign “Rialto European” on the west side of the building. The sign also seems to say “H. H. Havens, prop.,” but the sign is difficult to read in the photo.
On Aug. 28, 1925, the New Port Richey Press reported:
The Swafford Building was constructed on the same site as the Havens Building by Mort Swafford in 1926.
(A marker formerly positioned on the front of the Chasco Inn Building claimed that the building was the oldest commercial building in downtown New Port Richey. This claim rests on the premise that it is actually the same building as the earlier H. H. Havens Building, and that the building was merely remodeled in 1926. However, a sign saying “SWAFFORD 1926” appeared on the front of the building in 1926.)
On Feb. 12, 1926, the New Port Richey Press reported:
A post card photo captioned “New Port Richey, Fla., Sunday, October 3, 1926” shows Main Street, and the Swafford building is visible with a scoreboard erected beside it. The New Port Richey Press showed the same photo the following year, with the caption: “The World’s Series was shown by electric scoreboard last fall, and cars lined Main Street each day to follow the progress of the games. It was through the enterprise of Charles W. Reed, proprietor of The Hub, that residents here were afforded this treat. The scoreboard may be seen, set against the Swafford Building, adjoining The Hub Billiard Parlor.”
On March 4, 1927, the New Port Richey Press carried a photo of the Swafford building with the caption:
A second photo of Main Street, published in the same newspaper, shows the sign “Harmony Hotel” on a corner of the building.
On January 20, 1928, the New Port Richey Press showed a photo of the Swafford Building with the caption:
On Feb. 7, 1930, the New Port Richey Press carried a photo of the building with the caption:
On Oct. 16, 1931, the New Port Richey Press reported:
[The above article, of course, has it backwards: the name Chasco in the Indian legend is taken from the name of the river.]
On Dec. 28, 1934, the Evening Indepenent reported, “The Chasco Inn, under the management of McCounich and Dreyer, is now open for the public. The Chasco Inn was formerly operated by Mrs. Mozell Priest who a few weeks ago moved to Bradenton.”
On Feb. 28, 1936, the New Port Richey Press carried a photograph of the building with the caption: “The Chasco Inn, splendid New Port Richey hotel, which reopened last Sunday and is now enjoying a fine business. It is a fine place to stop and its rates are most moderate.”
On Nov. 6, 1946, the New Port Richey Press reported: “Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Mitchell, proprietors of the Chasco Inn the past three years, recently sold their property to Michael Fame of Lynn, Mass., who will operate the hostelry.”
On Dec. 10, 1948, the New Port Richey Press reported: “M. H. Fame recently sold the Chasco Inn building to Dr. and Mrs. Louis J. Colman of Tampa, who are now engaged in making extensive improvements on the Inn, which Dr. Colman hopes to have completed by Christmas to take care of late-comers to Florida. Dr. Colman is a native of France and a graduate of Universities of Berlin, Rome, and Paris. Following World War I he was an outstanding plastic surgeon known throughout Europe and with his own hospital in Paris.”
On Oct. 14, 1949, the New Port Richey Press reported that Dr. and Mrs. Louis J. Colman sold the Chasco Inn to Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Franklin, longtime residents of Tampa. The newspaper reported that Dr. Colman had returned to his residence in Coral Gables to resume his practice of medicine and organize a resort for the blind.
On Mar. 3, 1950, the New Port Richey Press reported that as of Feb. 24 the Chasco Inn was taken over from Dr. Colman by Mr. and Mrs. Tom H. Youngblood of St. Petersburg.
On Sept. 5, 1952, the New Port Richey Press reported that Dr. Colman had returned to New Port Richey and again has taken over the ownership of the Chasco Inn.
According to a marker on the building exterior, William and Margaret Weiskopf became proprietors of the Chasco Inn in 1957. Mrs. Weiskopf died in 2001. Her obituary stated that she and her husband owned and operated Weiskopf’s Camera Shop & Studio, Weiskopf Travel Agency, and the Chasco Inn.
In 1974, West Pasco’s Heritage stated that the building housed a bus terminal and several businesses, with rented rooms on the second floor.
Today, offices occupy the second floor of the Chasco Inn building. The walls have been covered with drywall, but the pine wood floors and balustrades on the stairs remain. The cupola which was added in 1925 or 1926 brings natural light onto the second floor. In 2005, the building was undergoing repairs.