To the Editor:
Thank you very much for printing the article last week to inform everyone about the Boca Grande Historical District Audio Tour that is now available at Bike ’n Beach.
But, yikes! The report got a number of things wrong. I’m afraid the many people who know and love the history of Boca Grande will think the tour is a compilation of misinformation. That could not be further from the truth. I would like to set the record straight.
The Historical Society consulted on the content to make sure all the facts are accurate but the Boca Grande Historical Society did not “put together” the tour. The tour was created by Boca Grande Tours Inc., Mickie Verderbar.
Only if you use a golf cart can the tour be completed in an hour. It takes a little longer on bike. Walking the tour takes about 1 3/4 to 2 hours. The audio time start to finish is 40 minutes. The time to complete all 22 points of interest will depend on the mode of transportation.
Goods were not imported and exported from Gasparilla Island. Phosphate was exported from Port Boca Grande.
There is no southern port on Gasparilla. There was just one port, Port Boca Grande located on the south end of the island. The article incorrectly refers to “beachfronters” as “beachgoers.”
Hugh Sharp is not mentioned in the audio. His brother, Bayard Sharp is mentioned a few times.
There is no Banyan Patch. Banyan Street and the Banana Patch are stops on the tour.
The teacherage not only houses Boca Bargains but is also home to the Boca Grande Historical Society.
The article as written last week is a friendly reminder that the tour is filling a need for more historic awareness in the community.
I am happy to report that long time residents and history buffs who previewed the tour remarked they were pleasantly surprised to learn so much about the island they never knew before. We dug deep to find some of the most interesting, lesser known island stories to entertain and inform listeners. Months of researching, fact checking and cross checking all the material took place before taking the final draft into production. In the production studio, the final content was transformed into a spirited audio presentation by using multiple male and female voiceover talents, incorporating music and descriptive sound effects to bring the very colorful history of Boca Grande to life!
Due to time constraints, we remind listeners that this tour is just an introduction to Boca Grande and there are many more points of interest and wonderful stories awaiting them here. Some excellent starting points for further exploration are the Boca Grande Historical Society and the Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce.
We know the story of Gasparilla Island is too rich with amazing characters, unique events and interesting historic locations to fit into just one tour. I hope everyone who takes the Boca Grande Historical District audio tour will be inspired to learn more.
You may also want your readers to know that supporting the tour helps preserve the island’s history.
Island Bike ’n Beach is donating 10 percent of tour profits to the Boca Grande Historical Society. Thank you very much.
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