To learn the history of Masaryktown, one needs first to learn about a Czechoslovakian community in New York City. Namely, one needs to look at a Czechoslovakian newspaper named The New Yorsky Dennik. In 1924, the paper’s editor, Joseph Joscak, devoted several articles to extolling the virtues of life in Florida. For many in the New York Czech community, Joscak’s articles were describing paradise. An extended, rewarding farming season was a much easier life than the coal mines, steel mills and factories that many within the community were used to.
Joscak’s close friend Klement Ihrisky worked with him in gathering information about starting a farming community in Florida. On September 15, 1924, a meeting was held in New York City where the two of them assembled like-minded individuals to discuss purchasing land to start a community. They originally wanted to purchase a parcel of land out by Orlando, but they found the land too swampy. They decided instead on a tract ten miles south of Brooksville in Hernando County. This land is what would eventually become Masaryktown. They group founded a corporation through which to handle the transaction. The company came to be known as the Hernando Plantation Company.
When the original shareholders first set foot on their new land, they found that they would have a hard time clearing it for farming. There was no place for them to stay initially, so they went north into Brooksville and were taken in by some gracious residents. As they began to build their new community, they named it Masaryktown after the first president of Czechoslovakia, Thomas Garrigue Masaryk. They named the north and south-running streets after American presidents and the east and west-running streets after famous Czech figures in history in culture.
As the town began to take shape, orange groves were planted. This did not end well for the new inhabitants however, as the groves died off within two winters. Many residents abandoned the town at that point. Those who insisted on continuing to remain farmers instead of finding new professions struggled in finding a sustainable, marketable crop. This changed when poultry farmer, Stephen Otruba moved into the area from Aripeka. The farming sector of the community quickly shifted gears and thrived with their new enterprise. The poultry farmers formed the Hernando Egg Producers, Inc., in order to better organize and oversee production. The new company would eventually become the largest egg producer in the state. The community has stayed true to these roots all these years later. Their industrious spirit and work ethic have become one of the pillars of Hernando County.