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Casey's Pass

Markers: Sarasota History

Location: S. of Venice Inlet at beginning of South Jetty, Venice, FL

Sarasota History - Casey's Pass photo

The fragile lands surrounding this pass were settled thousands of years ago by prehistoric Indians. Over time, storms and currents changed the land, and the original Floridians' villages were lost. The 1851 U.S. Coast and Geodetic chart labeled Casey's Pass. Later, a military map slipped the name onto the island to the north, and it remains Casey Key. These place names honor John Charles Casey, U.S. Army captain and Indian agent. A graduate of West Point, he came to Florida in 1835 and aided in the removal of the Seminoles. He built a spirit of trust with Billy Bowlegs (Holata Micco), a chief of Florida Seminoles.

For years, Casey negotiated a fragile peace between chiefs and settlers until his health failed. In 1855, the Third Seminole War erupted. In 1858, Bowlegs was deported west on the same steamer that carried Casey's body to Philadelphia. After the Civil War, homesteaders settled the land and sailed the bays in shallow draft boats. During the 1920's real estate boom, dredges altered channels and filled shores. The pass, which had migrated naturally for centuries, was restructured again under the 1935 River and Harbor Act. In the 1960s, as Venice Inlet, the pass became part of the new Intracoastal Waterway system.

Dedicated in 1988 by the Sarasota County Historical Commission