Marco Island is the largest and northernmost of Florida's 10,000 islands. It is about 28 miles south of Naples.

Marco Island Trailer Park in the Early DaysDoxsee Family Trailer Park in the Early Days

For many years it was inhabited by the fierce Calusa Indians. The first white settlers were W. T. Collier, his wife and their 9 children. They came to the island in 1870. In 1896, W. T. Collier's son, Captain Bill Collier, opened a 20 room hotel which still stands today, the Olde Marco Inn. This is not the same Collier family as the one that developed Everglades City and much of southwest Florida. That was Barron G. Collier.

Marco's early history was very quiet, but from 1908 to 1947 the Doxsee Clam Company was the biggest industry on the island. The company harvested, steamed and canned clams from the waters around Marco Island until the clam beds were exhausted.

The trailer park shown in the picture above was owned by the Doxsee family. After the clam cannery closed, Barron Collier bought most of the island from the other Collier family. There was almost no development on Marco Island. This changed in 1964 when the Deltona Corporation, headed by the Mackle Brothers, began to develop the entire island as a beachfront resort and canal laced residential community. 

Marco Island New Land From DredgingMarco Island New Land From Dredging

The mangroves were removed from much of the island, and canals were dredged and the material used to create lots. It was a very successful project, in spite of some major permitting problems, and waterfront lots and homes were sold to eager buyers all over the world on the installment basis. The 50 room Marco Island Hotel was one of the nicest in southwest Florida when it was built in 1965 at the same time the Marco Island community was officially opened.

Marco Island TodayMarco Island Today

Marco Island is now a modern place with some of the nicest condos and hotels in the state. From a quiet fishing village of 550 people in 1960, it has grown to a major town with a population of 16,000.

A favorite Marco Island restaurant is the Snook Inn.

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