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The town of Longboat Key turned fabulous 60 on Nov. 14, 2015. The island itself enjoys a vivid her- itage that predates the town’s formation in 1955.
Longboat Key has been a prime vacation destina- tion for hundreds—if not thousands—of years. Its earliest known tourists were Calusa and Timucuan Indians who lived on the mainland east of the Key but traveled there to enjoy many of the same attrac- tions that draw visitors to its shores today: the strik- ing beaches and luscious seafood harvest.
In 1538, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto led an expedition to Florida in search of gold. Instead, he found shimmering sunsets and inviting sands. De Soto’s scout and treasurer, Juan Anasco, explored the area and is said to have been the first European to set foot on Longboat Key.
But it wasn’t until the late 1800s that Longboat Key had its first permanent residents. In 1888, Thomas Mann, a Confederate soldier and carpenter, moved his family to a simple thatched hut he built on the north end of the Key. In 1891, as part of the Homestead Act, Mann was awarded 144.47 acres in what is now the Longbeach Village neighborhood of Longboat Key.
Communities began to develop in the early 1900s, both at the north end of the island and mid-Key, where a bountiful agricultural community of ap- proximately eighteen families flourished.
The Mistletoe steamship carried visitors between the island and the mainland, and also shipped pro- duce from farmer Byron Corey’s dock, which was known as Corey’s Landing. A hurricane in October 1921 destroyed island farming and most existing structures on Longboat Key. Undaunted, during the next 30 years, families continued to migrate to the Key. On November 14, 1955, residents overwhelm- ingly voted to incorporate the Key as a town. d
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Longboat Key Paradise

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