Audubon Florida News

Florida’s Special Places: Chinsegut Hill in Hernando County

posted on July 22, 2011 in FL Special Places

This historic nominee for Florida’s Special Places comes from Audubon’s Chrisite Anderberg in Hernando County. She nominates the beautiful Chinsegut Hill. Enjoy:

This is Chinsegut Hill, the manor house is on 114 acres, in a high priority greenway, is on the national historic register, is a Florida Heritage site.

It is the core of thousands of acres in Hernando/Citrus counties of land owned and managed by US Department of Agriculture, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Department of Forestry, and Florida Audubon’s Ahhochee Hill. Historically, over 2,000 acres were owned by the Robins family. Lisa von Borowsky worked for them from 1924 until Mr Robins died in 1954. Mr. Robins family owned Ahhochee Hill and gave it to Lisa. In 1932 the Robins donated over 2000 acres to the US government, in part for a wildlife refuge.

Over the years the house and surrounding land became owned by the State and was leased to the USF as a conference center. Two years ago, USF gave notice to DEP that they no longer wanted to manage the property. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) first gave notice that the property was available to lease two years ago. July 1, DEP gave a second notice that expires this week. If no interest is shown in the property, DEP could put it up for private sale, which would remove it from public use and enjoyment.

The Friends of Chinsegut Hill have submitted a letter of interest to DEP and are exploring partnerships and funding sources to Save the Hill!


  1. Condemning Chinsegut Hill to private use would be to deny the vision that Col. and Mrs. Robins envisioned when they left this wonderful property to the public. Too much of old Florida has been sacrificed on the altars of greed and development. Chinsegut Hill is a wonderful venue for the public to visit and enjoy the refreshing beauty and ambiance of majestic oaks, virgin pines,Florida wildlife along with inner peace and solitude.

    Comment by Wayne Sistrunk — July 23, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  2. Chinsegut has it all! Historic context within Florida history, stunning landscape and landmark features, a fascinating social history where interesting Americans lived and worked, wildlife habitat, high elevation providing a vista from the backbone of our State, existing structures to continue in use as a conference/retreat center. It is a destination just waiting to be discovered and embraced. Let’s all do whatever we are able to support the Audubon leadership and Friends of Chinsegut Hill. This is a treasured place to preserve and maintain for public use.

    Comment by Terry Fortner — July 23, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

  3. This property is a gem!!! So rich in history! This landmark property should remain with the public, not for private enterprise. Once it is sold, it will never be the same and the vision of the original owners will be lost.

    Comment by Pam Yanco — July 23, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

  4. Chinsegut Hill is a wonderful piece of property left available to the public by the original owner~let’s not miss an opportunity to have it still available for public use. Once you give it away, you’ll never have it back!

    Comment by Paula Terry — July 23, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  5. I would like to visit the site. For those of us unfamiliar with the place, a taste of the historic cultural resources and the natural communities found there will surely “win the soul”.

    I visited the link to the Audubon posting and found it informative!

    Comment by Tim Marshall — July 24, 2011 @ 5:55 am

  6. Chinsegut Hill is a wonderful icon of Old Florida’s natural history that should remain for public use and preservation as was the vision of the of the owner’s who graciously donated it to the public and future generations.

    Comment by Jason and Rebecca LaRoche — July 24, 2011 @ 7:28 am

  7. Few sites in Florida are as rich in history as Chinsegut Hill–or offer such a beautiful setting, with the old manor house (dating back to the 19th century) surmounting the Brooksville Ridge and looking out over a vast landscape of forests, lakes and pastures. We owe it to future generations to preserve this irreplaceable landmark and to provide the public with access to it.

    Comment by Jill and Al Svoboda — July 24, 2011 @ 12:37 pm

  8. Talk about a SENSE of PLACE!

    Comment by Jacqui Sulek — July 25, 2011 @ 7:29 am

  9. I think it should be put up for a private sell. I don’t want it to sit down and go ruins.

    Comment by Anonymous — July 25, 2011 @ 9:53 am

  10. My personal goal for Chinsegut Hill has always been National/Florida History for elementary school kids. 4th graders should all come for Sunshine Standards and learn how incredibly influential Margaret and Raymond Robins were in shaping National Policies that we all benefit from yet today. Just to name a few: children’s labor laws, women’s voting rights, labor unions. Raymond advised six presidents and ironically, it was under FDR that he signed over his property to US gov. when FDR was the one he didn’t support economically. With his non-discrimination towards Blacks, he helped usher in Civil Rights by ignoring Jim Crow laws.

    Comment by Sid Taylor — July 27, 2011 @ 9:51 am

  11. Let us sit back and reflect on this wonderful place called Chinsegut Hill.
    A source of local history that needs to persevere for generations to come.
    To be lost to private use would indeed be a shame.

    Comment by Rita Grant — July 27, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  12. Chinsegut Hill.
    Indeed a place to enjoy , do not let this history lesson slip away .
    Comment by Tony Maggiore

    Comment by amaggiore — July 27, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

  13. As a nature photographer, I visited Chinsegut Hill for the first time when I heard about Great Horned Owls nesting in the beautiful oaks. I immediately fell in love with the house, the grounds, the birds and wildlife; all that Chinsegut Hill has to offer! Being a member of The Friends of Chinsegut Hill is very rewarding in that we are able to share with others the fantastic history, the beauty and the peaceful feeling you get when sitting in a rocker on the porch watching a beautiful sunset on “The Hill”. Chinsegut Hill is a historic gem to be enjoyed by all!

    Comment by Myrna Erler-Bradshaw — July 27, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

  14. It would be a shame to lose this property to private use. It is unique, with a beautiful view. A good place to go birding in the spring in the big oaks,

    Comment by Linda Vanderveen — July 29, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

  15. Chinsegut Hill has been one of my places to take visitors. It is a place of natural scenic beauty and history. It is a great old Florida history classroom as well a tranquil place to step back into the past and come away refreshed.

    Comment by Kristin Wood — July 30, 2011 @ 10:03 am

  16. Chinsegut Hill is a wonderful place to learn about history of this part of Florida, as well as to enjoy the beautiful grounds. The Friends of the Hill have offered great programs that should be continued and expanded. The Hill has potential to generate revenue for maintenance in a variety of ways, and should be preserved and promoted as a cultural treasure.

    Comment by Jude Simpson — August 1, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  17. Chinsegut Hill is a treasure that we can’t afford to lose. It could be such a valuable educational resource for our children with its interesting history and its abundant natural resources. The grounds make a perfect place for a peaceful retreat. The fact that there are cabins available make this resource available for everyone, not just the local community. The word Chinsegut loosely means “the place where things of true value that have been lost may be found again.” We must find a way not to lose this treasure.

    Comment by Lee-Anne Shoeman — August 3, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  18. Someone Bid Please !

    Comment by Ralf Brookes — August 4, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

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