Aripeka Historical Photo Galleries
Named after a Seminole medicine man who hunted and fished in the area during the 18th century, Aripeka remains a sleepy little fishing village today. Before the Aripeka Post Office was established in1895, the village went by the name of Gulf Key, then also Argo.
The Littell Family opened their fish camp in 1898. The camp and the family were mainstays in Aripeka for generations. With its natural beauty and quiet serenity, Aripeka has attracted many acclaimed artists over the years, most notably Jim Rosenquist and Leslie Neumann.
The Os-O-Waw Inn, a popular hotel from the 1920s until the 1960s when it burned down, was said to have been visited by Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey. A long-time landmark in Aripeka is the Norfleet general store and bait shop. It was built next to the Hammock Creek bridge by Jim and Bertha Norfleet in the 1940’s.
Norfleet's StoreJames Laverne and Bertha Mae Norfleet built this Aripeka landmark in the early 1940's. Beginning "on the bank" with the rental of two boats and the sale of bait minnows netted in the creek, the business soon grew into a popular grocery, bait and tackle, and general store. Photo, from about 1950, is courtesy of the Norfleet Family.
NorfleetBertha May (Kolb) Norfleet (1905-1974) with her seven children, posing inside the Pasco school bus driven by her husband James Laverne Norfleet, about 1947. The children are Verna Mae, Joe Allan, Wayne, Carl, Betty, John, and Carol Ann.
Fred's Fish HouseFred's Fish Market, about 1942. Fred Pearce operated this "fish house" at the north Hammock Creek Bridge from the mid-1930s to the early 1950s. A rugged commercial fisherman, Pearce braved all kinds of weather to catch seafood to stock his market. He was known throughout the region for his smoked mullet. Photo provided by the Norfleet family.
LittellCarrie Littell Stevens poses with an alligator captured outside her home on Hammock Creek, about 1900. Carrie and her husband Dan were members of early pioneer families who settled at Aripeka. Photo provided by the Norfleet family.
Community HallMen standing in front of the community hall in February 1960. Some of them have been identified as Harrison Force, Bill Carnel, Wilbur Rock, and perhaps Fred Pearce. Photo by Francis P. Johnson.
Babe Ruth CabinThis picture is from 1986. The cabin no longer exists. The sign on the tree at bottom reads, "Babe Ruth Cabin It was here at Uncle Pearl's[?] Fish Camp that Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey often played poker with Butch[?] Lynch."
"Tons upon tons of sea turtles and fish have been caught here, and more fish stories bragged[?] and exaggerated here than anywhere else in the U.S.A."
The wording on the sign could be exaggerated, too.