Hurricane Ian Updates
History Center Reopens January 17, 2023
January 10, 2023
The Boca Grande Historical Society announces The History Center located at 170 Park Avenue will re-open to the public on Tuesday, January 17, 2023.
We will resume our normal winter hours of Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
For more information call 941-964-1600.
Update from Crystal Diff, Executive Director
October 21, 2022
Thank you all for your patience as we deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. I am happy to report that the History Center and all of our historic treasures are safe and did not acquire any storm damage! Like so many of you, the personal homes of our board and staff have suffered damages and we stand with you as we rebuild our community.
We will be regrouping over the coming weeks as we phase back to being open to the public. There will be changes to our event calendar for the coming season as we assess the availability of venues and speakers impacted by the storm, as well as taking into account the health and status of our island. Currently, all of our October programs have been canceled or rescheduled. We will be updating you through emails, website notifications, and the Boca Beacon as appropriate. We understand that there are issues with phone and internet service, but we will continue to do our best with the tools available.
There is no doubt that Ian has created an historical impact on the island and surrounding region. Once the dust settles, we would like to hear your personal accounts, see the videos and images you’ve taken, and record the details for our archives. Our collections hold the stories of storms past and the determination to rebuild, with Hurricane Ian being no exception. You hold a vital role in keeping our history alive, but we are compassionate about the current priorities to your home and families.
Stay Boca Grande Strong,
From the Archives: Boca Grande’s Hurricane History
As Hurricane Ian recently reminded us, hurricanes are a fact of life for those living near coastlines or on islands. Looking back through history, hurricanes have affected the islands of Charlotte Harbor since the coming of 19th century fishing camps and the development that followed in the 20th century.
In his book Fisherfolk of Charlotte Harbor, Florida, Robert Edic cites studies that report 64 tropical disturbances affecting Florida between 1830 and 1900 and 88 between 1900 and 1955. The report also notes that 30 hurricanes or tropical storms have passed within a 50-mile radius of Charlotte Harbor in the same period.
Update from BGHS President Pam Heilman
October 5, 2022
Dear Members and Friends,
We join all of you in concerns about Boca Grande, its residents, workers and visitors in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. We have been especially concerned for our professional staff, our archives, exhibits and our building. We can report that Crystal Diff, our Executive Director, her family and Kim Kyle, our Administrative Director, are all safe although Crystal’s home off-island has had substantial damage. The staff and board volunteers secured many important artifacts and critical equipment before the storm and continue to monitor our various exhibit and storage areas.
While the History Center in the historic Teacherage building is intact, we are presently closed. We will continue to advise you of future plans for the History Center reopening and our early-season programs as we see how soon electric power is restored to the Island and how quickly we can return to normal operations. We will be updating all information regularly on our website – bocagrandehistoricalsociety.com – and invite you to check the site often.
Reviewing our archives photography collection, we find photos of island hurricanes going back to 1921. We will also be documenting Hurricane Ian and hope to collect your stories and experiences over the last week and days to come. We invite you to write or record your thoughts and will be asking you to share them at some point in the future so that they become part of Island and Charlotte Harbor area history.
We hope that whether you are on-island or elsewhere, you are safe and well and looking forward to returning and helping restore our beautiful island.
Pam Heilman, President
BGHS Board of Directors
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