Phosphate was discovered in the Peace River Valley north of Punta Gorda in 1881. A ridge of phosphate runs through central of Florida (New Era). The easy access to the phosphate in Florida makes it one of the top phosphate producing areas in the world (Hey-Day).
Because Boca Grande Pass is the deepest natural pass in Florida, a port was developed on the south end of Gasparilla Island (Peace River Valley 1890s). Originally the phosphate was barged down from the Peace River Valley to Port Boca Grande and loaded onto schooners. By 1907, the CH&N railroad was brought in to be more efficient. For the next 67 years phosphate was shipped out of the state-of-the-art port by ships from all over the world with almost no disruption (Port Boca Grande is Built).
Phosphate is found in the cell walls of all living things and formed over millions of years as dead plankton and other small creatures sunk to the ocean floor and through various chemical reactions became phosphate (New Era). Phosphate is used for many things like laundry detergents, fertilizers, and vitamins. Phosphate released into the watershed through stormwater runoff causes harmful algae blooms (Uses).
“About Phosphate.” Florida Phosphate Facts. 06 June 08. http://www.phosphateflorida.com/mosaic.asp?page=aboutphosphate
The Hey-Day of Port Boca Grande. 1998. Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum.
Hoeckel, Marilyn and Theodore B. VanItallie. Images of America: Boca Grande. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2000.
Peace River Valley 1890s. 1998. Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum.
Phosphate Brings New Era to Boca Grande. 1998. Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum.
Port Boca Grande is Built. 1998. Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum.
The Railroad Comes to Boca Grande. 1998. Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum.
“Total Phosphorus and Phosphate Impact on Surface Waters.” Wilkes University. 06 June 08. http://www.water-research.net/phosphate
“Uses and Applications.” Phosphate Forum of the Americas. 06 June 08. http://www.phosphatefacts.org/uses.asp