SK Book

Illustrated History of Siesta Key: The Story of America’s Best Beach

A history of a very popular beach destination near Sarasota on the Gulf coast of Florida. Reviewing the past century of Siesta Key development in the context of Florida’s ancient and recent emergence, this book explains how one small Gulf coast barrier island has become world famous as “#1 Beach in the USA.” Beginning with Amerindian settlers, the “First Floridians,” all of the seminal pioneers and a steady stream of pivotal leaders are described with emphasis on their families, motivations, and challenges. Both historical triumphs and tragedies are covered to provide a balanced perspective. Lastly, the current and future threats are analyzed in detail, including the environmental controversies with nearby keys, the menace of increasing red tide, and the risks of rising sea levels associated with global warming.

Table of Contents

Foreword
Note on Sources
Preface
1. Introduction and Chronology of Siesta Key Development

2. Birth of a Beach: Formation of Florida’s Gulf Coast Barrier Islands and Siesta Key

3. The First Floridians and their Gulf Coast Settlements
4. The Influence of the Spanish
5. Pioneers Displaying of Florida Hospitality
6. Early Barriers to Florida Tourism
7. The Triumph and Tragedy of Harry Higel: A Hero and Martyr
8. Bridges over Troubled Waters: Siesta Key Tourism Launched in May 1917
9. An Interlude with Innovations and Fishing Shacks
10. Spring Breaks Begin with Amish and Mennonite Visitors
11. Becoming America’s Best Beach
12. The Glory and Generosity of the Greggs
13. Evolution of Unique Villages
14. A Tale of Two Beaches
15. Spring Break Haven:
16. Battle of the Keys: Attempts to Protect Treasured Beaches
17. Threats and Challenges
CHRONOLOGY
1. Prehistoric era
2. Amerindian visitations and transient habitation
3. The Spanish/Cuban period
4. Homesteading pioneers settle Siesta Key
5. Initial phase of real estate development and failure
6. Fishing shack interlude with innovations
7. Beach cottage period launches sustained tourism
8. The age of the high rise, residential condominium
9. Shorter stay tourist boom supervenes
10. The “best beach” era attracting spring break crowds

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