By Eric Heubusch In his book called Brandon, Florida – Images in Time, Michael Wigh depicts the history of Brandon in words and pictures from the mid-1800s to the 1980s. Wigh gathered photos from a variety of sources to provide a vivid history of his hometown, and sees it as a gift to the people that live in it.
“We don’t have any other books on the collective history of Brandon and I wanted to capture that,” Wigh said. “I worked with many wonderful people who had the same hope in preserving our past.”
Wigh, who grew up in the Brandon area and graduated from Brandon High School in 1982, collected photos from families who would in turn refer them to other families. He found connections through former patrons of his grandparents’ grocery store, Bell’s Grocery, on present-day Lithia Pinecrest and S.R. 60 where Thornton’s now resides. Wigh’s mother pointed him to the former customers, and his father, friends with Brandon family descendants, was also a great resource.
“I reached out to families who have streets named after them – King, Westbrook, Lumsden, etc,” Wigh said. “I thought that would be interesting, to see what the streets are named for.”
Wigh was able to access yearbooks from the 1920s and on through his involvement in the Brandon High School Alumni Association. Wigh utilized the Hillsborough County public library system, as well as the University of South Florida’s.
Wigh has no intentions yet of writing another book, although he has said that young people have expressed interest in the change to modern-day Brandon from the 1980s, where the book concludes.
Brandon, Florida – Images in Time can be purchased at the Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association adjacent to Brandon Regional Library, Bill’s Prescription Center, and online on eBay and Amazon. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Center and the Brandon High School Alumni Association, both non-profit organizations.