By Kathy L. Collins

In 1995, New Horizons Group Home started a tradition that continues today. Each year, members of the Board of Directors and others select a historical Brandon landmark. A beautiful, keepsake ornament is then designed and created by Laura Eisenberg, an artist and member of the board.

According to Peter Watkins, President of the Board of Directors for New Horizons, “We choose a site, research it and then interview people who have memories of the site. If family members are available, we have them approved the design.”

The first ornament in 1995 depicted the James Brandon Homestead now known as Stowers Funeral Home. The 2012 ornament is a beautiful illustration of the Brandon Chamber of Commerce.

The ornaments, with the exception of a few that are out of stock, are for sale throughout the year at ten local businesses in the greater Brandon area.

New Horizons Group Home was established in 1992 when parents, teachers and friends of members of the Special Education Department of First Baptist Church in Brandon identified a need for long-term living facilities for adults with developmental disabilities. There are two homes, one for women and one for men.

For more information on the ornaments, visit or call 571-2690.Osprey Observer will be running a series of feature stories on the landmarks, watch for them in future editions or online at

The ornaments from 1996 through 2011 depict various landmarks including: the Brandon Depot circa 1910 (1996); the Brandon School circa 1914 (1997); Sharrar’s General Store circa 1922 (1998); the Brandon Woman’s Club circa 1928 (1999); the Brandon Methodist Church (2000); Mulrennan Groves (2001); First Baptist Church of Brandon “Born in the Heart” circa 1930 (2002);Valrico Civic Center founded in 1915 and now known as the James McCabe Theatre, (2003); Walter S. Yates Elementary School, the area’s first stand-alone elementary school which opened in 1954 (2004); Brandon Supply Company circa 1932 (2005); Bill’s Prescription Center, founded in 1956 and still in operation on Brandon Blvd. (2006); Martin’s Jeweler’s, founded in 1954 and still in business at 684 Oakfield Dr. (2007); Limona Improvement Association (2008); Scogin’s Department Store, in business from 1949 until 2000 (2009); Hamp’s Garage, in business from 1928 until 1957 (2010); and Carey Cattle Company, located where Westfield Brandon Mall now stands.


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