Visit Nocatee Florida
There is a small town or, you might say, a crossroads in Southwest Florida called Nocatee. Not to be confused with the newly built master planned community of the same name in Northeast Florida. The original Nocatee is located in DeSoto County in southwest Florida. It is a Seminole indigenous word that means “What is it?” It is an interesting place to visit although you will not find a place to spend the night. There are no motels with styles other than luxury rooms and suites. You are definitely a hiker when you visit Nocatee. A Mediterranean atmosphere with tropical pools and lush gardens will not be found in this town. Nocatee offers an environment more like that of a Florida cracker. There are no beaches, but you can bring your bathing suit and swim off the county-owned boat ramp on the nearby Peace River.
If you’re interested in playing golf while visiting Nocatee, you can’t. Golf will have to take place on Arcadia Highway, which is the county seat. Or you can go eight miles south of Nocatee to Sunny Breeze Golf Club.
If shopping is your thing, you’re in luck. Just five miles down the road in Arcadia again there are several stores to choose from. And you can venture down Arcadia’s old Oak Street in the antique district.
On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley passed directly through Nocatee with winds that persisted for an hour, damaging most of the borough’s structures and causing the total destruction of some. You can still find many buildings with the blue FEMA tarps that still protect the roofs.
Actually, the most interesting thing about Nocatee is not what is now, but what used to be there. I know of one person who said he was from Nocatee. King Lumber Company, founded in the late 1800s, was DeSoto County’s leading industry and largest employer. It eventually became the Nocatee-Manatee Crate Company until it closed in 1951. The first settler was the Carlton family. Baptist and Methodist churches were founded there in 1890. There was once a stump plant that employed many people until it closed in the 1980s.
DeSoto County was initially a much larger county and was later subdivided to create five smaller counties in 1921. There was an election to determine where the seat of DeSoto County should be. Knockout lost by one vote. Nocatee has never had much of a population to speak of. It has remained practically the same size since 1900. It has never been a real incorporated city.
Sadly, Nocatee doesn’t have much of a tourist draw, but there is an interesting Civil War history in the county. For the paleontologist, the county is in what is known as the valley of bones. It is an area rich in phosphate where many mastodon bones can be found.
For more information on the town of Nocatee, Florida, visit DeSoto County Florida online. Also see Howard Melton’s book, “Footprints and Landmarks,” which offers the interesting history of Nocatee and DeSoto County. You can also visit the Arcadia Antique District online. Better yet, take the opportunity and come visit us.