Community History

GICIA celebrates 50th anniversary with restoration of Sam Murphy Park

SUBMITTED BY THE GICIA- The Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement Association (GICIA) is pleased to announce that the restoration of the Sam Murphy Park has been completed. The GICIA is delighted with the beautification efforts and encourage everyone to stop in and enjoy this quiet oasis in the middle of downtown.     The GICIA will […]

Stories of early island fishing guides (Part II of II)

Part I of this series ran in the August 21 edition of the Boca Beacon. You can find it online at, or on our Facebook page with the same name. SUBMITTED BY THE BGHS- Boca Grande’s early fishing guides prepared the way for their sons, grandsons and even later descendants both by teaching them […]

The Boca Grande Club early years: The 1970s and 80s

SUBMITTED BY THE BOCA GRANDE HISTORICAL SOCIETY – A November 1978 article in the St Petersburg Times announced the creation of a new development on Gasparilla Island, to be called the Boca Grande Club. The original investors in the project were Harper Sibley, who developed the Ocean Reef Club on Key Largo; Wilber H. (Bud) Cole, a founder of Punta Gorda Isles Inc.; Louis […]

First a school, then a community gathering place

SUBMITTED BY THE BOCA GRANDE HISTORICAL SOCIETY- The Community Center and the property around it have been an important gathering place for island people since it was built in 1929. Francis and Louise Crowninshield donated the property and helped raise the money to build a school for white children first grade through high school.   […]

BGHS creates ‘the mother of all timelines’ for island history buffs

BY MARCY SHORTUSE- The Boca Grande Historical Society has done some timelines in the past, but primarily ones put together for specific times or events in history. Now, though, historians can browse what the BGHS has called “the mother of all timelines.” This timeline begins, quite literally, at the beginning of time for the state […]