Longboat Key has been home to Indians, Spaniards, Cubans and local pioneers until the 1890s when winners of homestead grants settled here on their own land
To commemorate the short but interesting history of Longboat Key, the Town and the Longboat Key Historical Society have erected seven historic markers in various locations on the Key. We hope you take time to visit them.
- Starting at the south end, the first marker is at Overlook Park next to the New Pass Bridge. As you cross the bridge from the south, take a sharp left before the Chart House restaurant. The marker is near the pass itself and tells about the Ritz Carlton Hotel, started in 1925 and never finished.
- The second is at 2162 Gulf of Mexico Drive at the fire station on the right. It tells of the farming community that thrived on the Key until the hurricane of 1921 destroyed the crops and covered most of the Key with salt water.
- The third is at 3960 Gulf of Mexico Drive just south of the Bayport condominium at a utility lift station. This marker brings to life the activities in the Gulf from Spanish galleons and Indian canoes starting in the mid-1500s, through the Civil War years, the Spanish American War and World War II.
- Marker #4 is located at 4250 Gulf of Mexico Drive at the Town Water Plant and describes how Longboat Key was used as a target and bombing range in World War II for Army Air Corps fighter pilots from all over Florida.
- The fifth marker at 4800 Gulf of Mexico Drive at the beach access on the Gulf, describes the target range and speaks of the Coast Guard patrolling the beach at night.
- Longboat Key's first home was in the area of Broadway and was a thatched shack built about 1882 by Thomas Mann, a Civil War veteran from Indiana. Opposite 631 Broadway is a marker telling of the concrete block house built by attorney John Walters in the early 1900s and still standing. It is now owned by Longboat pioneer Helen Holt.
- Farther down Broadway north of the present dock, the marker tells of the covered Town dock that was destroyed in the hurricane of 1921. Ships from Tampa landed there to discharge and pick up passengers who stayed at the hotel, another block house, which is still standing. The ships continued south to Corey's Landing and Sarasota where they picked up fish and produce and returned to Tampa the next day.