Historic Markers Across Florida

J. K. Kelly House

Marker ID:  
Location: 410 West Main Street, Inverness, FL
County: Citrus
Coordinates: N 28° 50.169    W 082° 20.076
  28.83615    -82.3346
Style: Mounted **
Waymark: None


J. K. Kelly House

This two story wood frame Colonial Revival style residence features a beautiful verandah best suited for socializing on warm summer evenings was built in 1903, by James Keels Kelley. According to a 1936 Citrus County Chronicle article, J.K. Kelley was a County Commissioner (when Citrus and Hernando were one county), and a school board member. J.K. Kelley and Bonnie were married in Inverness, on November 26, 1902. Mr. Kelley was a mason, and an elder in the First Presbyterian Church where his wife was a charter member. He served on the Inverness City Council from 1923 to 1927. It seems Mr. Kelley is best remembered for his management of a turpentine still located at the southern end of town. The vast acreage of pine forests in Citrus County made it ideal for the turpentine industry. Prisoners were leased from the state as laborers in some stills. Pine sap was collected at the base of the tree, distilled, and stored in barrels for shipment. In the 1890’s a barrel of turpentine brought about $3.00, and was an important ingredient in varnish, paint, soap, explosives, ointments and even medicine. For a period of time, Mrs. Kelley operated “The Palm Rest Tourist Home” in the house. Sun rooms were added on the east side of the second floor for more space. Mr. and Mrs. Kelley lived in this house until it was purchased by Edward and Margaret Butts in 1961, when they relocated from Paducah, Kentucky. The Butts' described Inverness as “The Garden of Eden” when they settled with their two children, Mike and Suzanne. Mr. and Mrs. Butts, and later their son Mike, operated the Shell Gas Station across the street for 40 years, and remember many changes to Main Street, from a sleepy little town to a busy 4-lane commercial area. Edward Butts died in 1997, and his son Mike continues to run the tire and vehicle maintenance business in the Inverness area. At the time of this plaque dedication, “Miss Margaret” remains active in her church, volunteers at the 1912 Historic Courthouse, and takes pride in her home as one of the few remaining on Main Street.

May 2007
City of Invernss