Above, a family who lived in Gasparilla Village.
Below, the train depot at the north end. At right, the
old IGA store. Below, another shot of the village.
enumerated within part of the Grove City Census
District. The numbers showed 32 families with names
like O’Bannon, Dixon, Whidden, Hays, Hickok,
Jennings and Cole.
In 1914 the American Agricultural Chemical
Company built two fish houses next to the railroad
right-of-way just south of Peekin’s Cove. They were
leased to fish dealers, and they became the center of
a new fishing settlement called Gasparilla. The Lowe
family was one of the first to build a home there. In
1916 the Boca Grande Land Company built 16 more
fishermen’s houses there, in the hopes of creating a
town-like atmosphere that would keep families living
their year-round (mullet season ran from September
through November when it was “roe season”).
In 1899 things changed dramatically when an ice
plant was built near Punta Gorda, which made
shipping fish without salt possible. That one event was
the beginning of the end for the Peekin’s Cove salt
fish camp. Prior to its demise, though, the village of
Gasparilla was thriving. Many families made a life