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Longboat Key Wednesday, May. 29, 2013 4 years ago

Lore: Book called Longboat 'an island without soul'

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Paradise was apparently lost on Rolling Stone writers Parke Puterbaugh and Alan Bisbort, when they wrote their 1999 book, “Florida Beaches.”

They called it “an island without soul and personality” that “projects all the warmth and charm of a bank lobby.”

The Longboat Observer defended the honor of the Key June 1, 2000, in the only front-page book review in the newspaper’s history.

A few samples from “Florida Beaches” about the Key:

It claimed the island’s “horticulture presentation shaped into meatballs and silos conveys an obsessive demand for privacy that practically screams, ‘Get off my property!’”

It described the people as “obnoxious and muttering grumpily about where and when to have dinner.”

Former Longboat Observer City Editor Frank Cunningham, author of “The Key to Longboat,” wrote in his review of the book about the many residents who volunteer their time and contribute to philanthropic causes. He challenged some of the assertions in the book — such as the claim that there were only seven public beach accesses. (Cunningham wrote there were 15 public accesses to the Gulf alone.)
Longboat wasn’t the only community to draw the authors’ ire.

“Longboat Key, where the normal salutations are, ‘How’s the hip? How’s the knee?’ has its share of old people, but it’s a known fact that most of their parents and grandparents live in Venice.”

+ Arvida purchase shaped Longboat
A May 1959 purchase transformed Longboat and its surrounding islands.

That’s when Arvida Corp., which aluminum magnate Arthur Vining Davis founded, purchased most of the south end of Longboat Key, along with Bird, Coon, Lido and Otter keys, along with St. Armands.

He paid $13.5 million for 2,000 acres, making it the largest real-estate deal in Sarasota County history at the time.

Arvida went on to develop the southern half of the Key, building many of its condominiums, along with what’s now the Longboat Key Club & Resort.

+ Sharapova comes to town
Maria … we’ll never stop saying Maria … Sharapova, that is.

On June 2, 2005, the Longboat Observer reported the blond bombshell tennis player purchased a home in Hideaway Bay for $2.69 million.

Sharapova’s purchase came just after she lost the quarterfinals of the French Open against Justine Henin-Hardenne.

But, the Hideaway Bay purchase gave her a title coveted by many but held by few: Longboater.

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