The San Carlo Hotel was built in 1895. This beautiful building was three stories tall with 50 guest rooms and a dining room to accommodate 100 diners. It sat in the block of land surrounded where Fifth Venue, Date Street, Six Avenue and Poinciana Street are today. The San Carlos Hotel hosted such notable Americans as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvie Firestone and Theodore Roosevelt. Today the Shangri-La Mobil Home Park occupies the site of this once grand hotel.
The hotel, the general store, an Annex building for workers and wharf were built by the St. James-on-the-Gulf Corporation from Jacksonville, Florida. The wharf at the end of Palm Avenue went 600 feet out into San Carlos Bay and then left for another 200 feet
The lands surrounding the hotel were planted with tropical plants. Palm Avenue, which led up to the hotel from the wharf, was lined with palm trees and paved with shells from a nearby Calusa Indian shell mound. There was also a shell paved road that ran along the waterfront. The main part of the town went north as far as Eighth Avenue, east to Coconut Street and west to Sanibel Boulevard. The east/west streets were 80 feet wide and the north/south streets were 60 feet wide.
According to Lee County’s first tax roll in 1887, the St. James-on-the-Gulf Corporation owned 3,872 acres of land on the southern end of Pine Island. This stretched from the waters of San Carlos Bay north to the present day KOA Campground and included the entire southern end of Pine Island.
The St. James-on-the Gulf Corporation went bankrupt in the early 1900s due to the deaths of two of their prominent investors. The hotel burned down in 1905 while being remodeled by the Koreshans who planned to use it for Their World College of Life.
Credit this Photo http://archives.rollins.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/wpandcfl/id/596/rec/1
Another picture of the San Carlos Hotel.
Picture of the veranda which encircled the San Carlos Hotel. The iron rails were constructed by Sam Woodring, who moved to St. James City from Allentown, Pennsylvania after reading an advertisement for work. He was accompanied by his wife Anna, and son Samuel. The Woodring family subsequently moved to Sanibel Island when the iron work was completed in St. James-on-the-Gulf and settled in the area now named after him, Woodring Point.
An ad circular about the San Carlos Hotel.
This Chapter Pine Island Communities
This Section St. James-on-the-Gulf Era
Next Page Pictures of Those Early Visitors to the San Carlos Hotel
Next Chapter Surrounding Islands