December Meeting

2017-12-12 7:00 PM - 2017-12-12 8:00 PM
Historic Green Street Church
416 W Green St, Englewood, FL 34223, USA

Growing Up In Boca Grande: Bits-and-Bytes-of-History

NOTE: We regret to announce there will not be a Sing-Along this month. We hope to make plans for such an event next December. This month’s public Meeting will be on Tuesday, December 12, 7pm:

From “fish ranches” to phosphate shipping; from the “Grand Plan” with Grand Hotels to Boom and Bust and Boom again – learn about one of Southwest Florida’s first planned communities: Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island.


Betsy Fugate Joiner, director of the Boca Grande Historical Society, will share some stories about her life growing up in Boca Grande. She is a 3rd generation member of the Fugate Family of Boca Grande (you may know of Fugate’s Drug Store and Delmar Fugate’s Pink Elelphant). She is also a 4th generation Florida Cracker. Her father was actually born on Banyan Street in 1912. Her mother, Margaret was a teacher at Boca Grande High School, beginning in 1939 and then moved to Lemon Bay School in 1963 as Librarian and Spanish teacher when the school closed.


In addition, Betsy is Chair of the Boca Grande History Byte program which is held each season in February on Wednesday mornings at the Johann Fust Library.  The “Byte” program began with Sallie Van Italie’s idea in 2009 about having people share their stories in an informal setting.


Betsy is also General Manager at PJ’s Seagrille in Boca Grande, located inside the Historic San Marco Theatre Building.


Also speaking will be Pat Agles, Director of the Boca Grande Historical Society who will give a presentation on how the Society came about and where they are today. Pat, a founding member of the Boca Grande Historical Society, was owner of Galleria of Boca Grande from 1993-2005. She is Director of Product Development and licensing for the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village and is also Chair of the docent program at St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral Basilica in Santa Fe, NM. There she is a Team Member/Artist for the restoration of the Cathedral’s interior murals for a Celebration with the King of Spain.


We also expect a visit from Karen Grace, BGHS President. Karen & husband Jim are past owners of the historic Temptation Restaurant.

A Bit About the Boca Grande Historical Society:

“Four couples began the BGHS in 1995. It was the sesquicentennial of our state. To announce our founding, we had a fun historical/hysterical skit at the railroad depot on the train tracks. After a crowd gathered, we announced the news and the society was born. We operated for awhile in the Van Itallies kitchen. The island was growing quickly and we knew the importance of collecting stories/oral histories and photographs before these treasures disappeared.

“We are still active in the business of collecting these priceless histories and making them more easily available for viewing to our community. We invite all to come for a visit or perhaps a docent led walking/golf cart tour of our historic village of Boca Grande.”


Related upcoming events

  • 2018-03-27 7:00 PM - 2018-03-27 8:00 PM

    VIEW VIDEO courtesy ABC7

    About 7,200 years old and buried 21 feet deep below the Gulf of Mexico, 350 yards off Manasota Key is an extremely well preserved human burial site. Archaeologists are exploring what has been termed a "globally significant" discovery. National Geographic calls it an "unprecedented" find.

    On Tuesday, March 27 at 7pm the Lemon Bay Historical Society will host a presentation at Fellowship Hall, Englewood United Methodist Church, 700 E. Dearborn St., Englewood, on this incredible find. Our guest speaker will be John McCarthy, Executive Director of Historic Spanish Point. A native Floridian, John has spent his entire adult life learning about and bringing awareness to the power of nature, heritage, recreation and civic engagement to build community identity, value and pride. He is best known for his passionate lectures and unconventional management style. John, also a tour guide and author, served as Sarasota County’s official historian (beginning at the age of 19) and went on to have a 32-year-career in County Government, serving 10 years as an Environmental Specialist

    How was this site discovered? A diver picked up a barnacle-crusted jaw from a shallow spot off the shore of Manasota Key. The specimen sat on a paper plate in his kitchen for a couple weeks before he realized it was probably a human bone. The diver sent a picture to Florida’s Bureau of Archaeological Research, where it landed in front of Ryan Duggins, the bureau’s underwater archaeology supervisor.

    “As soon as we were there (at the site) it became clear that we were dealing with something new,” Duggins recalls. First, he spotted a broken arm bone on the seabed. Then, when he noticed a cluster of carved wooden stakes and three separate skull fragments in a depression, Duggins realized he might be dealing with a Native American bog burial site—one that had been inundated by sea level rise, but was miraculously preserved.

    “What we currently are thinking is that when an individual passed, they would have been wrapped in handwoven fibers and sunk to the bottom of the pond,” he explained. “A series of fire-hardened and sharpened stakes would be pounded into the pond bed around the body with the tops of those stakes protruding above the water line.”

    Despite the murky water, several aqua archaeologists measured and marked the ocean floor with the help of laser guided equipment. Each waterproof white tag marks intricate details of this sacred ground below the sea.

    The site, which measures roughly 0.75 acres dates back to the Early Archaic period, over 7,000 years ago, a time when Florida’s hunter-gatherers were living a more sedentary lifestyle, researchers say.

    Learn all about this unprecedented find at the first public presentation on this significant and sacred burial site.

    John McCarthy is Executive Director at Spanish Point as well as a writer for Sarasota Magazine. He served over 10 years an an Environmental Specialist for Sarasota County responsible for providing environmental and development review for coastal resource protection and coordination of resource monitoring and enhancement projects. Mr McCarthy was Sarasota County Historian from 1982 to 1988.

    Join us on Tuesday, March 27 at 7pm at Fellowship Hall, Englewood United Methodist Church, 700 E. Dearborn St., Englewood. A $10 donation is requested to help save Englewood’s historic Green Street Church.