markers of Marco Island
1977, the Marco Island Bicentennial Task Force had installed
historic markers showing significant places marking the
At the entrance to the island at the south end of the bridge,
marker number one designates Marco as the largest of the Ten
The Cushing archaeological site in Old Marco opposite the
Riverside Condominium. In 1896 Frank Hamilton Cushing
unearthed hundreds of artifacts, including the Marco Cat. made
by the Calusa Indians.
The ferry landing in Old Marco connected Marco to the Isles of
Capri. The ferry operated from 1920 to 1938. The spot is also
the site of the oldest school on the island, dating back to
The home of William D. "Captain Bill" Collier, son
of William T. Collier who founded the Marco village in 1870.
The home is on the west side of 953 and is now restored and
operates as a restaurant.
The cemetery off Bald Eagle Drive just south of the traffic
lights, where many of the early settlers were buried and where
their descendants are still buried today. Collier's wife,
daughter and three sons are buried there.
The pineapple plantation on Caxambas Ridge at the site of Fire
House No. 1 on South Barfield Drive. Was later given up
as soil was quickly depleted.
The Burnham Clam Factory on Inlet Drive in the Caxambas area.
The factory operated from 1904 to 1929. There are still
foundation parts in the weeds.
The Caxambas school built around 1898 at the intersection of
Indian Hill Drive and Scott Drive. It is also the site of one
home of James Madison and Tommie Barfield and the Heights
Hotel on the highest point in Southwest Florida (51 feet).
The Calusa Indian burial ground at the intersection of Inlet
Drive and Olds Court. Watch out for indian spirits.
Caxambas Cemetery, on the west side of Inlet Drive.
Goodland Road and the village of Goodland, at the intersection
of State Road 92 and Goodland Road.
Pre-Construction in the early 1960's.
construction on the beach, mid 1960s.
Beach Hotel, 1971, Now the Marriott
First beach front condo, 1966
Calusa Indians, believed to be descendants of the Mayans may
have inhabited Marco Island as far back as 4000 BC or even
possibly 6000 BC. Evidence indicates the ancient culture at
least of the time of Christ.
Island is the Northern most and the largest of Florida's Ten
Thousand Islands with over 9,000 acres and is about 4 miles
wide and 6 miles long. It's located on the Gulf of Mexico,
situated 90 miles west of Miami, 157 miles south of Tampa, 50
miles south of Fort Myers, and 15 miles from Naples. It has
been described as magical, mystical and alluring. The
elevation of the island varies from as low as 5 ft to as high
as 54 ft above sea level.
the immediate area are the Isles of Capri, a residential
community and Goodland, a tiny fishing community that
maintains some of its qualities that it had a Century ago. In
1964 the Mackle Corporation began a massive engineering and
development program that would transform the mangrove and
swamp areas and would eventually be the Marco of today.
of the island may have buried earlier traces of ancient
culture. However, archaeologists did fine bone, wood shell and
ceramic remains of early settlement. The Frank Cushing dig in
1895 on Marco uncovered more than 1000 artifacts from
the Calusa culture. Various digs uncovered items such as
the famous Key Marco Cat shown above.
Calusas created large mounds using uncountable or millions of
shells, which in turn offered them protection from hurricanes
and provided shelter and eventually burial sites for their
dead. Some these mounds still remain to this date. One
mound known as Indian Hill (54 feet above sea level) was
located on Caxambus at the northern part of the Island (named
for the drinking water available). The Calusa power
extended throughout Southwest and even to East Florida until
1513, when the Spaniards arrived.
Indians and Spaniards clashed and continued fighting for many
years later. The strength of the Indians began to
disappear due to disease brought to Florida by the Europeans
and warring with the Spaniards and new settlers.
the Civil war Marco Island and the other 10,000 islands
provided hiding places for deserters and blockade runners who
traded with Cuba and the other nearby islands.
1870, W. T. Collier of Tennessee and his family landed on
Marco. They came down the Atlantic Coast on the Schooner, the
'Robert L. Lee'. Their second oldest son William D.
Collier (Capt. Bill) became the pivotal figure in the early
growth of the island.
dream of the Mackle Brothers... On Jan. 31, 1965, more than
25,000 persons made the long trip from up north to Marco
Island. It was an instant sell , say the the old
"crackers". With temperature in the
upper 70s, and cold winds blowing up North, Marco Island was
an easy sell if you could get the people to get their toes
into the sand.
$75, visitors to the largest barrier island of the Ten
Thousand Island chain were treated to three days and two
nights at the motel Deltona had built - the site of the
present day Marriott. Return air fare to the frozen north was
rest is recent history with more people getting their toes
into the sand.