Longboat Key, Florida | August 14th, 2018 – If plans pan out as expected, the Longboat Key Historical Society will open its very first headquarters in January next year. Since it was established in 1980, this nonprofit group has no permanent place of its own while it pursues commendable efforts to highlight and preserve the town’s rich heritage that helped made Longboat such a wonderful place to live in.
Appropriately enough, the society’s headquarters is set on a 0.21-acre lot at 521 Broadway Street on the southern edge of historic Longbeach Village. Quite fitting as well, this nonprofit will be housed in the shells of a pair of vintage 1930s cottages relocated from the Whitney Beach development very much a part too of the town’s real estate history.
A fund-raising campaign is now well underway to finance the rehabilitation of the cottages. This project’s to-do list includes new roofing, wiring, painting, air-conditioning, plumbing, and installing ramp access.
An Amenity to Enjoy
The town’s historical society was founded 38 years ago through the efforts of the founders of the publication Longboat Observer, Ralph and Claire Hunter. It grew out of the Hunters’ commitment to collect and maintain memorabilia, photos, and stories about Longboat Key’s past. The couple believe that a historical society is a community amenity viable for the town which possesses a rich and colorful history like many great towns and cities.
Ralph and Claire saw the importance of creating a link between the past and the present, and in so doing, honor the legacy of Longboat Key’s pioneers. Given the perceived necessity of preserving the historical archives of the town, the society is dedicated to the mission of researching, collecting, and exhibiting artifacts, materials, and photographs related to the history of the island, its people, and local events and places. It is also committed to hold educational activities, as well as outreach and advocacy programs in order to inspire a sense of community through a shared common history.
Legacies from the Past
Looking back, Longboat Key indeed has a rich heritage by which to build upon a common thread with the present. Artifacts found in the island indicate that the town in prehistoric times was a vacation land for the Native American tribes Timucuan, Tocabaga, and Caloosa. Shellmounds found locally showed traces of these natives having fish fries and picnics in the island.
As charming, some historical accounts tell of visits in the island by the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto. The town’s name, it has also been alleged, was derived from the “longboats” that the Spaniards used in penetrating Florida’s interior areas and outlying islands like our town.
Looking back would likewise reveal how dramatic the growth of Longboat Key has been, as it started just as a homestead grant to Civil War veteran Thomas Mann in 1891. Interestingly, Mann sold his land sometime during the turn of the century just for $500.
Houses started rising at Longbeach Village on the island’s north end in the early 1900s. Some of these remain standing up to today, and a few sometimes get listed on the market as an interesting counterpoint to the newly built residences in town.
A thorough understanding of the past and present of Longboat Key would certainly be helpful for sellers and buyers of real estate in the island. The Judy Kepecz-Hays team, after so many years in this town, has already become a proud member of the local community and can share more on what makes our market territory tick.
Benefit from our knowledge on the ins and outs of buying or selling a property here, as well as other Sarasota areas. Call or e-mail us for more insights about the Longboat Key real estate market.