Treasure Island, Florida was first settled by the Timucan Indians around 300 A.D. The Timucan established small communities and traded with other Indian Nations until the arrival of Spaniard Panfilio de Narvaez in 1528. After failing to find the gold he was seeking, de Narvaez left after two weeks leaving behind countless dead and tortured Timucans.
The area slowly became populated by Europeans and their descendants who primarily lived in beach shacks and seeked out a living by fishing and harvesting turtles.
The “Great Gale” of 1848 created John’s Pass on the Island’s north end and split off two smaller islands which are now the Isle of Palms and Capri Isle.
Around 1900, St. Petersburg experienced a land boom which brought weekend tourist to the beaches. No bridges existed so travelers had to rely on mostly unreliable ferry service.
The State began selling the Island at a cost of $1.25 an acre. The first hotel was built on Treasure Island in 1915 and was named the “Coney Island.”
To generate interest in the properties being developed a couple of enterprising property owners buried and then “discovered” a couple of wooden chests on the beach. Claiming the chests were filled with “treasure” the news of the discovery spread quickly and people began calling the area Treasure Island. The name stuck.
Planning began on the Treasure Island Causeway Bridge in 1923 but legal and financial disagreements delayed the start of construction until 1938. The bridge was called “the best constructed bridge in Florida” when completed in 1939.
In 1955 the City of Treasure Island was incorporated, the island’s four major communities consolidated to form the current day Treasure Island. In addition three major subdivisions, Isle of Capri, Isle of Palms and Paradise Island were created by landfill from the surrounding Boca Ciega Bay. In the 50’s Treasure Island had its largest building boom in which homes and hotel and motels were constructed including the Page Terrace Motel in 1958.
Today, some 400 years between “discovery and development”, the 3.5 mile long island is home to some 7,266 year round residents. During the tourist season the island hosts more than 24,000 visitors.
Proud of its heritage, today’s Treasure Island is a unique blend of a small town laid back beach community and an internationally known family vacation destination.
Treasure Island, Florida is located at 27° 46’8”N 82° 46’6”W