Coastal History

Celebrating the Past and the Future

Shell tool artifacts

By Noelle H. Lowery and Craig R. Woodward On Saturday, Nov. 15, the Marco Island Historical Society and the Marco Island Historical Museum will celebrate the next stage of their evolution with the completion of its newest permanent exhibit about Frank Hamilton Cushing and his famous 1896 archeological expedition on Marco Island. Dubbed “Paradise Found: 6,000 Years of People on ... Read More »

MIHS Alley Proposal – Part III

Painting of Cushing inside the Silver Spray painted by Wells Sawyer

By Noelle H. Lowery and Craig Woodward During its Aug. 1 regular meeting, the city of Marco Island Planning Board approved a proposal from the Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) to name 11 currently unnamed alleys around the island after major players in Marco’s history. With a vote of 6-1, the proposal was passed onto City Council, but council has ... Read More »

MIHS Alley Proposal – Part II

Lostman’s Key

By Noelle H. Lowery and Craig Woodward During its Aug. 1 regular meeting, the city of Marco Island Planning Board approved a proposal from the Marco Island Historical Society (MIHS) to name 11 currently unnamed alleys around the island after major players in Marco’s history. With a vote of 6-1, the proposal was passed onto City Council for review and ... Read More »

Hiking with Henry Lowe: Part Two North of the Isles of Capri

Henry Lowe holds the top part of an old carbide light.
PHOTOS BY CRAIG WOODWARD

COASTAL HISTORY Craig Woodward CWoodward@wpl-legal.com Heading north of Isles of Capri on the hiking trail that was formerly the old Marco Road, I was joined by Henry Lowe and Steve Purcell in an expedition to locate and explore Henry’s former home site, which his family occupied starting in 1939. The old Marco Road began from its intersection with U.S. 41, ... Read More »

Hiking with Henry Lowe: North of the Isles of Capri

PHOTO BY ALVIN LEDERER

COASTAL HISTORY Craig Woodward CWoodward@wpl-legal.com A conversation led to my taking a walk in the woods with Henry Lowe accompanied by Steve Purcell. We were on an expedition to hike the 1912 old Marco Road and seek out the location where Henry had lived as a child. Armed with bug spray, we headed north of Capri Boulevard and followed a ... Read More »

Joe Dickman: the hermit of Kice Island?

Joe on his front porch.

COASTAL HISTORY Craig Woodward CWoodward@wpl-legal.com South of Marco Island is the well known Cape Romano with its famous, dilapidated dome house tilted on washed out pilings above the Gulf of Mexico. Kice Island, located north of Cape Romano and just south of Marco Island, received almost no attention until recently, when a number of pilot whales beached themselves there. Kice Island ... Read More »

The Star of the Everglades Its Journey From the 1920s to Today Part 2

The “New” Star of the Everglades, at the time moored at Boat Haven in Naples, then owned by Capt. Jim Martin. (c. 1971). PHOTO S BY JIM MARTI N

COASTAL HISTORY Craig Woodward CWoodward@wpl-legal.com In our last issue, the history of the original vessel, the Star (of the Everglades), operated by the Lopez family from Lopez River and Chokoloskee was covered, including its use in hosting several U.S. Presidents, its being part of the classic local film “Wind Across the Everglades,” and its key role in opening up sports ... Read More »

The Star of the Everglades Its Journey From the 1920s to Today

The historical Lopez home located on the Lopez River. Jim Webb recalls that at the end of mullet season there were always big parties held here; the home no longer exists. Photo by Alvin Lederer

COASTAL HISTORY Craig Woodward CWoodward@wpl-legal.com Mention the vessel Star of the Everglades to local, long-time residents, and it brings a big smile to their faces. Soon, they are flooded with memories of this fabulous boat which was aptly named the Star. Not only was the Star a luxury cruise boat for its day, but it also opened up the Ten Thousand ... Read More »

Mystery at Hideaway Beach

B1-CBN_10-18-13-2feature

COASTAL HISTORY Craig Woodward CWoodward@wpl-legal.com In September of 2010 the Marco Island Police Department received a concerned phone call saying that someone had discovered a number of large bones near the shore during a very low tide at Hideaway Beach. Sergeant Hector Diaz, who responded to the call, could see that the bones were projecting from what appeared to be an ... Read More »

Unknown Islands & Marco’s Geological Growth

CBN_B1-4

By Craig Woodward So, have you been to Karina Island or Pelican Island? Even readers who are very familiar with the Marco Island area and the adjacent 10,000 Islands may ask “Where?” to that question. But even more amazing, for some local residents the answer is not only “Yes,” but that they currently live there. Many others have actually been ... Read More »

The Predator of the Sea: Marco’s Commercial Shark Fishing

CBN_C9-1

By Craig Woodward The former Coconut Island was a traditional place to raft up your boat, along with your friends’ boats, on a lazy Sunday afternoon and have a cookout on the beach while everyone swam and simply relaxed. It was a beautiful location – just north of the future Hideaway Beach, due east of Isles of Capri, situated in ... Read More »

REMEMBERING HELEN: Building the Marco Community

CBN_A9-1feature

By Craig Woodward  CWoodward@wpl-legal.com  On Wednesday, November 14, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, a church which first opened 46 years earlier in November of 1966, many old timers came together to celebrate the life of a Modern Marco pioneer – Helen Tateo. She and her husband, Vince, moved to Marco Island in August of 1966, just a little over a ... Read More »

Florida at War

florida_at_war

COASTAL HISTORY Craig Woodward  CWoodward@wpl-legal.com  As we reflect on a peaceful Veteran’s Day with great weather and our local beaches full, it is hard to envision a time when Florida skies were full of fighter pilots, our coasts under constant watch for enemy attack, and U.S. sailors both dead and wounded were being brought into Florida hospitals. World War II was ... Read More »

The Astronomical Station at Cape Romano and the Caximba route

COASTAL HISTORY  Craig Woodward  CWoodward@wpl-legal.com The last few issues of this newspaper have contained excellent articles about Cape Romano, regarding the history of the dome house and the former pyramid house built in the early 1980s. This large point of land is one of Florida’s earliest recognized geographic features similar to Florida’s other large cape, Cape Canaveral. So, let’s investigate the ... Read More »

Broaden your Horizons

The Marco Island Historical Society is pleased to announce a marvelous pair of events for the merry month of May. We invite you to broaden your horizons with a concentration on the history of Fort Myers. On May 1, our regular monthly meeting will begin at 7:00 P.M. in the Rose History Auditorium with our featured speaker Matthew Johnson, Director ... Read More »

150 years ago – Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Weeks

COASTAL HISTORY  Craig Woodward  CWoodward@wpl-legal.com An article titled “The Headstone Project” was published in this column on October 7, 2011. Donations were requested for the purchase of a headstone for Elizabeth (Lizzie) Weeks Barnes Sawyer. Granny Sawyer, as she was known before her death, was buried in an unmarked grave at the Marco Island Cemetery. She died in 1939, in the ... Read More »

Deltona Settlement Agreement – and its enormous impact

Craig Woodward  CWoodward@wpl-legal.com The one single document with the greatest impact on the growth and density of Marco Island would be, without a doubt, the “Deltona Settlement Agreement.” This document created much of the current developed and undeveloped “eastern” Marco Island, as well as much of Rookery Bay and also created a great deal of the “951 Corridor” south of ... Read More »

Rev. George W. Gatewood, Fishing, the 1900 Census and Religious Zeal

COASTAL HISTORY  Craig Woodward  CWoodward@wpl-legal.com The first full time minister in Southwest Florida was George W. Gatewood. Before Reverend Gatewood, at age 24, came to scout out the area in 1886, there had been traveling Protestant preachers who held periodic revivals as well as Roman Catholic priests, from Key West, who came to the Chokoloskee area to attend to the spiritual ... Read More »

Surveying problems in the Ten Thousand Islands

Submitted by Everglades Historical Society  Imagine not being able to obtain a deed to property on which you have built a house and lived in for years! That was just one of the problems faced by pioneering settlers in “Florida’s Last Frontier”. Surveyors faced myriad obstacles such as shifting coastlines and, of course, mosquitoes. Meanwhile, the State was transferring vast tracts ... Read More »

Explore our Island history!

Submitted by Friends of Fakahatchee  Join us for a really unique “Olde Florida” treat. The Friends of Fakahatchee are hosting Coastal Cruises through the mysterious mangroves of the Ten Thousands Island. On the way, you will probably see dolphins cavorting with the tour boat. When you arrive at Fakahatchee Island, a naturalist will point out unusual plants on the path up ... Read More »