In the 1940’s, the area south of Point of Rocks was largely uninhabited, with land held piecemeal by investors awaiting appreciation. This part of the island had seen a lot of changes, as it was only in 1921 that a hurricane closed off an old pass into Sarasota Bay, just south of the club’s current cabanas, and created the enclosed body of water that we know as Heron Lagoon.
It was the perfect setting for people who were just recovering from World War II and who wanted to avoid the rigors of northern winter weather. A far-sighted Elbridge S. Boyd, originally from Atlanta, was responsible for much of the early development of Siesta Key, including the Turtle Beach Cabana Club, Hidden Harbor, Cocoanut Bayou and Cedar Park Circle. Boyd had tremendous native ability and his developments all showed great concern for ecology with an esthetic feeling. In 1946 he formed Siesta Properties, lnc. with the avowed purpose of creating a gulfside community south of Point of Rocks.
Siesta Properties, lnc. was divided into four units, the first of which comprised gulffront lots of up to two acres, with at least 150 feet of beach fronting on the Gulf of Mexico. The first section to be developed, prices for these lots rarely exceeded $10,000. Units number two and three were designated Waterway Lots, and to develop these units canals were dug in the low swampy area north of Heron Lagoon. On the east side of Midnight Pass Road a large inlet was dredged from marshy land to create a boat basin, and this became unit three of the development. The dredge spoil from the basin was used to till the marshy lands beside it, and new homesites were thereby created. It was an ambitious undertaking. It was also an integral part of the master plan of Sanderling Properties because it would provide bay water to the rest of the project.
Sales in Siesta Properties were initially very slow, and it wasn’t until a nucleus of property owners began to bring their friends and acquaintances to the area that the concept of a membership residential community began to take held. In all likelihood, the homeowners sold more lots than the directors of Siesta Properties. Between 1946 and 1958, 67 houses were built, and during these formative years community effort and spirit were very much in evidence. It has to be kept in mind that the houses built during this period were basically three-month beach houses which were furnished with wicker and had bathroom doors on the beach. Essentially it was a private, low-keyed lifestyle of congenial people with similar backgrounds and tastes who went barefoot and liked it. As the number of property owners increased, the need for a homeowners association became apparent. It was important to establish rules as to how one hung out one’s wash or planted and fenced out one’s neighbor.