Coastal History

Spanish Fishing, Salt and Bureaucracy

Craig Woodward While most know that the Spanish discovered Florida and that the U.S. later purchased it from Spain, few know that for 20 years England owned and controlled the state, which they divided into East Florida (the peninsula) with its headquarters in St. Augustine, and West Florida (the panhandle) with its headquarters in Pensacola. These twenty years were ... Read More »

COLLIER COUNTY’S LARGEST DISASTER: Air tragedy at Hurricane pass

Craig Woodward During World War II, the U.S. Army Air Corps constructed training bases in Florida to try to fill the tremendous need for pilots and gunnery crews to fight in Europe. By the end of the war a total of 54 bases had been constructed with thousands of military men and women introduced to the Sunshine State for the ... Read More »

The Mystery of an 1890 Envelope Postmarked “Malco”

Craig Woodward  It was like an episode from PBS’s popular TV show – History Detectives, a local historical item with a large mystery behind it. The item: a very rare envelope with a most unique cancellation showing it was postmarked at Malco Florida and mailed in 1890 to a St. Clair Whitman of Cedar Keys, Florida. “Malco” was the official ... Read More »

The Headstone Project

Craig Woodward  I appreciate the many people who commented or called about the last article written about John Weeks and his family. One point that concerned readers was the comment that his wife, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Weeks Sawyer was buried in an unmarked grave at the Marco Cemetery. Clearly the wife of the first settler of Collier County, who moved here ... Read More »

Who was the first settler of present day Collier County?

By Craig Woodward Collier County’s First Permanent Settler – John J. Weeks Obviously, there were numerous Calusa, Seminole and other Indians who have lived here for centuries, so we need to narrow the question: who was the first permanent white settler of present times, “permanent” meaning someone whose family members still reside in Collier County. The answer is clearly John J. ... Read More »

The Maroons of Lostman’s Key & Capt. Jocelyn

By Craig Woodward If you are a frequent reader of this column you know that the last issue mentioned how Lostman’s Key and River were named. That information piqued my interest into researching this story and finding out more of the details. It turns out that the villain in the story was a notorious character in Southwest Florida around the ... Read More »

The origin of local place names

By Craig Woodward A few issues back I wrote an article about a former settlement known as “Grocery Place,” now located in Collier Seminole State Park, and pondered about how this name came to be given to such a remote location considering it was never a place to get groceries! As it turns out, persistence paid off, as a series of ... Read More »

William R. Maynard, the rest of the story…

COLLIER COUNTY’S FIRST SHERIFF By Craig Woodward It was a case of history repeating itself and, frankly, sort of surreal:flying 2,000 feet over Marco Island with Wayne Riley Maynard taking aerial photos out of the pilot’s window as his son and co-pilot, Ryan, flew the single engine Cessna we were in, a repeat of what had occurred exactly 85 years ... Read More »

Are You REALLY a Marco Old Timer? Conclusion

By Craig Woodward Time to announce the BIG WINNERS…. Drum roll…… and they are…… (in no particular order): Roy Bartlett, Lou Woessner, Tara O’Neill, Diane Chestnut and Roy Radlovacki!! We gave up trying to select Grand, First, Second, and Third place winners as everyone was coming in so close on scores. So, the major gifts, certificates from Bistro Soleil, The ... Read More »

Are you a “Marco Old Timer”?

By Craig Woodward We want to thank everyone who has submitted their answers to the “Are you a Marco old-timer quiz” by the March 25th deadline. The Coastal Breeze staff is currently reviewing them and will be announcing the winners in our next issue – so be sure to look for that issue. Meanwhile, I know from all of your comments, ... Read More »

Are you a “Marco Old Timer”? FINAL QUIZ! – PART 3

By Craig Woodward This is your last chance to take this professionally and scientifically developed test to see if you are an “Authentic Marco Old Timer” or a simple “Wannabe.” You need to combine your scores on Parts 1 & 2 & Part 3 (below) so you have a total of 75 questions answered, complete the form at the end ... Read More »

Are you a “Marco Old Timer”?

By Craig Woodward Hope you did well on Part One! Now take Part Two to pick up points to find out if you are really an “Authentic Old Timer” or just a “Wannabe.” Remember you take the test at your own risk, understanding that it might bring back a flood of nostalgia. If you are Newbie, please take the Quiz ... Read More »

Are you a “Marco Old Timer”?

By Craig Woodward How many times have you been at a party to hear someone telling everyone they moved to Marco in 2003 (or so) and are a “know it all.” This test has been both professionally and scientifically developed to sort thru the “Wannabes” and find the “Authentic Old Timers.” Take the test at your own risk. WARNING: it ... Read More »

Biking the Picayune and Fakahatchee Strands

by Craig Woodward Last Saturday morning, Matt Walthour, from Island Bike Shop joined me and we biked along with 21 members of the Naples Mid-Day Optimist Club from Naples to Everglades City. The club had done the same ride last year, and the enthusiasm to see the incredible scenery so close to Naples had spread, resulting in ten more riders ... Read More »

A Reflection on the Year 2010

by Craig Woodward The year 2010 is now concluded, and as one looks back, it is sad to reflect on the incredible loss of so many of Marco’s leaders, community and business titans. We are closing not only another decade, but also closing a chapter on Marco’s recent history, and it leaves one to wonder if the large void left ... Read More »

The Flying Sheriff and Maynard Island

by Craig Woodward In July of 1923 the Florida Legislature carved Collier County out of Lee County as its own County. Appointed by the Legislature were the five officers required by the Florida Constitution to operate each county – the Clerk of Court, Supervisor of Elections, Tax Assessor, Tax Collector and the Sheriff. Handpicked for the job of Sheriff by ... Read More »

Southwest Florida Cable News Flash

See under Coastal History if you missed Part 1 of this story on the installation of the submerged cable to Key West. The successful installation of the Trans-Atlantic cable in 1866 started the first revolution in telecommunications worldwide; submerged cables sunk through the seas and telegraph lines installed over land allowed residents of civilized countries to be only a ... Read More »

The submerged cable to Key West

Our local Collier County history normally starts with: W.T. Collier and his family traveling by schooner down the coast, settling on Marco Island in 1870, finding four black squatters on the Island and paying their way to Ft. Myers. In addition Collier reported finding no white person living between Punta Rassa (the point of land that is now the east ... Read More »

The Next Hurricane

This is a continuation of a series on the history of hurricanes in our area.If you missed part you can find it online at under Tales told Twice archives. The “Greatest Storms on Earth” – Part VIII If you are the least bit superstitious, then 2010 is not a good year. Not only is it the fifth anniversary of ... Read More »