I was very mad. A collection of the history of naturism here in Florida was burned up intentionally. How could someone do that?
The year was 2004. As office manager for a large naturist resort here in Pasco County, I had learned many good and bad things, but this was over the top. I vowed this type of thing would never happen again. My search began with putting the word out. A collection of historic items, stories, trophies, awards, magazines and articles was begun.
And it grew.
The search for our common history was begun in all the older buildings, on the Internet, via personal interviews and any other place where historic information about the formation of the 12 naturist venues here in Pasco County could be found. The collection started to grow big. It started to grow so large I was concerned that I would have to move out or worse have my friends point fingers at me to say I am a hoarder.
A watertight storage place with air handling was found on the grounds of our naturist resort and the collection was moved—saving my home. It has been 8 years now and the collection continues to grow along with the many stories of the past. The number of interviews have increased to dozens and some of those interviewed have passed on. Their materials have added to this vast collection, as well. The effort continues to this day.
This column will attempt to explain how naturism began in Pasco County. From its early beginnings in the 1930s to today's "Naturist Capital USA" there have been many steps along the way and I will explain as much as I can find out.
My own naturism history began at age 10 when a large naturist gathering was held at the beach/woods behind my house. I asked the question, "Hey, why are all those families naked and having a great time but we do not do that?"
Of course, the answer never came.
I became a computer engineer and then watched as the Internet was born in the early 1980s. I noticed that the first five chat rooms were technical in nature and the sixth one was Nudism in America. The chat room was about organized naturism—and I was hooked. Today we have a naturist portal at PANDAbare.org for all things naturism in Pasco County.
Take a look. You may like it.
Editor's Note: Lee Gregory is a Pasco County naturist historian. We look forward to featuring his new monthly column on Land O' Lakes Patch.