Boca Grande Historical Society Annual President’s Report for 2020-21
History Center Accomplishments
In 2018 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. Currently, we continue to receive existing and newly donated materials including the Gibson photographic collection. A donation of rare books was also recently acquired, it includes rare documents from the turn of the early 20th century relating to Boca Grande’s commercial history. We thank the Woman’s Club, Mark Spurgeon of Boca Grande Real Estate, Safety Harbor Builders, Daniel & Debby Booker, Mary Howell, Janice Karon, Kay Gibson, Marty McFadden, Jim and Rose Marie Blaha, Judy Doerr, Capt. Sandy Melvin, John and Nancy Peterson, and Mary and Bill Donahue for their support of our archives.
In addition, the History Center has had inquiries from other historical societies including Monticello, Michigan, Minnesota, Maryland, Wisconsin, Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, North Carolina, West Palm Beach, the Belleview Inn and Tennessee. Many 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 Programs 2020-21
Three Virtual Lectures sponsored by Hazeltine Nurseries:
- David Futch “The Official Unofficial History of Boca Grande.”
- Kaylie Stokes “An Oral History of Gasparilla Island’s Black Community.”
- Carl Abbott “Yale/The Sarasota School of Architecture.”
Florida History Alive: The Island School Virtual Programs:
- We continued the tradition of providing interactive history lessons exclusively for the students.
History Bytes sponsored by Bank of America Private Bank:
- Not Held due to COVID-19. We are looking forward to its return in 2022.
Two New Programs Launched
Let’s Talk About Florida: Virtual Book Discussions:
- A Land Remembered by Patrick Smith
- The Everglades A River of Grass
- Last Train to Paradise
Then And Now, Pop Up Photographic Road Show Exhibitions:
- Scenes from Boca Grande were brought together in a unique socially distanced format.
ISLAND ICONS: Places and People Virtual Historic Home Tour:
- The Crowninshield Pool Pavilion and Stable
- The Temptation and Its Murals
- Whitewash Alley House, home to Six Generations of Island Families
- Whiddens Marina and Maritime Museum
- Stories of Henry Francis du Pont and Family
- The Quarantine House
Thank You To Our Sponsors:
Ginny and Pete Nicholas, Safety Harbor Builders of Florida, LLC, Elsa and Peter Soderberg
Whitty Ransome and Tom Wilcox, Pam and Bob Heilman, Pauline Lord and David Harlow
Gina and Marty McFadden, Gulf to Bay Sotheby’s International Realty
COVID-19 And The Impact on Boca Grande:
In partnership with Island TV two documentaries were produced.
- COVID-19 And The Impact On Boca Grande
- COVID-19 Revisited: Boca Grande Strong
Membership, Donations, Sponsorships and Fund Raising Accomplishments – Increases in Fund Raising Are Appreciated and will support our Programs Planned for 2021-22
Membership this year has increased by more than 25 percent. We have redefined member benefits and have 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.
We have an investment account 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. 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 during the historic COVID-19 Pandemic. We look forward to sharing our Island’s history with you in person during the coming year.
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