Museum of the Islands

Preserving the past for the future on Pine Island, Florida

John Roach

John Roach purchased Useppa Island in 1894 for the sum $395 (about what dinner cost there today from what I hear).  Roach made his money in early streetcar advertising.  He was also a friend of W.H. Wood, who is credited with landing the first tarpon on rod and reel at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River.  They often fished together around Pine Island and Roach saw the possibilities for a fish camp closer to Captiva Pass and Boca Grande Pass than the San Carlos Hotel in St. James City, or the Barracks at Punta Rassa.  In 1898 he built the Useppa Inn to accommodate his family, and wealthy friends from up north that traveled to Useppa to fish for the mighty “Silver King”.  The name of the inn would be changed to the Tarpon Lodge, and then back again to the Useppa Inn.

During the time Roach owned Useppa Island many famous people visited to fish in the rich waters of Pine Island Sound and Charlotte Harbor, including Teddy Roosevelt, Henry Hoover, and Fort Myers locals Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

Roach sold Useppa Island to Barron Collier in 1911.

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