According to the map, Gasparilla is the upper end of the island and Boca Grande is the lower part. You know how hot and humid Florida is in June, right? Boca Grande is a town in the southern part of Gasparilla Island. This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.
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Gasparilla or Boca Grande - One and the same? Watch this Topic. Browse forums All Browse by destination. Boca Grande forums. All forums.
Level Contributor. Report inappropriate content. Top things to do in Boca Grande 8. See all. Boca Grande Beach. Gasparilla Island State Park. Cayo Costa State Park. Re: Gasparilla or Boca Grande - One and the same? Ask a question. Gasparilla Island is a part of both Charlotte and Lee Counties, while the actual village of Boca Grande, which is home to many seasonal and some year-round residents, is entirely in the Lee County portion of the island. Boca Grande is known for its historic downtown, sugar sand beaches, blue water and world class fishing. Its name - Spanish for "Big Mouth" - comes from the mouth of the waterway, called Boca Grande Pass, at the southern tip of the island.
The pass was used as a busy shipping point for many years as the waters in the pass are naturally deep.
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Processed phosphate from the Bone Valley region was loaded onto waiting ocean-going cargo vessels via the Seaboard Air Line Railroad at the dock located on the southern tip of the island. Shipping business to the island declined in the late s as it was no longer cost effective to ship phosphate by rail to Boca Grande when it could be loaded at Tampa. The phosphate plant at Boca Grande was old and its tons-per-hour rate was slow.
Therefore, it made economic sense to discontinue the operation. Its newspaper is called "The Boca Beacon" Evidence of the island's industrial past can still be seen. There are no gas stations in the village of Boca Grande, with the exception of a street pump at Boca Grande Marina, so many local residents use a golf cart as their main mode of transportation. On any given day in Boca Grande, you will see golf carts, as well as some automobiles, making their way throughout downtown.
A Lee County ordinance designates all but two streets as golf cart paths. Drivers must be at least 14 years old to operate a golf cart on these designated streets. Boca Grande provided the backdrop for Denzel Washington's movie, Out of Time , where the quiet village was renamed "Banyan Key" in reference to the banyan trees that populate the island. Scenes for the film based on Carl Hiaasen 's book Hoot were also filmed on the island, which was again renamed for the filming.
This time it became "Coconut Cove". Boca Grande's serene beauty also makes it a destination for high-profile weddings and residences for the elite seeking privacy. There were no deaths or injuries on the island, but many buildings were damaged and numerous banyan trees were heavily damaged. Gasparilla Island's first known inhabitants were the Calusa Indians.
Charlotte Harbor was the center of the Calusa Empire, which numbered thousands of people and hundreds of fishing villages. The Calusa were a hunting and fishing people who perfected the art of maritime living in harmony with the environment. They were a politically powerful people, dominating Southwest Florida during their "golden age". Since the Calusa had no written language, the only record of their lifestyle and ceremonies comes from the oral history of the much later Seminoles , from written accounts of Spanish explorers, and from the archaeological record.
The first contact the Calusa had with Europeans came during Spanish explorations at the beginning of the 16th century. By the midth century, the Calusa had all but disappeared, the victims of European diseases, slavery and warfare. Just like the Indians, the earliest settlers came to Gasparilla Island to fish.
By the late s several fish ranches were operating in the Charlotte Harbor area. One of them would later be at the north end of Gasparilla Island in the small village called Gasparilla. The fishermen, many of them Spanish or Cuban , caught huge catches of mullet and other fish and salted them down for shipment to Havana and other markets.
In the s the Gasparilla Fishery was moved to Placida across the bay, where it still stands today, and the fishing village died out.
Today, many of Boca Grande's early fishing families are still represented in third, fourth and even fifth-generation descendants who pursue many different vocations, including fishing. It was this discovery that would turn the south end of Gasparilla Island into a major deep-water port Boca Grande Pass is one of the deepest natural inlets in Florida and become responsible for the development of the town of Boca Grande.
Wealthy American and British sportsmen began discovering the Charlotte Harbor area for its fishing notably for the world-class game fish tarpon and hunting. It was these two discoveries — phosphate rock and fishing - that would "put Boca Grande on the map". Phosphate was a valuable mineral for fertilizers and many other products, and was in great demand worldwide. At first the phosphate was barged down the Peace River to Port Boca Grande, where it was loaded onto schooners for worldwide shipment.
But by it was felt that building a railroad to Port Boca Grande and carrying the phosphate to it by rail should improve the method of shipment. In , officials of the Agrico subsidiary Peace River Mining Company, along with engineers from the United States Army Corps of Engineers and 60 laborers, landed on Gasparilla Island and surveying and construction of the railroad began. Probably the only buildings on the south end of the island at this time were the lighthouse and the assistant keeper's house.
The Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railroad was completed in For the next 50 years phosphate was shipped out of the state-of-the-art port virtually without disruption. Phosphate-laden trains were off-loaded directly onto ocean-going freighters, and the ships took the valuable commodity to ports all over the world.
In Port Boca Grande ranked as the fourth-busiest port in Florida.
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In the s, phosphate companies increasingly switched their interest to ports in Hillsborough and Manatee Counties. As more money was put into developing these ports, traffic into Port Boca Grande began to dwindle, and in the line was abandoned and the phosphate industry in Boca Grande came to an end. The port was also used as an oil storage terminal by Florida Power and Light Company.
This use ceased in Island residents have begun an effort to have the property preserved as part of the island's state park system. The Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway not only brought phosphate and supplies to Gasparilla Island; it also brought wealthy people from the north. By Boca Grande Pass was already famous for its unequaled tarpon fishing among fishermen, who stayed on nearby Useppa Island.
The Agrico Company, having begun to see the potential of the idea of developing Gasparilla Island beyond the port, began to develop the village of Boca Grande. The railroad station in what would become downtown was built; roads, sidewalks, streetlights, shops, a post office, and water and telephone service were not far behind. The town was landscaped, including the now famous section of Second Street called Banyan Street. The railroad company built several cottages downtown and a few wealthy families from "up north" purchased land and built winter residences.