Museum of the Islands

Preserving the past for the future on Pine Island, Florida

Post Sisal Hemp and Development Company Era

In only a couple years after the Sisal Hemp and Development Company planted their seeds and constructed a factory, warehouses, and a new wharf, the company was bankrupt.  We can find no official reason for this event, but can wonder if it was determined that because hemp could be grown much cheaper in other parts of the world, the company decided to cut their future loses and close the doors.  So again St. James City sat in decline as many homes stood empty and the buildings of the Sisal Hemp Company fell into ruins from lack of maintenance.  The one plus side of this was the ladies around town took their soiled clothes to the old factory and used the water from the flowing artesion well for their weekly laundry, and local gossip.

And as after the demise of the St James-on-the-Gulf Company, nature once again piled on the woes of the town with a devastating hurricane in 1926.  Destroyed were many of the abandoned buildings and the post office down by water’s edge.  And destroyed too was the once great factory that represented so much hope for the residents of St. James City.

But these residents were resilient. James Hord Jr, the Post Master at the time of the storm, and several other town folk, salvaged lumber from the old post office and constructed a new one near where the old one once stood.  But it was only about a third the size of the original.  Other portions of the town were also rebuilt.

When we review the 1930 US Census, there were approximately 100 residents in St. James City, representing about 25 families.

This Chapter Pine Island Communities
This Section Sisal Hemp and Development Company Factory Era
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