Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway Depot
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BoomersOTR
N 26° 45.049 W 082° 15.697
17R E 374547 N 2959458
Quick Description: Historic railway depot located in the Boca Grande community on Gasparilla Island, Florida.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 6/12/2019 7:09:45 AM
Waymark Code: WM10QPW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 2

Long Description:
The 141 foot long Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway Depot was constructed in two phases: the twelve-bay southern section in ca. 1909-1910 and the nine-bay northern addition in ca. 1912-1913. After the addition, the ground floor served as waiting rooms, freight storage and a ticket office. The second story housed the main offices of the railway. The Mediterrean Revival style influence is evidenced by the French tile roof and the arcaded loggia at the south end from which the main entrance is accessible. Located near the center of Boca Grande, the beige brick structure is relatively unadorned by decorative detailing with the exceptions of the heavy bracketing along the cornice, the balustrade on the west gallery, and the projecting belt course and sill treatment. The semi-octagonal bay on the east (track) side projects from the ticket agent's office and allowed for visibility up and down the tracks.

The Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway Depot in Boca Grande derives its primary significance as a symbol of the Railway's contribution to the development of the Southwest Florida area. Built circa 1910, the Mediterrean Revival style structure reflects the burgeoning economic growth of the area which was caused by new phosphate activities and the rise in tourism. The depot also served as the main offices for the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway after the company moved from Hull. After 1913, part of the structure was leased to the United States Customs Service.

New phosphate discoveries in west central Florida and advanced mining techniques developed in the 1880's demanded a port capable of handling the increased volume of sea going traffic. The phosphate rock was brought down the Peace River in barges and lighters for both domestic and foreign trans-shipment. By the late 1890's, volume had increased to such a level that water transportation proved inadequate.

In 1897, the Alafia, Manatee and Gulf Railway Company was incorporated by the Florida Legislature "for the purpose of constructing and operating a railroad for the transportation of passengers, produce, goods, and all other freight, from a point at or near Plant City, Florida, to a point on Charlotte Harbor." In 1906, the Alafia, Manatee and Gulf Railway was absorbed by the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway which proposed to construct an 110 mile road from Plant City to Boca Grande. By 1906, the American Agriculture and Chemical Company, the parent company of the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway, had extended its mining activities and developed the railway and the deep-water part of Boca Grande for the shipment of phosphate.

By 1909, the Railway had four locomotives, seventy-nine cars, carried 13,721 passengers, and transported 36,545 tons of freight. In addition to phosphate, the railway also handled shipments of lumber, vegetables, citrus, and livestock that was interchanged with the Sea- board Coast Line at its terminals in Plant City and Mulberry. By 1917, the Charlotte Harbor and Northern had expanded to eleven locomotives, 217 freight cars, fifteen passenger cars, and fifty-six units of work equipment.

To a large extent, the American Agriculture and Chemical Company through its subsidiaries of the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway and the Boca Grande Land Company was responsible for the development of the Boca Grande community. The Gasparilla Inn near the Depot was constructed by the Boca Grande Land Company for the upper echelon employees of the parent company and its subsidiaries. In addition, the Land Company made improvements on the island and sold lots to its employees.

In 1928, the Seaboard Airlines Railroad acquired all of the capital stock of the Charlotte Harbor and Northern, and absorbed the operations of the Boca Grande Route. Until 1958, the railroad was the only land transportation link with the mainland.

(Excerpted from: NRHP application, statement of significance)
Street address:
433 4th Street W.
Boca Grande, FL USA

County / Borough / Parish: Lee County

Year listed: 1979

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Transportation, Industry

Periods of significance: 1900-1924

Historic function: Transportation

Current function: Vacant/Not in Use

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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BoomersOTR visited Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railway Depot 4/13/2019 BoomersOTR visited it