Boca Grande Historical Society Annual Meeting Report for 2018‑19
History Center Accomplishments – More than 2500 people visit Center since November 2018
Last Fall we went live on our website with a portion of our archives providing the world with a look into historic photographs and materials of the island. In the first six months of its being on-line, the archives has attracted more than 240 users. At this time we continue to receive existing and newly donated materials at the rate of about 20 per week. We thank the Woman’s Club, Mark Spurgeon of Boca Grande Real Estate and Safety Harbor Builders for their support of our archives.
- Celebrated Railroad Week with a special preview of the new Boca Grande: Once A Railroad and Industrial Town exhibit for the island’s “early families.”
- Followed by a members event at the historic railroad depot and opening reception.
- Followed by a preview of the exhibit for students and faculty of The Island School.
- Followed by a lecture “A Tale of Two Phosphate Towns: Pierce and Boca Grande.”
- And finally followed the public opening of the exhibit. Since opening week, the History Center has hosted more than 2500 residents, visitors and especially children.
In addition, the History Center has had visits and inquiries from other historical societies including Monticello, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, Wisconsin, Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Many of the Historical Society visitors commented that the Boca Grande History Center should serve as a model of what small History Centers can accomplish in a limited space with few staff, volunteers and continued membership support.
Education/Outreach Accomplishments – More than 750 people attend Education Programs 2018‑2019
Four Lectures sponsored by Hazeltine Nurseries:
- Richard Fifer “A Tale of Two Phosphate Towns: Pierce and Boca Grande.”
- Carl Abbott “The Tropical Architecture of Carl Abbott.”
- Ryan M. Duggins, PhD “Recent Discovery: Archaeological Burial Pond Near Manasota Key.”
- Harold Bubil “Historic Florida Buildings I Love.”
Five History Bytes sponsored by U. S. Trust:
- Frank Newlin “Reflections of a Simpler Time.”
- Captain Van Hubbard “Let’s Go Fishing.”
- Marian Schneider “There’s a Captain in You.”
- Star Ford Whitney and Mills Ford “Our Love Affair with An Island.
- Hank Hendry “The Fort in Fort Myers.”
We repeated our successful collaboration with the Johann Fust Library and presented local history programs (Florida History Alive) to the entire student body and faculty of The Island School. This program will begin its third year in Fall 2019 and the school principal reports that the children look forward to future programs. And in November, 45 people enjoyed a boat trip down the Calusa Blueway and visit to the archeological sites of Pine Island’s Randell Center where the Calusa once lived.
With a grant from the Florida Humanities Council, in January 2019 we launched a phone app “Walk Boca Grande,” a ten-stop narrated historic tour of the town of Boca Grande. So far, the app has been downloaded by almost 500 people. Download instructions are available on the website (bocagrandehistoricalsociety.com), at the History Center and the Chamber of Commerce. The app is free in your app store.
Membership, Donations, Sponsorships and Fund Raising Accomplishments – Increases in Fund Raising Are Appreciated and Result in Additional Programs Planned for 2019‑2020
Membership this year has increased by more than 10 percent. We have redefined member benefits and added several categories of membership. We recently distributed a survey to learn more about your participation in the Society and will use your responses to guide us in the future. We have received positive feedback from island businesses to our addition of corporate membership. Donations have increased and are sincerely appreciated and many are now coming via our website.
More than 500 people enjoyed our semi-annual home tour, luncheon and lecture raising money to support our History Center, Archives and Educational programs. We thank everyone who participated in the tour and especially thank the Hill Tide Estates, BCB Homes, Seagate Development Group and other business and private sponsors for underwriting the event. It appears we will exceed our revenue budget this fiscal year while controlling expenses so are on solid financial footing.
For the first time we have an endowment fund which continues to grow. This resulted from several generous bequests from long-time supporters. Thank you to these donors and to those who are including us in their planned giving. We remind you that we are able to accept gifts of stock through the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Please contact the History Center for additional information. We thank all our members for their support during the current fiscal year and for investing in the preservation of our history.