Phosphate was a precious mineral for fertilizers and lots of different merchandise, and was in nice demand worldwide. At first the phosphate was barged down the Peace River to Port Boca Grande, the place it was loaded onto schooners for worldwide cargo. But by 1905 it was felt that constructing a railroad to Port Boca Grande and carrying the phosphate to it by rail ought to improve the method of shipment.
In 1885, phosphate rock was discovered on the banks of the Peace River simply above Punta Gorda , east of Gasparilla Island across Charlotte Harbor. It was this discovery that might turn the south end of Gasparilla Island into a serious deep-water port (Boca Grande Go is without doubt one of the deepest natural inlets in Florida) and change into liable for the event of the city of Boca Grande. Wealthy American and British sportsmen started discovering the Charlotte Harbor area for its fishing (notably for the world-class sport fish tarpon) and searching. It was these two discoveries – phosphate rock and fishing – that may “put Boca Grande on the map”.
In the Seventies, phosphate companies more and more switched their interest to ports in Hillsborough and Manatee Counties As more money was put into developing these ports, visitors into Port Boca Grande began to dwindle, and in 1979 the road was deserted and the phosphate business in Boca Grande got here to an finish. The port was additionally used as an oil storage terminal by Florida Power and Gentle Firm. This use ceased in 2001. The oil storage tanks have been subsequently removed from the 9-acre (36,000 m2) website at the southern tip of Gasparilla Island adjacent to the 120-year-old Boca Grande Lighthouse Island residents have begun an effort to have the property preserved as a part of the island’s state park system.
The railroad station in what would turn out to be downtown was built; roads, sidewalks, streetlights, shops, a submit workplace, and water and phone service were not far behind. The town was landscaped, including the now well-known section of Second Road called Banyan Avenue. The railroad firm built a number of cottages downtown and a few rich households from “up north” purchased land and built winter residences. The prepare stopped at Gasparilla, the fishing village on the north end of the island, on the railroad depot in downtown Boca Grande, and at the south end phosphate terminal.