Early Residents of Pasco County – I


Early Residents of Pasco County

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This page was last revised on June 22, 2018.

James Irwin JAMES BENSON IRWIN (1930-1991), an astronaut who walked on the moon in 1971, lived in New Port Richey briefly. He arrived here with his parents and younger brother in September 1941; they lived in a house on the Boulevard. He attended Pierce Elementary School in the sixth grade for half of the day at Gulf High School as a seventh grader for half of the day. He is pictured in the 1942 Gulf High School yearbook in the seventh grade. After his moon landing he devoted his life to Christian evangelism and stated that he had accepted Christ at a revival held at First Baptist Church in New Port Richey when he was 11 years old. He spoke at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the church on July 9, 1972, and visited the city again in 1979 and in the 1980s. In 1972, the father of James Irwin wrote in a letter: “In September 1941 we purchased a home on Main St. from Fred Howard who had been mayor of the city, Mr. Howard and his wife were living in it. We bought it furnished. They moved out and went to Tarpon Springs where he had accepted a position as city manager. Main Street was then the only paved street in the city. The boys attend the public schools. I could not find work in New Port Richey, however, so I took a job as steam fitter at the Orlando air base and had to commute weekends. After the boys were out of school we moved to Orlando, where I had been advanced to steam fitter foreman over the whole base. It was difficult to sell the house, so we rented it for 3 months and finally had to sell it at a loss.” Mr. Irwin apparently meant the Boulevard, rather than Main Street.

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