Longboat Key’s history is heavily intertwined in every part of this area, from the name to the land itself. When you’re in such a historic area, it’s hard not to want to know more about its roots. Longboat Key has been home to Cubans, Spaniards, Indians, and pioneers right up until the 1890’s.
Although their history is rather short compared to other places, Longboat Key makes up for it in its profound growth over such a short period of time. Interested in knowing more about the history of Longboat Key? You will find seven historical markers in various locations around the Key that you should make part of your visit if you have time.
- You will find the first marker starting at the south end at Overlook Park directly next to the New Pass Bridge. When you cross the bridge from the south, take a sharp left right before the Chart House restaurant. You will find the marker near the pass and tells all about the Ritz Carlton Hotel, started in 1925 but was never finished.
- The second marker is located at 2162 Gulf of Mexico Drive, at the fire station on the right. It explains the story of the farming community that thrived on the Key before the hurricane of 1921 which destroyed all of the crops by covering most of the area with salt water.
- The third maker is located at 3960 Gulf of Mexico Drive, just south of the Bayport condominium after the utility lift station. This marker stands as a reminder of the activities of the Spanish galleons and Indian canoes in Gulf starting in the mid-1500s, through the Civil War years, the Spanish-American War and World War II.
- The fourth marker is located at 4250 Gulf of Mexico Drive at the Town Water Plant. It described how Longboat Key was used as a bombing target in World War II for Army Air Corps fighter pilots that came from all over Florida.
- The fifth marker is located at 4800 Gulf of Mexico Drive right where the beach access is on the Gulf and describes the target range in more detail. It also tells the tales of the Coast Guard patrolling the beach at night.
- The sixth marker is located where Longboat Key’s first home was erected which was in the area of Broadway and was a thatched shack built around 1882 by Thomas Mann, a Confederate soldier from Indiana, who also was a carpenter by trade.
- The final marker can be found farther down Broadway, north of the existing dock. The marker stands where the original dock stood before it was destroyed in the hurricane of 1921.
Longboat Key’s rich history is honored throughout the area by these landmarks so be sure to be on the lookout while you are exploring. The beauty of Longboat Key is only enriched by what she has become over the years. It’s important that we recognize that her past has laid the foundation of Longboat Key’s present and will become the stepping stones of the Island’s future. Only then will we really be able to appreciate Longboat Key and all of its glory!