Gulf of Mexico sunset on Treasure Island Beach, Florida on October 18, 2014. This photo was made at Caddy’s on the Beach, a popular beachfront cafe on Treasure Island.
The area of Treasure Island was originally settled in small communities by the Tocobaga around 300 CE. The Timucua traded with other Native American tribes in the area until the arrival of Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528. De Narváez decimated the people and countless numbers of birds before leaving the area in search of gold.
Treasure Island got its name after several property owners attempted to boost sales of the properties being developed on the island by first burying and then pretending to discover a couple of wooden chests on the beach around 1915. After claiming the chests were filled with treasure, the news of the discovery quickly spread and people began calling the island Treasure Island.
With an elevation of only three feet, the Great Gale of 1848 carved out John’s Pass on the island’s north end and split off two smaller islands which are now the Isle of Palms and Isle of Capri.
Treasure Island saw a surge in residential home and hotel growth following World War II through the 1950s. The real estate used in these ventures often consisted of fill from dredged material.
Legendary baseball slugger Babe Ruth had a winter beachfront home on Treasure Island after his retirement.
Treasure Island today has a thriving bar and restaurant scene in its downtown.