The City That Almost Wasn’t
Like many of the small communities on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Apollo Beach was first conceived of as a planned community. One that almost never came to fruition.
In the 1930’s, Paul Dickman came up with an far-reaching plan to take his family’s 4000+ farming and cattle land and turn it into a fully waterfront planned community similar to the what he’d seen in pictures of Italy.
He hired a Miami engineering firm to come up with a fully developed subdivision, laid out on the existing mangrove laden estuarial swamp land. The plan seemed good, but it stalled until the 1950’s when Dickman sold it to three New York land developers. Turner, Dean and Clark dubbed their venture “Tampa Beach,” believing the name connection to the popular larger Florida city would connect with their prospective investors.
Their first goal was the central Flamingo Canal that would interlock with the other canals and would run all the way to Tampa Bay, opening the city’s entire waterway.
But the task was more than the New York investors could handle and by 1956, they admitted to Dickman that they would have to bow out of the project.
Salvation looked to come from Francis Corr, a major shopping center developer from Michigan. In 1957, Corr purchased the land from Dickman and hired a southern contractor by the name of Robert E Lee to finish the canal and build 50 homes and a Holiday Inn for the newly renamed “La Vida Beach.”
The canal was finished, but in 1960, shortly after re-christening the project Apollo Beach – after his wife’s suggestion – Corr had a heart attack, prompting him to sell everything to the Flora Sun Corporation. When that company filed for bankruptcy, the land reverted to the Corr’s and Francis’ son Thomas took over development.
Thomas Corr devoted himself to Apollo Beach, building a bank, chamber of commerce, and civic clubs, while donating hundreds of acres of land for a mangrove preserve as well as schools and parks. By the time he died in 1998, the community had grown – from 1,000 residents in 1970 to over 7,000.
Today, Apollo Beach boasts a year round population of 15,000 residents, living adjacent to 55 miles of canals that connect to Tampa Bay near the Sunshine Skyway bridge. Two marinas frame the community and offer a variety of fun activities.
Apollo Beach’s biggest draw is an unusual one. The Big Bend Tampa Electric power plant, built on land ceded to the city in the early 1960’s is one of the area’s most popular attractions. Manatees are attracted to the warm water from the power plant’s activity and outflow, and the adjacent park is popular for the best viewing of the gentle sea cows.
Near the Big Bend plant, a recently completed 5-year restoration project recently allowed the 6-acre Apollo Beach Nature Preserve & Southside Beach to reopen, now with an expanded boat access, a 50-spot parking lot and naturally landscaped sand dunes.
Sun City Center, Ruskin, Palmetto, Parrish, Ellenton, Bradenton, Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, Longboat Key, Lakewood Ranch, University Park, Myakka City, Sarasota, Siesta Key, Osprey, Nokomis, Casey Key, Venice, Englewood, North Port, Port Charlotte, Punta Gorda, Arcadia
Pay Your Bill Online
Leave Us a Review
Request a Free* Termite Inspection
Stop Mosquito Bites
Get Rid of Rodents
Get a Termite Damage Warranty
Get Pest Control for Your Attic
Get Pest Control for Your Business Request Prayer
1080 Enterprise Court, Ste A
North Venice, FL 34275
Call Now: (941) 412-9610
Text: (941) 412-9610
Fax: (941) 412-0080