July 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to the July Edition of my newsletter. Please feel free to reply with a comment. I am always looking to improve on the content for my subscribers.

Also, visit my website waltbethel.com to view my listings, search for properties, or to enjoy one of my archived newsletters and stories on Florida History.

Historic Fish Shacks
Containing no electricity, running water, or telephones, these cabins perched on the shoals of Pine Island Sound are not your average tropical getaway. Instead, these “Daddy long leg shacks” are remnants of a once powerful commercial fishing industry. Still used today, their continued existence is as fragile as the wooden stilts they rest upon. 

Since the times of the native Calusa, fishing has been an extremely important asset to the economic ecosystem of Southwest Florida. Up until 1897, the industry only sold to the surrounding area. All of that changed with the foundation of the Punta Gorda Fish Company, whose usage of ice allowed for locally caught fish to maintain their freshness and be shipped nationally. Under the tutelage of company founders Eugene Knight and Harry Dreggors, commercial fishing boomed in the beginning of the 20th century, and fish houses began to pop up along the coast for the company’s many anglers. 

They ultimately built two kinds of shacks, the first being ice houses that stored fish before transportation. The other half served as homes for fishermen so they wouldn’t need to return to the mainland during a storm or after a long day. Living a mostly solitary life at sea, these anglers saw the cabins as a lifeline to the world. Company run-boats would drop off groceries and newspapers trading these goods for the day’s catch. 

After World War II, where the fishermen of Southwest Florida were exempt from military service as essential workers, the industry began to see a decline. New bridges and causeways were constructed, finally connecting Captiva and Sanibel Island to the mainland. The need for run-boats became unnecessary, as daily hauls could be transported by trucks. As a result, Punta Gorda Fish Company began selling off their shacks to amateur anglers. 

By the 1980’s, many of the then 80-year-old fishing shacks were in disrepair. The State of Florida saw the dilapidated huts as castaways from a bygone era, as well as an environmental threat to the natural habitats of the Sound, and a navigational nuisance to recreational boaters. Having survived decades of hurricanes and storms, the shacks were brought to the verge of extinction by the Florida Department of Natural Resources as they burned them down one by one. 

Sensing a “loss of Americana” and symbolism to the area’s fishing heritage, preservationists shack owners fought back against eviction notices. In 1991, ten fishing shacks were officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Like the grand canals of Venice, the humble fishing houses live to see another day, though who knows for how much longer. Their fate belongs to the sea that gave them life in the first place – as a shack cannot be rebuilt if it is destroyed in a storm. For now, however, the sea-salty spectacles are a memorial to the many fishermen who once occupied this Sound, and serve as retreat for any angler that desires to “reel in” an old tradition..

Did You Know?
Gone Fishin':The Silver King
Fishing is one of the largest participant sports in the world, and Florida offers many chances for locals and tourists to pursue this popular pastime. Florida features one of the longest coastlines in the country and boasts abundant lakes, rivers, and streams. Its waters teem with more than 600 species of fish.

Florida has attracted visitors since the late nineteenth century, when tales of the tarpon, a mighty game fish, enticed northern anglers to the state's coasts. In the early twentieth century, sport fishing developed into a major tourist draw and spurred the establishment of fishing clubs and tournaments. Florida's lure as a sport fishing destination for saltwater and freshwater anglers continues today.

In 1885, a single, sensational catch at Sanibel Island's Tarpon Bay made international news - and revolutionized sport fishing. For the first time on record, a mighty, silver-sided tarpon was taken on a rod and reel, a feat that created a frenzy for the fierce-fighting - and made Southwest Florida the epicenter of a brand-new sport. The newly crowned Silver King of fish lured celebrities and presidents, and transformed Southwest Florida into the birthplace of big game fishing

In 1983 the “World’s Richest” Tarpon Tournament was originally called the Boca Grande Club Invitational, sponsored and run by the private Boca Grande Club located on the north end of Gasparilla Island, and traditionally run during the summer.
At its height, the total purse of the “World’s Richest” exceeded $175,000 and anglers from all over the world traveled to Boca Grande to enter for a chance to win it.

The primary focus of this tournament, like many, is on education and conservation of the fishery combined with sport fishing. Safe boating, sportsmanship and responsible angling will be promoted in order to encourage a safe, successful family friendly event that will ensure the protection and proper stewardship of our natural resources so that they may be enjoyed for generations to come.

The all-release, no-weigh, no-kill tournaments are an alternative whose time has come. Bringing families together in sport and education enriches not only our estuaries and fisheries, but our communities as a whole.

Source: World's Richest Tarpon and Museum of Florida History
Citrus & Speciality Crop Expo

August 17th and 18th

Lee County Civic Center, North Ft. Myers

More Info:
Florida orange production up, cost of OJ below other food prices despite inflation
There’s a silver lining to some of the hardship Florida citrus producers have faced over the past several years. Their projected crop production is an estimated 2 million box increase from the previous month, the cost for consumers to purchase Florida orange juice is lower than other food despite inflation, and their congressional delegation is advancing a bill to reform FDA standards to help growers.
“As prices continue to rise across the board for goods and services, many shoppers may find themselves buying not what they want but what they need,” Steve Johnson said, and the good news is sales of Florida orange juice remain strong when compared to 2019 sales. “While the orange juice category has not been immune to the pressures of inflation, the year-over-year price increase of OJ remains below the national average of increases in prices of food at home.”
Also, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott introduced a bipartisan bill earlier this month to protect the Florida orange industry. The Defending Domestic Orange Juice Production Act would direct the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to amend citrus standards to support local growers.
The proposed bill would direct the FDA to lower the required level of sugar/solids content for not-from concentrate pasteurized orange juice from 10.5% weight of orange juice soluble solids to 10%
Featured Listings
451 +/- Acres DeSoto County
5038 Hwy 31 Arcadia, FL 34266
451+ Acres in Desoto County. Currently planted in Citrus, this property is ideal for farmland, sod farm or can be cleared for pastureland. Two permitted wells, 1-12” and 1-16” are on site. Offering 1 mile of Hwy 31 frontage. Only 30 minutes to Fort Myers and I-75. An additional 435+ acres MLS#C7461877 adjoins this land and is also for sale. Call today for a showing!

Total Acres: 451.13
Listing Price: $3,384,000
204+/- Acres Manatee County
42055 Parks Rd. Myakka City, FL 34251
204+ Acres of Valencia Orange grove in Manatee County. This property includes a manufactured home and two permitted 12 inch wells. Located centrally between Hwy 64 and Hwy 70 off of Wauchula Rd near Myakka City. CALL TODAY FOR MORE INFORMATION.

MLS: C7454199
Total Acres: 204.66
Listing Price: $2,000,000
57+ Acres Recreational Land
18 J Whitaker Rd. Venus, FL 33960
GET AWAY FROM IT ALL!!! BRING THE ATV'S...Purchase this recreational/hunting land and build your country dream home or lodge. Approximately 57+ Acres of beautiful “old Florida” landscape full of incredible Oaks, Cabbage Palm Trees, and improved pasture with an abundance of deer, turkeys, wild hogs and other wildlife. Plenty of room to build a retreat to get out of the city and enter your PRIVATE getaway!!! Located just south of Lake Placid. An easy trip from the east or west coast of Florida. The adjacent 900+ acres is also available for sale.
Total Acres: 57.37
MLS: C7457423
List Price: $725,000
Potential Industrial-Residential Opportunity on 59+ Acres
5871 Hwy 31 Arcadia, FL 34266
POTENTIAL INDUSTRIAL OR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT! Multiple buildings with dozens of individual rooms, bathrooms, office space, gymnasium, and cafeteria. Located in South DeSoto County directly off Hwy 31 on approximately 59 Acres with over 1,100 feet of HIGHWAY frontage. Water and sewer are already on site. This property was previously a part of the state owned juvenile justice center. ONLY 20 -30 minutes to Babcock Ranch, Ft Myers, Punta Gorda and Interstate 75.

MLS: C7460279
Total Acres: 59
List Price: $7,500,000
223+ Acre Hamlin/Valencia Grove
9 J Whitaker Rd. Venus, FL 33960
223.25 Acre Hamlin/Valencia Grove in Venus, Florida. This property could continue as a producing grove or be converted to farm land. A mobile home, two barns and one permitted 12” well are already in place. An additional 900+ contiguous grove acres are also available.
Total Acres: 223.25
MLS: C7457417
List Price: $1,900,000
12.38 Acres with NEW Barn, Lots of OAKS
SW Reynolds Dr. Arcadia, FL 34266
Beautiful 12.38 acres property with LOTS OF OAKS. This property features two flowing wells and a NEW enclosed 38x30 Metal Barn with roll up doors and a covered padded area. This property would make the ideal country estate. Bring your cattle, horses, or other livestock and enjoy this peaceful piece of land. Call today for a showing!

MLS: C7457960
Total Acres: 12.38
Sold Price: $379,900
11+ Acre Parcels
SE Rice St/ Co Rd 763 Arcadia, FL 34266
11+ acres offering a quiet and private setting. This is the ideal building site for your dream home with plenty of space for a barn, pond, and animals. Located right off Hog Bay Extension (County Road 763) with quick access to downtown Arcadia. Just 30-40 minutes to Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and Fort Myers. Seller also has additional adjoining parcels available. Survey available, parcel split/parcel ID pending DeSoto County approval.These beautiful properties won’t last long!!

Listing Price: $200,000/parcel

Parcel 1: Total Acres: 11.39 MLS: C7457663
Parcel 2: Total Acres: 11.35-has 12" Well MLS: C7457746
Parcel 3: Total Acres: 11.31 MLS: C7457747
Parcel 4: Total Acres: 11.37 MLS: C7457748
Parcel 5: Total Acres: 11.46-MLS: C7457745
433 Tamiami Trail Port Charlotte, FL 33953
IDEAL COMMERCIAL LOCATION located on US-41 between Port Charlotte and North Port. 150ft of road frontage on Tamiami Trail PLUS an additional 160ft of road frontage and access on Bowman Terr. Come be part of this growing area with the approved West Port 218 residential lots and planned Murdock Village just down the road. Just minutes to the Tampa Bay Rays Spring training stadium and the Atlanta Braves Cool Park training stadium. This property is zoned Commercial General allowing for a vast amount of uses! Electric and public water/sewer nearby. CALL TODAY FOR MORE INFO!

MLS: C7455082
Total Acres: .97
Listing Price: $340,000
35+ Acres Zoned RMF
9881 SW Lettuce Lake Arcadia, FL 34269
35+/- Acres in DeSoto County less than 15 minutes to Interstate 75.This property is zoned RMF-6 allowing for a total of 211 units. Improvements have already been completed such as paved roadways, retention pond, curbing, fire hydrants and lift station. Previously approved development plans are available for review. Opportunity to be in a growing area located near the Peace River with river access 2 minutes away. This property is centrally located between both Kings Hwy and Hwy 17 with quick access to Arcadia, Port Charlotte, or Punta Gorda. Only 45 minutes to Sarasota and Fort Myers.

MLS: C7442469
Total Acres: 177.67
Sold price: $2,000,000
Warehouse with Loads of Potential
5673 Hwy 31 #W Arcadia, FL 34266
13,000 SqFt Warehouse located off Hwy 31 with LOADS OF POTENTIAL. Warehouse features two roll up doors with loading ramp, walk-in cooler, and office space. Less than 10 minutes to Hwy 70 intersection, 25 minutes to new Babcock Ranch development and only 35 minutes to Ft. Myers and I-75 off Florida’s West coast. separately.

MLS: C7455691
Total Acres: 2.14
List Price: $650,000
Five Parcels Ranging 6-20 Acres Charlotte County
Neal Rd. Punta Gorda, FL 33982
Mutiple 6-20 Acres of desirable land is waiting for YOU! Offering a quiet and private setting, yet within minutes to Hwy 31 with convenient access into Arcadia, Punta Gorda or Ft. Myers. Ideal building site for your dream home with plenty of space for a barn or animals. Zoning is AG which allows for agriculture and residential and NO deed restrictions. 

MLS: C7459391
Listing Price: $149,000-$298,000
635+ Acres with Orange Grove and Cabin
44511 Nead Rd. Punta Gorda, FL 33982
635+ Total Acres with approximately 475 acre income producing Orange Grove. This property features Hamlins and Valencia orange trees, a 12” permitted well and barn. In addition, there is a small cabin with beautiful woods. This secluded location is abundant with wild game including hogs, deer and turkeys. This property is located off Hwy 31, centrally located within 20 miles to either Arcadia or Ft. Myers. Don’t miss this opportunity!

MLS: C7456416
Total Acres: 635.96
About Walt Bethel
Walt Bethel is a fifth generation Floridian, born and raised in Arcadia, with a vast knowledge of all areas of Florida Real Estate and an ardent appreciation for Florida history.  
The purchase and development of his first orange grove when he was just sixteen years old fueled Walt's passion for real estate.  
Since then, he has bought, owned, and sold a wide variety of properties throughout a successful business career. His investments have included acreage, agricultural properties, residential homes, condos, and commercial properties. 
Walt's marketing and sales experience was cultivated over time at his family's business, Bethel Farms, where he marketed, managed, and sold products to "Big Box" retailers across the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.
From an early age, Walt's dad instilled in him the values to work hard and always have a goal, to look for a better way of doing things, and to constantly improve on them.  
The daily implementation of these principles, coupled with his enjoyment of networking with new people and his experience in business, sales, and marketing, have contributed to Walt's success as a Realtor.
Walt has served on various boards and committees throughout the years. He has coached and actively supports local youth athletic programs and leagues. 
He and his wife Jill, also a fourth generation Floridian, reside in Punta Gorda. They have two children, a daughter Peyton and a son Truman.
Walt Bethel | RE/MAX Harbor Realty| 863.990.1748 | wbethel@waltbethel.com| www.waltbethel.com