See the island you love before it was transformed by the Mackle Brothers into the greatest place on Earth. This video was shot circa 1964, just as construction was beginning. See the original sales models that depicted the development in detail. It's fun to see the undeveloped island, now that we're so familiar with the final product of the Mackle's vision.
Deltona started selling property here in 1965.
This is Marco Island - sometimes called Florida's last frontier. Over two thousand years ago, it was inhabited by Calusa Indians, who left enormous shell mounds as monuments. Then came the Spaniards, and after them, the Pirates, who it is said buried on the beach the gold they looted from the Spanish galleons. Its modern history begins about 1880 as we see it here spread out beneath our wings. Marco presents a panorama of verdant splendor.
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The largest of the ten thousand islands, Marco has the highest elevation, rising in the interior to over 50 feet above sea level. The island encompasses nearly 7,000 acres, including over a hundred and fifty acres of beachfront extending over three miles along the western shore. Marco lies in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the southwestern edge of Florida, about 28 miles south of Naples and a hundred and four miles west of Miami. Our mission to explore and photograph the island led us to some fascinating discoveries about its past its present and its exciting future.
Crossing the bridge from the mainland, we left behind the hurried pace of the every day and entered the tranquil world of another time, almost another era - the remote, quiet and beauty of the South Seas.
Our first goal was Marcos magnificent Gulf Beach stretching for three miles and a graceful Crescent of sparkling white sand. Joe and Eva Yaggie, who have lived in Florida for many years, made their first trip to Marco with our camera crews to discover with us the magic of this subtropic Wonderland. Shell's by the millions wash up on Marco’s beach. Occasionally a rare specimen turns up, and the youngsters who live on Marco can usually spot it. The young man describing the shell to the others is an island boy who has learned the history and lore of Marco from his Dad. He took great pride in helping us.
Much of Marco Islands history is revealed in the shell mounds built by the Calusa Indians so long ago, but our island guide took us to one of the huge mounds that he and his Dad had opened a few days before. Some of these mounds cover an area of 25 to 30 acres to a depth of almost 30 feet. The Indians who piled up these shale heaps must have existed almost entirely on shellfish. Not just shells are found, but bits of weapons and pottery have been uncovered. Bob told us the pottery could be of Spanish origin. Some of the extremely rare items are now on display at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.
On the winding road through the center of the island, we came to one of the highest points on Marco Island, 40 feet above sea level and the only modern home presently in the interior. The view from this isolated spot was breathtaking.
Continuing our exploration on foot, we stopped to sample an island fruit called Cocoplum. Well, it is different. We came upon the vivid berries of the French mulberry planet. We found coffee plants growing wild with the bean blossoming to nut brown goodness. The dainty periwinkle. The Bristling Cactus. The lovely Spirea were guarded by a tall and spike-like Century Plant. In the heart of the island, we came upon a tremendous Live Oak supporting in its topmost branches a variety of wild orchids and resurrection fern.
In the early 1900s, a 30 room hotel called the Heights was built at the top of this path which was once a road. All that remains are a few of the foundation blocks. How's that for a room with a view?
Snook Haven, a harbor, and marina on the southern side of the island so named because Marco has long been famous for Snook fishing. Other varieties include Tarpon, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Snapper, Bass, Sea Trout, and Kingfish. On the north shore, there is a marina and motel called Snook Hole, and it was from here that we decided to try our luck. Bud was an old hand at snook fishing, and with Dick Turner as captain and guide, we set out on a fine sunny morning. Joe and Eva had fished before but never in these waters. Eva gets her first strike.
Nothing quite like a day on the water. We had a chance to see another part of Marco on the return trip. Gorgeous palms, lush vegetation and a look at one of the fishing resorts hugging the shoreline. Then back to the dock at Snook Hole motel.
That's a pretty sight for dinner tonight.
Recently a new era has begun. Great earth movers are changing the face of Marco - changing the pace - moving to a new concept of the future, making this beautiful subtropic island into the most amazing project ever imagined, retaining all the charm of a South Sea island paradise with the added enchantment of a luxurious resort design.
This is the Marco Island headquarters of Florida's famous Mackle Brothers, whose daring and imagination is creating a new future for Marco Island. Come with us again over Marco's magnificent Beach, stretching for three miles in a lazy crescent of sparkling white sand. Now, see it as it will be as we take to the air and fly over this sensational, three-dimensional model constructed with absolute detail to show the Marco of the future. But no model can do justice to the beauty of the area. Every street and park and boulevard built to the exact scale of the master plan. Now, as we approach the geographic center of the island, we begin our descent to an artist's conception of Marco's own telephone exchange now under construction.
Now, as if over the beach, we see far below the sumptuous motel already begun and here as it will be when completed.
To the north and near the planned new causeway, a second entrance to Marco is the site of the Marco Island Yacht Club, gracious in design and perfectly located. This, then, is a glimpse of the future of Marco.
Here in this wide and wonderful world of sand and sea and sky will be the new Marco Island. Joe and Eva find the fun and beauty sufficient for today's enjoyment.
Our mission accomplished, we turn back in space and time from this last frontier to remember it as it is and was and to return again to marvel at the sweep of man's imagination when coupled with nature's loveliness.