MARCO ISLAND is located in southwest Florida. Before the island became modernized with its beautiful homes, restaurants, shops, and more, the island was called Old Marco Island where the fierce Calusa Indians and pioneers lived about four thousand years ago. The Indians and pioneers multiplied along the Gulf Coast during the time Christopher Columbus was exploring the new world. They hunted and fished for their food, and found and used other raw materials to create tools, shelter, and clothing.
The Calusa Indians used their woodworking skills to construct canoes, beams, and planks to build houses, docks for their small boats, and piers. They also made woodcarvings of animals, elaborate masks, and a panther which is now on display at the Smithsonian Institute.
Explorers like Juan Ponce de Leon, a friend of Christopher Columbus, was eager to take friends and go to Marco Island. The Calusa were not in favor of visitors. In 1521, Juan Ponce de Leon reached the island with his friends, and they were ambushed, and he was wounded by a spear, and he died a few days later.
The Calusa Indians died out from diseases carried to them by the outsiders who came to the island, and Marco Island was nearly uninhabited until after the Civil War.
William Thomas Collier is credited for having found Marco Island in 1870. His second son, Captain Bill played an important role as a hardworking pioneer to improve the island. He opened the Old Marco Inn in 1896, and it's still on the island. The Barfield family also helped Marco Island flourish with their hard work. All of them helped the island to flourish, develop, and prosper.
In the 1920's, Barron Gift Collier, no relation to William, bought ninety percent of the island to develop.
Marco Island is a beautiful spot, and you'd enjoy the beauty of the homes, restaurants, and other things they have to offer if you get a chance.
Thank you for joining me here today!