Jonathan Herbert is an award-winning writer who grew up in Englewood. His novels, Banyan Street and Silver King, have won multiple literary awards, including recognition from the Paris Book Festival. You can follow him on Twitter @herbertnovels or on the web at herbertnovels.com. ZONTAL PINK LINES PLEASE September/October 2017 GASPARILLA ISLAND 15 writing portrays it, “like art, it’s a mixture of pleasure, pain and passion.” His purpose for writing this three-part article, according to the book’s forward, was “to share a small portion of the history of the island available through public records, and to assist owners in understanding the unique written history of their property.” Michael Ingram had a long history with the island. He practiced business and real estate law with the Tampa-based law firm Alley, Ingram & Buckler and was the partner in charge of the office maintained by the firm in the Fugate Building (the same location where his father resided and conducted his medical practice) in Boca Grande. He was part owner of Journey’s End with his brother and sister, which has since become the only residence in Boca Grande to be nominated and listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. Amongst the dusty and disorderly materials involving Charlotte Harbor I stumbled across the abstract of title received by him when Journey’s End in Boca Grande was purchased in 1963. As a real estate lawyer who examined many an abstract during small town practice in Sarasota, I opened the brittle cover and, by habit, began to run the chain from the earliest public records in the1880s.” The result of this process, as seen from public records, was a 38 page history of Gasparilla Island, which occurred in three distinct periods: Before the railroad (pre-1905); the railroad, Gasparilla Inn and Historic District (1905 to 1945); and Sunset Realty and the return of the Railroad (post-1945). Because of the nature and history of Gasparilla Island, the current owners are unusually diverse, distinguished and empowered through lifetimes of success and achievements, both before and after their arrival on the island. While there will always be leaders of the Boca Grande community, they will be leaders among leaders. A Title Examiner’s History of Boca Grande was published in 1996. The future of the island at that time could have gone a few different ways. Ingram, using public records as his guide, concluded this rich collection of island history with this. It is difficult to predict the end of an historic era, but there is an event on the horizon which may best define the beginning of the new age. The proposed purchase of the Boca Grande Bridge and Causeway by the Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority constitutes a significant transfer of power from the few to the many … perhaps the recording of the deep from Gaspar Inc. to Gasparilla Island Bridge Authority will begin the fourth historic era, as seen from the vantage point of the public records. A black and white photograph, circa 1912, fills the bottom of the last page. Island residents are strolling the beach in small groups at the end of 4th Street. Men wearing long black pants with black sport coats and women in white dresses converse just far enough away from the waterline. An undeveloped coastline fills in behind them but the Boca Grande Pass looks the same; symbolic of an island oasis that has maintained its independence from a rapidly-changing world. This book is available at most libraries locally, including the Johann Fust Library in Boca Grande. It is also available at abebooks.com. G M Boca Grande train station.
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