Cape Haze Property Owners Association

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The Shark Lady


A Brief History of Cape Haze

The lands and waters around the Cape Haze peninsula were occupied for thousands of years by native Americans who lived primarily off the bounty of the sea. Around Charlotte Harbor today, there remain a significant number of shell middens and other historical sites through which archeologists are piecing together the lifestyles of the Calusa and Timucua tribes who controlled this area until the arrival of European explorers.

In the late 19th century, fishing and farming settlements developed on the Cape Haze peninsula. Grove City was featured in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and a fishing community developed at Placida. Between 1905 and 1909, the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railroad laid tracks thru the peninsula (near today’s Highway 771) and across a newly created railroad bridge to Boca Grande to haul phosphate for loading aboard ships at Boca Grande pass.

In the 1950s, Alfred and William Vanderbilt, purchased 35,000 acres of land on the Cape Haze peninsula for use primarily as a cattle ranch. Their holdings included most parts of the subdivisions known today as Rotonda, South Gulf Cove, Windward, Cape Haze East and Cape Haze.

The Vanderbilt brothers began developing Cape Haze and Cape Haze East in the early 1950s. Seawalls were constructed and fill dirt brought in to create the canals and shape the land areas that make-up the Cape Haze subdivision today. In the early days, Cape Haze Drive continued west via a bridge over Lemon Bay onto Don Pedro Island. When the Intracoastal Waterway was dredged in the early 1960s, the bridge between Cape Haze and Don Pedro was permanently removed.


Pictures from a 1960s Cape Haze Corporation brochure





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