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.”