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

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 of Florida – 40 million years ago – and continues through the years to 2020. 

The last entry, of course, is the COVID-19 situation.

When you go to the timeline there are two options: You can go to the “time jumps,” which are boxes that show the dates “1900,” “1950” or “2000,” or you can start from the very beginning and work your way through the entirety of the timeline.

BGHS President Jim Blaha was the one who created the concept, and who contributed most of the research. He said the biggest reason behind his work came from being a docent at the history center.

“It’s important for visitors to have some sense of chronology of development,” he said. “When I was asked about an event or item that related to a date, I would have to research it. We have had separate timelines here before, for other aspects of our history, so I started to put them all together. At some point, I realized I had to put together the mother of all timelines for Boca Grande.”

Blaha said the timeline is an important tool to provide the ability to comprehend what has happened over the years, to get us to where we are today. 

“I consulted existing timelines, went to books and out-of-print newspapers,gazettes and journals,” he said. “Then I went through all of the History Bytes events.”

The more Blaha dug, the more material he found. It was a work of the heart, and he poured many hours into the project.

“Originally I just thought it would help me be a better docent,” he said. “When I shared with some of my colleagues on the board, they thought it had some promise. So we threw in some pictures with it, and it kind of developed a life of its own. I think it’s a fine addition to our website.”

This is a work in progress, of course, and additional items will be added to past years as they are discovered, or to the current year as they occur. 

You can see for yourself the amount of work that has gone into the new timeline, by going to bocagrandehistoricalsociety.com/history-center/boca-grande-timeline/