Explore The Rich History Of Marco Island

The history of Marco Island and specifically our Olde Marco Inn site is fascinating. We encourage you to visit the Marco Island Historical Museum, where you can explore artifacts found during construction on our property.

The hotel sits on Calusa Indian grounds. The ground is actually a mound of shells representing hundreds of years of sustenance from the sea. The Calusa are extinct now, but in 1896 a Smithsonian Institution Expedition discovered the now famous Key Marco Cat and numerous ceremonial masks just a few yards from where the Inn stands. These Calusa artifacts are now in the Smithsonian and are considered to be among the most significant archaeological finds in North America.

When Spanish explorers came to the island in the early 1500s, they named it La Isla de San Marco (Isle of Saint Mark). Juan Ponce de Leon led the first European exploration of Florida from Puerto Rico in 1513. After rounding the Florida Keys in search of fresh water, it is believed he made landfall on the southern end of Marco Island. Spanish sailors and settlers were not welcome guests and, in 1521, Ponce de Leon was fatally wounded in a Calusa ambush.

Photo provided by State Archives of Florida

Photo provided by State Archives of Florida

Our treasure is Captain Bill Collier's Inn, a registered historic landmark that grew from its 1883 origins in various expansions. Collier continued the heritage of sustaining travelers when he started to accommodate guests with a "dollar-a-day, bring your own meat" offer.

The Inn originally opened with 20 sleeping rooms, and a two-story outhouse, as reported by Ripley in his "Believe it or Not" column...the only one of its kind. The Inn stands as one of southwest Florida's oldest buildings...if not the oldest!

The Calusa are extinct now, but in 1896 a Smithsonian Institution Expedition discovered the now famous MARCO CAT and numerous ceremonial masks and artifacts just a few yards from where the Inn stands.

The history of Marco Island and specifically our Olde Marco Inn site is fascinating. We encourage you to visit the Marco Island Historical Museum, where you can explore artifacts found during construction on our property.

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