Portals of Paradise – A Boca Grande Timeline
This timeline is intended to aid docents and visitors to the Boca Grande History Center as they journey through the unique history of Gasparilla Island. Previously written timelines have been combined with the results of additional research in order to provide a more comprehensive timeline. Please note that this timeline is a “work in progress” and, also, different source materials often contain conflicting dates for specific events and developments which contributed to Boca Grande’s rich history. Your corrections, comments and suggestions are welcome and can be emailed to email@example.com.
—Compiled by James J. Blaha, Boca Grande History Center
Last Updated: 8/10/2023
Special thanks to Kim Kyle, BGHS Administrative Director, for devoting time to proofreading the initial drafts of Edition 2.
~40 million Years Ago
Florida emerges from the sea.
Gasparilla Island in its present location is not more than 3500 years old.
~2000 Years Ago
People began utilizing the island’s resources.
Archaeological sites found here date from circa 300 to the Seminoles of the 1830s.
Early people later became known as Calusa.
Over 12,000 years of indigenous Native American culture disappeared within 200 years after first contact with the Spanish explorers in the 1500s.
By mid 1700s the Calusa had vanished from the area; other Indian groups fleeing from the north arrived and occupied the area formerly used by the Calusa.
1765: Survey of the Area by George Gauld
1772: Survey of the Area by Bernard Romans
1783: Survey of the Area by Jose Antonio de Evia
United States Acquires “The Floridas” under the Treaty of 1821 with Spain
Artificial Manure Manufacturing
English agriculturist, Sir John Bennet Lawes, patented artificial manure manufactured by combining mineral phosphate with sulphuric acid; served as catalyst for world wide development of fertilizer industry.
Florida becomes a state
U.S. War department recommends that Gasparilla Island and part of Cayo Costa become a military reserve.
Federal government releases reserve lands on Gasparilla Island for homesteading
Peacons Cove Operated (East Shore Acre)
Phosphate was discovered in the lower peace river valley
Peace River Phosphate Mining Company buys phosphate-rich land along Peace River
Phosphate was Transported Down the Peace River
Phosphate was transported down the Peace River to Charlotte Harbor in barges where it was transferred onto ocean-going ships near the deep water of Boca Grande Pass.
Story told that changed Boca Grande; sportsman from New York caught a 93-pound tarpon at mouth of Caloosahatchee river; created tourism and had an immense economic impact on S.W. Florida, including Boca Grande.
Fish Drying and Salting “Ranch”
Set up at north end of Gasparilla Island by captain Peacon from Key West (“peekin’s cove”).
Split Into Two Counties
Lee & Desoto counties carved out of Monroe (Lee) and Manatee (Desoto) counties, splitting Gasparilla Island into two separately governed areas, with Desoto County to the north and Lee County to the south.
The First Pilots
Captain W.H. Johnson and Will Johnson sailed from Punta Gorda to Gasparilla Island and became the first pilots for the area.
Formation of Boca Grande Pilots Association
Hard Rock Phosphate Found in Marion County
1889-1891: Albert Gilchrist bought 618 acres on Gasparilla Island for $8500
No Less Than Twelve Companies Were Mining in the Peace River Bed
The American Agricultural Chemical Company
The American Agricultural Chemical Company incorporates in Connecticut; acquires controlling stock in Peace River Phosphate Mining Company.
Phosphate Mining Begins in Bone Valley
Boca Grande Lighthouse Constructed
Florida Quarantine Service Builds House at South Boca Grande for Quarantine Officers
Quarantine House/Pilot Station Built on Boca Grande
Florida Legislature Passes an Act Regulating the Removal of Phosphate From Navigable Streams
1893-1894: Number of Mining Companies in Peace River Bed Dwindles to Four
W.M. Truax Employed to Teach at Boca Grande School
W.M. Truax employed to teach at Boca Grande School for $2.50 per pupil; no building provided by school board; building provided by citizens until 1908.
Four Surviving River Mining Companies Consolidated Into the Peace River Phosphate Mining Company
Bradley Fertilizer Works of Massachusetts
Bradley Fertilizer Works of Massachusetts buys a controlling interest in Peace River Phosphate Company.
First Quarantine Station Built at Gasparilla Island South End Near Boca Grande Pass
Albert Gilchrist Filed First of Four Plats in Town of Boca Grande
The “Alfafia, Manatee, & Gulf Coast Railway” Company Was Incorporated Under Florida Law
Bradley Family Organizes the A.A.C.Co
Bradley family organizes the A.A.C.Co, America’s first fertilizer conglomerate; high grade phosphate rock discovered near the town of Mulberry in Polk County.
Ice House Built in Punta Gorda
Captain I.W. Johnson
Captain I.W. Johnson, a Harbor Pilot and his brother W.H. Johnson take up residence in South Boca Grande.
Quarantine Station Abandoned; New Quarantine Station Built
The U.S. Quarantine Station on Gasparilla Island is abandoned; new quarantine station built at north end of Cayo Costa.
L.M. Fouts Made Second Vice President and Manager of Peace River Phosphate Mining Company
Steamboat “Mistletoe” from Tampa Lands on Boca Grande
Steamboat “Mistletoe” from Tampa lands on Boca Grande with engineers and laborers to start work of surveying and constructing the CH & N Railroad Line.
A.A.C.Co Begins Construction of New Railroad (CH&N)
1906-1907: Jones Fishery Moves from Placida to Gasp. Village
1906-1913 A.A.C.Co. Purchase Several Fertilizer Plants
1906-1913 A.A.C.Co. increase their holding in the south by purchasing several well-established fertilizer plants.
Peter B. Bradley Became President of the AACC (A.A.C.Co)
Knight Family Comes to Boca Grande
Alafaia, Manatee & Gulf Railroad Company
Alafaia, Manatee & Gulf Railroad Company applied to State of Florida for right of way over northern Desoto County (now Charlotte County) Portion of Gasparilla Island; Later will forfeit all rights to railroad grants from State of Florida.
A.A.C.Co Establishes the American Phosphate Mining Company; Incorporates the Boca Grande Land Company
Railroad Completed from Boca Grande to Arcadia
Wooden Frame R.R. Depot Erected (Park & Fourth Streets)
Boca Grande Land Company & Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railway Company
Boca Grande Land Company’s first conveyances of property granted to the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railway Company.
Plat Document Reserves a Gulf-To-Bayou Strip In The Current Location Of The Gasparilla Inn, Confirming Plans To Build A Luxury Hotel
River Phosphate Mining Operations All but Cease in Favor of Land Mining
Gus Cole Builds Home for Family (Cole Island)
Second of Four Plats of Boca Grande Was Recorded by the Boca Grande Land Company
LBPI (Lee County) Rented School Space from 1908-1911
Boca Grande Land Company Leased Part of Military Reserve
Boca Grande Land Company leased part of military reserve for a rental of $10 per year; Designated for “park purposes” to protect the island from lease-out to “undesirable elements”.
New Plat for Boca Grande Filed in Lee County
New plat for Boca Grande filed in Lee County revising the street layout of the town site and adding a wide street named Gulf Boulevard.
Officers of the Boca Grande Land Company Decide to Build a Resort Hotel
Depot Replaced by Larger Brick Structure at New Location
Powerhouse Constructed by A.A.C.Co.
Red Gill Fish House Built
Red Gill Fish House built on a long dock at the end of First Street (1926 became part of Whidden’s Seafood Market).
Post Office Established (Gasparilla Village)
Construction of Hotel Boca Grande Begins (Later Becomes Gasparilla Inn)
Methodist Church Chartered and Organized
Black Workers Begin Moving into Area
Black workers begin moving into area to work in shipyard, train yard, and fishing and building industries as well as serving as maids, gardeners, and caretakers for wealthy families.
Formal Organization of Baptist Church Began
Deep Artesian Wells Are Dug in Boca Grande
(CH&N) R.R. Main Line Completed between Boca Grande and Town of Achan
1910-1911 Trolley Service Began
Ended 1920; ran from depot to south end; cost 20 cents round trip; recharged at power house overnight
1911-1912: The Gasparilla Inn Opens
Sleeping Car Service
Sleeping car service is inaugurated between Jacksonville and Boca Grande (pullman cars).
A.A.C.Co. Completes Building of Phosphate Loading Facility
Original Boca Grande School Built
First & Gilchrist
Bank Building Opened
Fourth Street and East Railroad; L.M. Fouts & Sons Bankers
Boca Grande School Closed for a Smallpox Scare
Thomas Lowe and Family Moves to Peacon’s Cove and Later to Gasparilla Village
Automated Phosphate Loader
Automated phosphate loader at Port Boca Grande in full operation
First Cargo Ship Loaded
Gasparilla Inn Enlarged
Enlargement designed by renowned architect Francis J. Kennard of Tampa
Boca Grande Mercantile Company Opens
Fifth and Final Conveyance to the Ch & N in Boca Grande
Palmetto Inn Opens on Palm Avenue
Francis and Louise Crowninshield First Visited Gasparilla Island
Black Community Agrees to Provide Building for Black School
Space first rented from churches on the island
The Ch & N Completes All Track Construction and Enlarges the Boca Grande Passenger Station/Office
“Journey’s End” Built at W. 18th Street
1914-1915: Gasparilla Village Flourishes
Ch & N Builds Two Ice Houses
in Gasparilla Village
Second Story Added to School Building
so that the school could qualify to be a junior high school
Shallow Wells Yielding Potable Water Dug
Pelican Club (Fishing) Formed at the Gasparilla Inn
Baptist Church Sanctuary Was Constructed
First Black School Opened at South Boca Grande
Mercantile Building Partially Damaged by Fire
Jefferson Gaines (Senior) Comes to Boca Grande
Worked for Ch & N as a laborer
1916-1917: Gasparilla Inn Enlarged
Peacon Fish Ranch Closed
First Fugates Drug Store Opens
in Thompson building
Gulf Boulevard, South of First Street, Built by Lee County
“Gasparilla Outfitters & Special Effects” Building Built on Park Avenue
(Circa) Quick Hotel Opens for Business on Palm Avenue
Boca Grande Methodist Church Hosts Major Florida Revival Meeting
Joseph Spadaro, Construction Contractor From Bronx NY, Visits Boca Grande
Island’s Bowling Alley Opens
Charlotte County Carved out of Desoto County
Peter Bradley Removed as President of AACC
“Journey’s End” Purchased by George Knight
Corporate Name “Boca Grande Land Company” Changed to “Boca Grande Corporation”
Bayard Sharp First Comes to Gasparilla Island
Boca Grande Clarion Published (1 Issue)
First Telephone Line Linking Gasparilla Island with Mainland
Boca Grande Land Company Purchases A $10,000 State of the Art “Sea Sled” to Rapidly Transport Prospective Buyers From Tampa and Fort Myers
Anchor Inn Built on Fourth Street
“Boca Grande Outfitters” Building Built (Wilheim House) on Park Avenue
School for Blacks Housed in Rented Church Building
Building rented from seaboard airline R.R. for $25 per year.
Boca Grande Baking Company (Bakery) Opens
(circa) Guerard Diary Established (South End)
Bell Family Moves to Boca Grande
Narrows Pass “Dredged in” Converting Gasparilla Into One Island
Joseph Spadaro Purchases Military Reserve (40%)
Seaboard RR Leases Ch & N
Whidden’s Marina Established at E. First Street on Bayou
Boca Grande Ferry Company Begins Operations
Erection of Rear Range Light (“Green Hill Beacon”)
Julius Rosenwald School for Blacks Opens at South End
Joseph Spadaro Purchases Rest of Military Reservation
Thus owning all of the reservation except the railroad right of way, terminal service tracts and the lighthouse services land.
Seaboard RR Purchases CH & N
War Department Sells off Large Portion of Military Reservation to Joseph Spadaro
Spadaro Holding Company Is Incorporated in Florida
Construction of San Marco Theatre
1928-1929: Boca Grande Yacht Club Formed
“the big mouth yacht club”
Boca Grande Hotel Construction
Opens for 1929-1930 Season
New Boca Grande School Built
Now Community Center
Spadaro Incorporates the Boca Grande Inn, Inc. to Manage the Boca Grande Hotel
Gasparilla Inn Sold to Barron Collier
Gasparilla Inn Builds New Golf Course
“Fouts” Bank Name Changed to “Florida Bank of Boca Grande”
Building demolished in early 1980s
First Tarpon Tournament
1932-1934 Spadaro Consolidates the Titles of All His Properties
Spadaro consolidates the titles of all his properties on Gasparilla Island military reservation under “Boca Grande Inn, Inc.”
Joseph Spadaro Hosts Group of U.S. Engineers at Boca Grande Hotel
Girl Scout Camp Built (South End on the Beach)
Labor Day Hurricane
Homer Addison Leaves Punta Gorda to Work in Boca Grande at Fugates
Barber & part time at soda fountain
Boy Scout Jamboree
Wing Addition Added on N.W. Corner of School Building
Gaines Chevrolet Dealership Opens
The “New” Fugate Store Is Opened (Fourth & Park Streets)
“Temptation Bar & Grille” Building Construction Started
Barron Collier Died
December 17: Enlistment in the Service as Fireman
Group of Island residents signed a State of Florida document stating “We the undersigned citizens of Boca Grande, Florida, do hereby enlist in the Service as Fireman under the authority of the Local Defense Council of Lee County…”
August: First “Proper” Year of Firefighting on the Island
Little Inn Burns to the Ground
Spadaro Holding Company Is Merged Into Boca Grande Inn, Inc.
Boca Grande Fire Control Board Appointments
Effective Date: May 24, 1943 – Florida Governor Holland appoints B.O. Bylaska, Jefferson Gaines, and D. O. Fugate as members of the Boca Grande Fire Control Board
June 28: First meeting of the Boca Grande Fire Control Board
Chief Wiley Crew
San Marco Theatre Damaged by Hurricane
Walter Gault Moved Fishery to Placida
A.A.C.Co. Sold Remaining Land (Including Gasp. Village) to Sunset Realty
Temptation Bar & Grille Opens (Homer Addison)
Boca Grande Clarion Published (1 Issue)
1946-1947: Knight Brothers Boat Builders Opens (E. 8th Street)
Two Lots Purchased from Troy Speer for $1000
Louise Crowninshield Founded the Boca Grande Health Clinic in Small Room Above Railroad Depot
“Pink Elephant” Opens as a Lounge on Bayou Avenue
Construction of Fire Station Begins in the Middle of Town
Roger Amory Gift to Benefit Health Clinic
Roger Amory purchases theatre building, and as Health Clinic Secretary, he made a gift of full stock in the “San Marco Movie Theatre” on Park Ave. to benefit the Health Clinic.
Boca Grande Ferry Company Operated by W.C. Sprott Transferred to Gasparilla Ferry Corp.
Temptation Bar Finally Granted Liquor License
Gasparilla Village Post Office Moves to Placida
Sunset Realty Sells Two Lots to Catholic Church
Publication of “Boca Grande Journal”
Mercantile Building Completed
Henry Lanier Buys Mercantile Company; Lanier Sells Grocery Department to William Presley
Presley Buys Mercantile Building
Medical Center Proposed for Boca Grande
1949-1963: Boca Grande Health Center Occupies a Space on West Side of Fugate Building
Boca Grande Hotel Plans Expansion (Not Realized)
Hotel Sprott Remodeled and Renovated
Work/Repairs on L-Dock Scheduled
Boca Grande Journal Suspends Publication (November 12)
George Wickman (Wickman’s Curios) Died (Mackinac Island)
Bumps Bar Opens
John Fust Community Library Dedicated
Authorized Depth of Channel Increased to 32 Feet
channel; over sand bar in Gulf just west of Boca Grande Pass
Frank Crowninshield Passes Away
Jefferson Gaines (Senior) Dies
Bulk of Spadaro Estate (66%), including Boca Grande Hotel, Willed To Brother (Anthony)
Miller’s Marina Built by Mac Miller
Purchased from Roger Amory
Guerard Diary Moves to Tampa Area
Florida Power & Light Extends Service to Gasparilla Island
Boca Grande Light & Power company is terminated.
Joseph Spadaro Dies
Claimants to Spadaro Estate File Suit Seeking $102,895 Or One Half Of Spadaro’s Estate
Claimants (See Above) Settle For $15,000
First Publication of Gasparilla Gazette (Frank Oliver)
Published six days a week
1954-1960’s: Library “Book Boat” in Use
Spadaro’s Will Is Probated
Anthony Spadaro inherits all properties deeded to Boca Grande Inn, Inc. and is elected president of the corporation.
Boca Grande, Inc. Is Incorporated in Florida by Lester Baynard, Issac Anolic, and Sam Shuckman
Boca Grande Hotel, Inc. Acquires All Properties Owned by the Boca Grande Inn, Inc.
Boca Grande Inn Inc. Is Dissolved
FPL Oil Terminal Begins Operations
Bridges and Causeway Completed
Railroad Passenger Service Ended
Berth for Ships at Port Boca Grande and Storage Facility
FPL builds a berth for ships at Port Boca Grande and storage facility for incoming oil.
Demolition by Sunset Realty of African American Community in Downtown Boca Grande (East of Town)
Tarpon Pass Estates, Including Shiloh Baptist Church Erected to House Relocating Black Workers
Homer Addison Temptation Bar & Grill Sold to Frank & Marty Smith
Tarpon Inn Motel (Closes 1970; Becomes Waterfront Motel)
A Syndicate Led by Bayard Sharp Purchases Gasparilla Inn From Collier Enterprises
1963-1964: Public School Closed
Remaining children bussed to public schools off-island.
A.A.C.Co. Corporate Name Changed to Agrico Chemical Company
Construction of New Health Center Completed
Boca Grande Health Clinic Opens
Four Masted Spanish Naval Training Vessel Anchors at Oil Dock to Take on Fresh Water
Margaret and Darrell Polk Open Barnichol Hardware Store
San Marco Theatre Closed
Closed in 1967 and the movies were transferred to the Community Center.
Health Clinic Board Transfers Operation of Movies to Community Center
Boca Grande Hotel Closes
Sunset Realty Develops Harbor Drive Waterways Sub-Division Behind Millers Marina
1970’s: Development of Boca Grande Club and Sea Oats Condos
Bayard Sharp Buys out His Partners and Becomes Sole Owner of Gasparilla Inn
All Properties That Were Owned by Boca Grande Inn, Inc. Are Acquired by Bayard Sharp and Hugh R. Sharp Jr.
Rodney and Hugh Sharp Jr. Purchases Boca Grande Hotel Property for $1,700,000
Waterfront Motel Opens
Becomes Outlet at Innlet in 2001
Brunswick Corporation Purchases off Island Property
Later known as Mercabo Property
Creation of the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association (GICIA)
Investigation into Hotel Boca Grande Fire
Lee County Fire Marshal George Detar opens investigation into Hotel Boca Grande fire. No charges filed.
Demolition of Boca Grande Hotel
Lee County Acquires Light Station Property for the Purpose of Establishing a Park (South End of Island)
Boca Grande School Deeded to Community as Community Center
Under a special bill passed by Florida legislature, Boca Grande school deeded to community as Community Center; Women’s Club and GICIA enters into agreement with Lee County Board of Commissioners to jointly fund the restoration and development of the property.
Library Board Decides to Sell Book Boat
Dr. “Hank” Wright Arrives on Boca Grande
Boca Grande Community Center Officially Dedicated
Miller’s Marina Fire
Jack R. Harper Purchases Miller’s Marina
Ramar Group Companies, Inc. Bought Railroad Depot
Ramar Group Companies, Inc. (Robert a. Morris) bought railroad depot as part of a corporate program of purchasing and restoring historic buildings in S.W. Florida.
“Pink Elephant” Purchased by Bayard Sharp
Boca Grande Club Resort Opens (North End of Island)
Abandonment of Railroad
Interstate Commerce Commission rules in favor of abandonment of railroad.
Last Shipment of Phosphate from Port Boca Grande
1979-1980’s: Phosphate Dock Closed and Dismantled
Gasparilla Island and Historic and Conservation District Adopted (Gasparilla Island Act)
Sea Oats Development Built (Hollingsworth Investment Corporation)
Boca Grande Light House & Railroad Depot Placed on List of National Register of Historic Places
Boca Grande Club Restaurant Opens
Samuel Shuckman Dies (Causeway Owner)
Methodist Church Celebrates 70th Anniversary
Van Buren Home Sold for $550,000
Plans Announced for “Park Place” Townhomes
Petition Submitted to Oppose 3 Sisters Island Project
Plans Are Announced for Real Estate Development on Cole Island
Boca Grande North First Bank Opens (Fourth & Park Streets)
Raphel P. Padilla Dies
Nicknamed the “Little Colonel”, last surviving member of family of 8. Came to Boca Grande in 1921. Well known charter boat captain and guide.
“Sea Oats” Condominiums Become Available
“Silver King” Condominiums Grand Opening
Lee County Outlines Plans for Expanded Port
Florida Supreme Court Declares Newly Adopted Gasparilla Island Historic and Conservation District Act to Be Unconstitutional
Revised Island Act Approved by Florida Legislature
Revised Gasparilla Island Act Filed With Florida Secretary of State
Referendum Approves Gasparilla Island Act
1980’s Sunset Realty Develops Gulf Shores North & East Shore Acres
Theatre Building Purchased by Paul J. Kruder
Pink Elephant Reopens After Remodeling Project
GICIA Instrumental in Placing the Lighthouse on the National Registry of Historic Places
Marnie Banks Publishes the “Boca Beacon”
Passage of Gasparilla Island Conservation Act
Formal Dedication of the Shuckman Causeway
State Denies Three Sisters Fill Permit
3 Sisters Bridge Approved
Boca Grande Islander Published (1 Year)
BG Chamber of Commerce Formed
Old Palmetto Inn Sells for $65,000
Barnichol Heist Nets Thousands
New Owners for Hudson’s (Haber)
Boca Pass Marina Doubles Size
Engelhard Estate Listed For Sale at 3.65 Million
Remaining Railroad Tracks Removed
CSX Signs Agreement With Sharp
CSX acquires tract (Boca Grande Hotel Properties) from sharp; Sharp received the railroad right of way north of First Street
Wini Smart Opens “Smart on West Railroad Avenue”
“Loons on a Limb” Opens (Jay & Sue Spurgeon)
Tracks Removed From Island
Bayard Sharp and Brother Hugh in Land Presentation Ceremony, Donate Railroad Right-Of-Way for Creation of Boca Grande Bike Path
Removal of Tarpon Pass Estates (South End of Island)
Hotel H Fire
Bike Path Available
BG Child Care Center Opens
Journey’s End Added to List of National Register of Historic Places
Former Railroad Right-Of-Way Dedicated by the Sharp Families to the GICIA for Boca Grande Bike Path
Former Tarpon Pass Estates Property Given to GICIA
1985-1986: Boca Grande North Complex Built (Heritage Investors Limited)
Friends of Boca Grande Community Center Volunteers Formed
Fust Library Gives Amory Chapel (Shiloh Baptist Church) to GICIA
Gasparilla Inn Beach Club Completely Rebuilt
1986-1987: Dunes of Boca Townhouse Development (Dunes of Boca Inc.)
Ground Breaking Occurs for the New CSX Real Estate Development (Boca Bay)
Art Alliance Formed
1987-1995: Sea Watch Complex Built (Sans Ridge Inc.)
“Necessities” Opens at North End of Island (Later Named “Gills”, and Then Kappy’s)
Establishment of Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association
Amory Chapel Deeded to the State of Florida by GICIA
Boca Grande Child Care Center Open
Dusty Hopkins Purchases “Boca Beacon”
Uncle Henry’s Resort/Mall Built (Sunset Realty-North End)
CSX Pays $2.3 Million for Pass Marina (South End)
Drawbridge at Placida (Seaboard RR) Moved by Barge to Long Island
Sunset Realty Threatens to Challenge Island Act
Port Residents Raise Stink Over Oil Tanks
Waterfront Motel Applies to Build 78 foot dock
Operation Coconut on Gasparilla Island
New and Improved S Curve at South End of Gasparilla Island Completed
Bancflorida of Naples Seeks Foreclosure on the Boca Grande Causeway
Bancflorida of Naples files lawsuit seeking foreclosure on the Boca Grande Causeway toll bridge owned by Gaspar, Inc.
David Futch & Robert Galloway Name New Newspaper the “Gasparilla Gazette”
David Futch & Robert Galloway receive permission from Frank Oliver to name new newspaper the “Gasparilla Gazette”; (slogan: “More Stuff; Less Fluff”)
Knight Brothers Boat Builders Sold to Gasparilla Inn
Sunset Realty Applies for Courtyard Extension to Build a 20 Unit Resort (North End)
University of Florida Conducts Study to Examine the “Carrying Capacity” of Boca Grande
University of Florida conducts study to examine the “carrying capacity” of Boca Grande in an effort to determine present and future needs of Gasparilla Island.
Boca Grande Health Clinic Board of Directors Decide to Build New Health Clinic
Bayard Sharp buys Knight Brothers Boatyard
Boca Bargains Opens (Woman’s Club)
Construction of New Health Center Begins
GICIA Drops Suit Against Sunset Realty
Lee County Offers to Buy Moroccan House For Fishing Guide Docks
Boca Grande Historic District Created
Temptation Bar & Grill Building and Restaurant Sold to Jim and Karen Grace
New Health Clinic Completed
More Than 100 Island Racoons Trapped and Moved to Pinellas County
Fishing Guides Association Rejects County Offer for Docks
BG Marina Village Begins
David Futch & Robert Galloway Sell Gasparilla Gazette to Breeze Corporation of Cape Coral
Fire Department Obtains its First Boat
Power House Renovation Begins (South End)
Lee County Approves Platting of Beach View Phase of South Village Project (Boca Bay)
Galleria Opens for Business (Downtown)
Net Ban Approved by Florida Voters
Formation of Boca Grande Historical Society
Boca Bay Redevelopment
Boca Grand Quarantine Station & Whidden’s Marina Added to List of National Register of Historic Places
Community Church (Amory Chapel) Restored (South End)
Power House Rebuilt by CSX Corporation
Power House rebuilt by CSX Corporation and turned into community center for residents of Boca Bay.
State of Florida Agreed to Create an Enabling Act, the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority
GIBA Purchases the Bridges and Causeway System
Fire Department Has 3 Full Time Firefighters
Currently 18 Full Time Firefighters
Placida Fishery Closes (Due to Net Ban)
The Island School (Charter) Begins Operations
Brunswick Sells Mercabo Property to Boca Norte L.L.C.
FPL Removes Oil Storage Facility at South End
Gasparilla Island Maritime Museum Opens (Whiddens)
Begin Plans for Fire Department Renovation
Nabers Gas Station Razed (Park & Fourth Street)
Bayard Sharp Dies; Ownership of Gasparilla Inn Passes to Farish Family
Miller’s Marina Sold
Last Oil Shipments From Boca Grande
Pirate’s Coast Magazine Begins Publishing
Brunswick (Mercabo Center) Closes
New Fire Department Completed and Becomes Operational
Boca Grande Historical Society and History Center Move
Boca Grande Historical Society and History Center move into former Teacherage Building (located next to Boca Bargains).
Barnichol Hardware Sold to Aaron Diaz
Gasparilla Inn Added to List of National Register of Historic Places
“Loons on a Limb” Closes
First Baptist Church Added to List of National Register of Historic Places
Downtown Boca Grande Historic District & Halstead and Emily Lindsley House Added to List of National Register of Historic Places
First Gasparilla Island Kids’ Tarpon Tournament
First Gasparilla Island Kids’ Tarpon Tournament; Captain Sandy Melvin; Boca Grande Charities, Inc.
Construction on Replacing South and Center Causeway Bridges Completed
Gasparilla Gazette (Breeze Corporation) Purchased by Boca Beacon
Temptation Restaurant Sold
Temptation Restaurant sold to Jeff Simmons, Andy Duncan and Kevin Stockdale (Temptation Restaurant of Boca Grande LLC).
GICIA Raises Funds to Purchase 30 Acre Mercabo Property
GICIA embarks on fundraising campaign to raise funds to purchase 30 acre Mercabo property (next to causeway entry).
Boca Grande History Center Begins Major Renovation of Archival Center and Exhibit Space
New exhibit “Boca Grande: Once A Railroad and Industrial Town” opens.
Dr. Wright Dies at Age 92
Mercabo Property Purchased by GICIA ($20.6 Million) from Contributions
Construction on Replacing the Swing Bridge Was Completed
Construction of Hillside Estates Begins on Former Site of FPL Oil Tanks
Maritime Location Grid System
Chief Blosser and firefighter Jeff Knowles proposes to Lee County emergency personnel a grid system in order to pinpoint exact maritime locations; currently in use throughout the State of Florida.
Theatre Building Closed (P.J.’s Seagrille)
Small Scale Plan Amendment to the Development of the Fishery Property
Charlotte County approves ordinance to adopt a small scale plan amendment to the development of the Fishery property (13000 Fishery Road).
Cookie Potter-Feinberg and Jay Feinberg Purchase Fishery Property
Cookie Potter-Feinberg and Jay Feinberg purchase 18 acre Fishery property; proposes marina oriented village and marina.
Isabell Whidden Joiner (Whidden’s Marina) Passes Away
Theatre Building Reopened (Scarpa’s Restaurant & Shops)
Boca Grande Historical Society Celebrates 25th Anniversary
COVID-19 Impacts Boca Grande
Boca Grande History Center Deeded Ownership of Rare Documents Relating to the Commercial Development of Gasparilla Island
Patti Middleton (Famous Local Artist) Died
Health Clinic Celebrates 75th Anniversary
New Mini Exhibits “Boca Grande: The Black Experience” and “Joseph Spadaro and the Boca Grande Hotel” Opens at the Boca Grande History Center
Local Favorite and Iconic Restaurant (Loose Caboose) Sold and Renamed “Key Lime Bistro”
Railroad Plaza, Fugates Buildings Sold to Will and Sarah Farish
Gulf Coast International Properties Sold to Will and Sarah Farish
Popular and Iconic Restaurant (“South Beach”) Destroyed by Fire (Hurricane Ian)
Gasparilla Village to 35th Street was a dirt and sand road; Ferry Landing to 11th Street was shell; 11th Street going south was paved.
Landing on island was at 35th Street.
Docked at the foot of 5th Street West (between Fourth and Fifth)
Corporate Evolution of the Alafia, Manatee & Gulf Coast Railway
Ch & N: 1905-1925
Seaboard Air Line Railway: 1926-1946
Seaboard Air Line Railroad: 1946-1967
Seaboard Coast Line Railroad: 1967-1983
Late 1940s south Boca Grande referred to as “Port Boca Grande”.
In 1980 the SCL merged with the Chessie System to form the CSX Corporation. Between 1972-83 there was also a joint-venture with the Louisville & Nashville Railroad named the “Family Lines System”.
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