The following history of the De Soto venture is a lesson of our great country which led to the creation of the United States of America.
In 1539 Hernando de Soto, was granted license to explore Florida by King Charles V of Spain. After landing in May of 1539 his army spent the next 4 years threading it’s way some 4000 miles across what is now the southeastern United States. De Soto’s march was difficult, the a Spaniards fought countless skirmishes and 4 major battles. De Soto’s troops were the first Europeans to push deep into North America, the first to see the Mississippi above its mouth. He found no gold, established no colonies, three years after landing he was felled by fever and buried in the Mississippi River. Sixteen months later his second in command led the ragged army back to Mexico.
In 1885 Thomas Mann, a confederate soldier applied to homestead 144 acres on the north end of Longboat Key. In 1885 he moved his family to a thatched hut to escape the yellow fever epidemic and began the development of Longboat Key.
In the early 1900’s the Mistletoe steamship transported visitors and fisherman from the mainland to Longboat Key and in this period the first buildings were constructed.
Visitors either traveled by land north from Sarasota or by boat from the mainland and Tampa. A bridge from Anna Maria Island to Longboat was built in 1926, but this bridge was washed away in 1932 by a high tide. The current bridge was completed in 1959.
Longbeach villiage became part of the town of Longboat Key in 1955. The picture on the left is the City Hall for Longboat Key.
The United States Post Office opened October 10, 1907, as “Longbeach” on the north end of the community. On February 1, 1958, the name of the Longbeach Post Office was changed to Longboat Key. There was also a post office named “Longboat” which opened on March 27, 1914, in the southern portion of the key in Sarasota County.
It was closed on January 14, 1922, and its functions were assumed by the Sarasota post office.
Alexander Spotswood (c. 1676 – 6 June 1740) was a Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army and a Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. Spotswood initially sought to improve relations with American Indians through regulated trade, to end piracy, and to increase gubernatorial power. Around 1732 at Massaponax, Spotswood built what may have been the first purpose-built foundry in the British North American Colonies.
He also served as deputy postmaster general for North America after 1730.