Historic Markers Across Florida

Gasparilla Inn & Club

Marker ID: FLHM 
County: Lee
Waymark: None


The Gasparilla Inn, built by the Boca Grande Land Company, subsidiary of a national phosphate company that was an early major island land holder, opened in 1911. Under the leadership of company principal, Peter Bradley (1850-1933), the hotel provided an upscale winter destination for wealthy guests. Tampa architect Frances Kennard (1865-c. 1938) assisted in the hotels 1912 enlargement and again in 1915 when its size doubled. The grounds were landscaped by the nationally known landscape firm, the Olmsted Brothers, and included a bath house, band shell, greenhouse, tennis courts, golf course and staff dormitories. A New York firm decorated the interior with furnishings purchased in Philadelphia. The Inn drew wealthy fishermen and industry tycoons such as J.P. Morgan and Henry DuPont who enjoyed the Inns seclusion and impeccable service. In 1930, Florida land baron Barron Collier (1873-1939) purchased the hotel, adding a grand new entrance, an 18-hole golf course and several cottages. By the 1960s, the Inns condition had declined. Longtime Gasparilla Island resident and champion, Bayard Sharp (1913-2002), purchased the property, restored it and added modern amenities to ensure that the Inns traditions would continue.

Sponsors: The Sharp Family, The Boca Grande Historical Society and the Florida Department of State


City: Boca Grande, FL