Historic Markers Across Florida

Nocatee Historic District/Nocatee Baptist Church

Marker ID: FLHM F-830
Location: US 17 at SW Shores Ave, Arcadia, FL
County: DeSoto
Coordinates: N 27° 09.365    W 081° 53.136
  27.15608333    -81.8856
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMWCBH


Nocatee Historic District

The town of Nocatee originated as a lumber manufacturing town during the 1880s. During the late 19th century, two businesses stimulated the town's growth. One was the King Lumber and Manufacturing Company, established by W.G. Welles in 1896. The second was the Nocatee Crate Lumber and Manufacturing Company, opened a few years later. The two businesses were next to each other west of the Florida Southern Railroad tracks and south of County Road 760/Welles Avenue. The Nocatee Crate Company eventually became the largest employer in Desoto County, which prompted the construction of many homes and businesses. The company's success was partly due to the development of a packing crate that made it cheaper and easier to ship fruits and vegetables to market. These “4-One" crates, built of wire wrapped around wood corners and veneer strips, were used throughout the U.S. The crates could be flattened and stacked, and their light weight reduced shipping costs and waste. Several buildings along the west side of U.S. 17 were constructed by the Nocatee Crate Company and rented to its employees. When the company closed, the homes were sold to the residents at auction.

Nocatee Baptist Church

The Nocatee Baptist Church (later known as the First Baptist Church of Nocatee) was organized around 1890, and held its early services in a local school under the pastorship of the Rev. T.J. Sparkman. In 1915, B.F. Welles, brother of Nocatee Crate Lumber and Manufacturing Company co-founder W.G. Welles, donated land for the construction of a brick church east of U.S. 17. The building used a Greek cross plan with a cross gable roof, Gothic style windows with Queen Anne colored glass, and a bell tower. The church held its first service in this new location in 1916. The church closed temporarily in 1930s because of a controversial divide in the congregation, which was reunited by 1949. From 1949-1956, a new classroom building as well as a kitchen and recreation hall were constructed. Although the church was taken down in 2014, the Florida Department of Transportation assisted the congregation with salvaging the arched windows and bell. The top of the bell tower, or cupola, was removed and relocated to the DeSoto County Historical Society property in Arcadia.

Florida Heritage Site

F-830 Sponsored by The Florida Department of Transportation
and the Florida Department of State