History of Useppa Island
Useppa has a 10,000-year recorded history, beautifully chronicled and displayed by the Useppa Island Historical Society at the Barbara L. Sumwalt Museum, located adjacent to The Collier Inn.
A rich Island history includes early fishing camps, a brief occupation by the Union during the Civil War, the implementation of water access for irrigation and a subsequent exclusive private resort development by Barron Collier.
In the early 1900s, Useppa Island emerged as the world’s premier accommodation for those seeking a luxury retreat while angling for the famous “Silver King.” Politicians and celebrities are said to be among the notables that took refuge on Useppa. Established circa. 1908, the Izaak Walton Club was one of the most prestigious fishing clubs in America and one of the first conservation groups in the United States.
In 1911, Barron Collier bought the island and a created a popular seasonal destination for the wealthy. Barron Collier made the island his residence until his death in 1939. While the island was closed during World War II (1941-1945), it re-opened as a seasonal resort in 1946, and continued to be operated by the Collier family until 1960.
From 1960, Useppa would change hands many times, and serve briefly as a secret training location for the CIA.
It would be many years before Useppa had electrical power from the mainland (1981), along with full-service amenities, a beautifully restored Inn, restaurant and museum.
One of the newer exhibits in the Barbara L. Sumwalt Museum is a 10-foot-long Timeline that portrays the chronology of events and people in 12,000-years of world history and the unfolding Useppa Island history. Please visit the Useppa Historical Society Website and make arrangements for a guided tour that will take you through some amazing times, filled with surprises, as you view the Island’s evolution on the timeline of U.S. history.
There is also more information available about the fascinating history of Tarpon Fishing on Useppa Island. Visit www.CharlotteHarborTravel.com.