Community History


Boca Beacon backpages FIVE YEARS AGO Hurricane Irma came and went, leaving many trees down but few homes damaged. Power was out for some time, though.  Wini Smart left us at the age of 85.  TEN YEARS AGO There was some major landscaping renovation going on at Coral Creek Airport, and numerous swing bridge builders […]

A loss felt around the world:

In May of 1991, a week after The Queen had flown home, her ship, Brittania, docked just off the Boca Grande coast and its officers spent a few hours on Useppa Island, mingling with residents and Useppa owner Garfield Beckstead (they came at the invitation of an island resident who had ties with the Royal Navy). Beckstead even made Admiral Robert Woodard of the Royal Navy an honorary member of Useppa Island, with a permanent invitation to return whenever he liked.

This Date in the Boca Beacon

FIVE YEARS AGO The lady who couldn’t make up her mind decided Boca Grande wasn’t for her. Hurricane Irma played tag with Southwest Florida for 11 days before she finally came through the state, but pretty much missed the island. TEN YEARS AGO Many local guides and fishermen went to the Florida Fish and Wildlife […]

This week in the Boca Beacon

Boca Beacon backpages FIVE YEARS AGO There was water, water everywhere, with approximately 13 inches of rain falling on the island. However, everyone here was looking to Texas, where flooding was a very dangerous situation because of Hurricane Harvey. Locals gathered to round up donations, which were taken to Texas by local volunteer organizations. TEN […]

This date in the Boca Beacon …

Boca Beacon backpages FIVE YEARS AGO A 2002 Glacier Bay named La Pirate was missing, and everyone was on the lookout. The new boardwalk officially opened at Gasparilla Island State Park. TEN YEARS AGO Boaters, boarders, swimmers and paddle boarders were keeping a close eye on several pieces of metal rebar sticking out of the […]

The orchid house on the bay and the beautiful lady who lives there

Change can be difficult to accept, especially in the last few years when progress seems to be accelerating and changes are everywhere all over the Cape Haze Peninsula. One thing that has not changed – at least not yet – is a little family home at the back of Eldred’s Marina. You might have missed it all this time if you’ve only been to the main parking area, but when you see it, you’ll never forget it.

Memories of the Marina, memoirs of Tim Dixon: One man’s version of  local history Part III

In 1992 Charlotte County decided to put a public boat ramp on a strip of property they owned along the old railroad bed in Placida. It was an old rail siding that was abandoned when the rail line shut down, and the County had acquired ownership of the property after the train stopped running. The County had built the fishing pier on the old trestle, and this would provide parking for the pier as well as a boat ramp. The property was on the west side of what is now the walk path to the pier, and adjacent to the Mercury Marine test facility. Mercury got wind of it, and they didn’t want people launching boats and parking beside their operation, so they offered to trade the current site of the public ramp for the strip adjacent to their property. Why not just pass that headache to someone else? The County took them up on the proposal and built a boat ramp right beside Eldred’s Marina, then started giving away what the marina was charging for. Now the County was in direct competition with a local business, but they were providing the service for free. Private businesses can’t compete with that. 

Memories of the Marina, memoirs of Tim Dixon: One man’s version of local history , Part II

My cousin, Linwood Parrish, was living on a houseboat in the marina and working around with Daddy on the island, and Linwood went to see Farrel Davis and obtained a loan to build a new barge. He and Daddy built the barge from 3/4 inch plywood and pressure-treated lumber, then fiberglassed the bottom. They got an old Lyman lap strake boat for a tow boat, and they were back in business. Daddy got a little flat-fender Willys jeep, built a trailer to put behind it, and we were really uptown! No more carrying lumber by hand! Later they bought a military deuce-and-a-half from Englewood Water District, and then came forklifts, tractors and other equipment. Later we added more length to the barge, about 10 feet if I remember correctly.

Tricky stairs and new 18th Street house mulled over by Historic Preservation Board

The first project to come before the Board was the replacement of an outside stairway at 225 Banyan Street. The stairway is on the south side of the house and is referred to as a “double-winder,” which means it has stairs to the right and left of the centerpoint. This is a short stairway, only four steps on each side. The owner wants to replace it with a single stairway directly in front of the doorway. 

Memories of the Marina, memoirs of Tim Dixon: One man’s version of local history, Part I

It all started in the 1960s when my Granddaddy, Alfred Bavis Dixon, known by most folks as Alfred or A.B., bought a parcel of mostly submerged land from Bert Cole. Mr. Cole had purchased the deed from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers when the Corps was building the Intracoastal Waterway, which stretches from Massachusetts to Brownsville, Texas. The Corps approached upland and adjacent landowners and sold off parcels of submerged and partially submerged land in order to help fund the massive project. Granddaddy was a dreamer and doer, a visionary, no stranger to long hours of hard work, a man far ahead of his time. He went to the proper authorities and obtained permits to dredge and fill the parcel, and then he brought a dredge that he had built with his son Ormand to his new dream. He never asked for any special favors, no government grants, no subsidies. All he wanted was to be left alone with his task. He got as much fill as he could get when the big dredge came through digging the waterway, and he dredged up more when he built the basin and channel out into the bay. The first time I remember going to “The Point,” as we all called it, I was just a kid, and Grandaddy had the dredge set up digging the channel out to the bay. I must have been about 10 years old at the time, and it was a very exciting time for me. We were living in Virginia then, and I had never seen anything like that.