October 17, 2021

Man Fine

The Fine Art Of Education

Historic Record | Fort Myers Florida Weekly

Best: The stays of Capt. Horr’s home as they surface right now. The dwelling was made of tabby, a combination of sand and shells. ROBIN F. DEMATTIA / FLORIDA WEEKLY

In advance of Florida turned synonymous with oranges, it was known at the change of the 20th century for expanding and exporting pineapples.

Locally, Horr’s Island in close proximity to Marco was the website of a big pineapple plantation. Elements of the two-tale plantation property built in 1877 continue being standing nowadays. Pineapples even still pop up listed here and there around the island.

Captain John Horr, originally from Ohio, was performing in Key West by 1876. A Civil War veteran, collector of customs for the Port of Crucial West, U.S. Marshall and Republican nominee for Secretary of Condition of Florida in 1900, Capt. Horr operated a wholesale grocery enterprise in Key West that, in section, served ships heading by.

Just as people today holiday in Southwest Florida currently, Capt. Horr bought Horr’s Island and utilised it as his vacation assets from 1877 to 1920 for himself, his wife, Lucinda, and their granddaughter, Hortense. He also took benefit of the pineapple craze and started off the plantation.

His two-tale house was built from tabby, a combination of sand and shells from close by Calusa Indian mounds. This sturdy developing method has helped the dwelling face up to quite a few hurricanes above the earlier 144 several years.

A Calusa Indian mound on the island. ROBIN F. DEMATTIA / FLORIDA WEEKLY

A Calusa Indian mound on the island. ROBIN F. DEMATTIA / FLORIDA WEEKLY

So quite a few individuals lived on the island to help with the plantation and packing plant, there was even a university for all the small children.

Capt. Horr offered the island in 1923 and retired to Ohio, where he handed away in 1926.

The Horr’s Island plantation ruins joined the National Sign-up of Historic Places in 1997.

“It’s an incredible and scarce instance of the record from that pioneer period,” claims Austin Bell, curator of collections at the Marco Island Historic Modern society. “As additional and additional progress takes place in and close to Marco Island, locations like these require to be shielded and are literal connections to our previous.”

Ann Dilbone, who grew up in Ohio and is a excellent-terrific-granddaughter of Capt. Horr, was unaware of her spouse and children relationship to Horr’s Island till an uncle visited in the early 1960s.

An example of tabby, the material made from sand and shell used to construct Capt. Horr’s house. ROBIN F. DEMATTIA / FLORIDA WEEKLY

An example of tabby, the product designed from sand and shell utilized to construct Capt. Horr’s residence. ROBIN F. DEMATTIA / FLORIDA WEEKLY

“My uncle named and reported we owned an island down below,” she recollects. “I mentioned, ‘What are you speaking about?’” Neither her mom nor her grandmother, Hortense, experienced at any time talked about it, she adds.

Ms. Dilbone, who eventually moved to Naples and taught at Poinciana Elementary Faculty for 24 several years, first frequented Horr’s Island in the mid-1960s. She had to choose a boat to the uninhabited island and climb up the aspect of a hill (a bridge to the island was designed in 1994).

“The two flooring ended up even now standing,” she suggests. “It was in collapse with a tree developing by way of it.”

A lot of folks affiliate the Collier loved ones, descendants of Barron Reward Collier, with getting extensive ties with the county. Ms. Dilbone’s friend Judy Sproul, a granddaughter of Mr. Collier, was stunned to hear of Ms. Dilbone’s possess extended-time spouse and children connection to Southwest Florida.

“We were being at evening meal a person night time when I stated Horr’s Island and requested Judy if she’d like to see it. I picked her up one working day and drove down there. I defined to the person at the gate who we had been. He reported, ‘You’re the great-excellent-granddaughter of Captain Horr. Could I shake your hand?’ Judy, who has all the historical past there is in Collier County, now knew there was other heritage apart from her have,” she laughs.

Above: An aerial photo of Horr’s Island.

Previously mentioned: An aerial picture of Horr’s Island.

Evidence of human occupants on the island pre-dates both equally family members, likely back again 6,700 many years. Exploration also demonstrates that the Spaniards unsuccessfully tried to convert the Calusa Indians all through the 16th century and still left in the early 1570s. Until eventually the late 18th century, Spanish-Cuban fishermen designed fishing camps in the area for seasonal use.

Currently, component of Horr’s Island is a improvement named Key Marco. There are 30 households, 4 far more beneath building, and about 100 heaps for sale, which includes just one that has a historic shell mound that was carbon dated to 4,000 BC.

The island is particularly hilly. The Horr plantation residence sits 23 ft earlier mentioned sea stage. The leading of a shell mound that sits in between a split in Blue Hill Creek Travel is 43 ft higher than sea amount.

Right: Captain John Horr owned the property from 1877 to 1923.

Appropriate: Captain John Horr owned the house from 1877 to 1923.

Maureen McFarland and her partner, Richard McDonnell, live entire time on the island that sits on the southeast side of Marco Island and adjacent to Cape Romano struggling with Barfield Bay. Ms. McFarland notes that their home is the previous 1 on the island and that there are no other properties south of theirs till Vital West.

“It’s a concealed gem,” she suggests of Horr’s Island. “There are very several cars, pretty tiny gentle air pollution, and you’re surrounded by h2o.” A gated entrance and compact bridge give citizens and their guests accessibility to the island.

Ms. McFarland and her partner felt a feeling of stewardship for the historic land and obtained two loads adjacent to their household to defend them from advancement.

“We have to have to get treatment of our natural environment,” she suggests. “With the Indian mounds and the plantation ruins, it will make me realize that time goes by and for this tiny time we’re listed here we have to make it a far better position to reside.”

She not too long ago concluded the Grasp Gardener plan and is enthusiastic about the native and historic crops on Horr’s Island.

There are groves of satinwood and heaps of muscadine grape, guava, papaya and turpentine mango. She also sees wild espresso, white plumbago, wild goldenrod, Jamaican dogwood, moonvine, white and purple coco plums, blue porterweed, wild lime trees and Geiger trees, amongst other species.

She says the citizens take pleasure in seeing 12 bobcats that dwell on the island as very well as quite a few gopher tortoises. Butterflies are plentiful, attracted by all the undeveloped locations flourishing with vegetation.

In close proximity to wherever the pineapple plantation docks when sat is Barfield Bay Docks, which gives about 100 slips and a five-moment experience to the Gulf of Mexico.

With just a person street on Horr’s Island, citizens go the plantation home ruins and shell mounds typically. For Ms. McFarland, these sights are a reminder of the incredibly unique place she life.

“The additional I study about our community space, the much more magnificence I come across,” she claims. ¦