CIHS Launches Season on Historic Boca Grande
The Captiva Island Historical Society launched its 8th season of programs with a cruise, lunch and historian address at the Gasparilla Inn on Boca Grande on November 13, 2018.
Two full boats supplied by Captiva Cruises from McCarthy’s Marina transported the 100 guests to the historic destination, as Marina docents recounted the geography, history and lore of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor, sharing background on hurricanes, the Calusa Indians, the Cuban fish camps, the phosphate trade, tourism development, and daily life on neighboring islands off the grid.
The guests on the boat were treated to an up-close look at the historic fish houses of Pine island Sound.
A delicious buffet lunch rewarded the group in the main dining room of the Inn, with its live indoor palms and pastel colored island splendor.
Tom Libonate, President of the CIHS Board, welcomed the guests to the historical society’s first event of the season. Tina Malasics, an employee of the hotel since 1983 and resident Inn historian, delivered an animated talk tracing the history of the hotel to its origins in 1913. It began as a retreat for the executives of a company that owned both the thriving Florida phosphorus mining trade and the railroads that transported the chemical, using the deep harbor at Boca Grande.
The hotel survived vicissitudes of the economy and management changes to morph into the natural elegance that graces it today. At lunch CIHS Board members provided maps depicting and describing some of the historic points of interest of Boca Grande for self-guided tours, including the Johann Fust Community Library.
It was a sold-out crowd that returned to Captiva, satiated with a deeper understanding of the stories that created the historic bounty of our surroundings in southwest Florida.
Each passenger received a copy of the CIHS Schedule of Events for the coming season.
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-Photo credit: Lynn Thelen, Merni Libonate, Deb Kelley