Boca Grande Health Clinic Building Frontal View

History Timeline

Early 1900s
Seaboard Railroad Steam Train
Photo courtesy of the Boca Grande History Center.
Seaboard Railroad’s daily run to Gasparilla Island was an integral part of life for Island residents. It brought needed supplies from the mainland along with a doctor from Arcadia, who treated patients right in the Depot, then left by the same train three hours later. Photo was taken in downtown Boca Grande about 1912.
March 15, 1947
painting of a woman
Louise E. duPont Crowninshield (courtesy of Hagley Museum and Library)

Louise E. duPont Crowninshield establishes the Boca Grande Health Clinic on March 15, 1947, in a small room above the Railroad Depot where a doctor arriving on the train would treat patients weekly. Louise first came to Boca Grande in 1917. She spent 40 winters of her life here and in that time, touched the lives of nearly everyone on the Island.

February 19, 1948

The first official meeting of the Clinic’s board takes place and directors agree to spread the word that the Clinic is looking for a year-round on-island physician.

San Marco Theatre
San Marco Theatre. Photo courtesy of the Boca Grande History Center.

Roger Amory purchases a theatre building, and as Health Clinic Secretary, he makes a gift of full stock valued at that time at just over $19,500 in the “San Marco Movie Theatre” on Park Ave. It was his intention that the principal and interest would be used solely for the purpose of increasing the medical services available to the people of Boca Grande.

Fugate's Building
Fugate's c. 1940's. Photo courtesy of the Boca Grande History Center.

In 1949, the Boca Grande Health Clinic sets up shop in a space on the west side of the Fugate building on 4th Street. The Clinic pays Jerome Fugate (a founding member of the Clinic) $1,200 in rent each year and remains there until 1963.

December 19, 1950

In partnership with The Inn, Dr. James Ingram temporarily takes over Clinic operations and enjoys immediate popularity among Islanders. Although his pursuits would lead him elsewhere in the future, his relationship with the Clinic lasted his lifetime, and the Clinic flourished under his direction throughout the coming season.

May 1952

A relationship with Duke University and its medical school begins for the procurement of doctors in training at the school to come to Boca Grande on a seasonal basis. The Island enjoyed the seasonal visits of such popular residents as Wilmer “Bill” Coggins and his wife, Deborah, who was also a doctor; Dr. Lyons; Dr. Longino; Dr. Williams and Dr. Elmer Schmierer.

July 8, 1957
tarpon jumping out of the water with two boats in the background
Tarpon on Boca Grande Pass, ca. 1960. Photo courtesy of the Boca Grande History Center.

Dr. George Fritz arrives in Boca Grande with his wife, Ann. Under his direction, the Clinic would flourish for 14 years. An avid fisherman and learner, it was said that what “time out” fishing allowed him to do, more than to catch tarpon, was to study his medical books and keep abreast of the latest breakthroughs in medical technology.

July 11, 1958

Louise E. duPont Crowninshield passes away following a prolonged illness.

December 1958
people watching the ferry departing in Boca Grande FL
Car ferry “Catherine” leaving Boca Grande ca. 1950. Photo courtesy of the Boca Grande History Center.

Following the passing of Louise E. duPont Crowninshield, Frank Oliver is appointed as Clinic President. A noted journalist and international correspondent, Oliver made Boca Grande his home in 1946 when the car ferry or the railroad were the only ways to reach the Island. He guided the Clinic through its bad financial times, into a very colorful, fruitful era of achievement whereby the Clinic established a solid and permanent foundation for the future.

May 1961
1952 Buick ambulance
1952 Buick Premier Ambulance.

With the Clinic’s finances shored up thanks to community donations, focus resumes on improving services. In May the Clinic received a 1952 Buick ambulance complete with stretcher, oxygen, and equipment from the Edward R. Ponger funeral home in Punta Gorda, and a fleet of volunteers was organized to man the vehicle in times of emergency.

September 5, 1962
sign for future site of the Boca Grande Health Clinic and men breaking ground for the construction
Right: Theo Hargis, Velpeau Kuhl and Huntington "Hunt" Howell break ground for the new Boca Grande Health Clinic.

The Clinic purchases a 100 x 150 lot on the corner of 3rd and Park Avenue for $7,500 as the location to build a new facility that would be “the envy of the medical profession.” A building fund is established to raise $60,000 from the community.

March 1964
Clinic building circa 1964

The new building opens and remains the home of the Clinic Annex today.

San Marco Theatre
San Marco Theatre c. 1970's. Photo courtesy of the Boca Grande History Center.

The San Marco Theatre closes in 1967 and the movies are transferred to the Community Center.

June 1970
Dr. George and Ann Fritz
Dr. George Fritz and his wife, Ann. Photo reproduced with permission from the Ft. Myers News Press – October, 1963.

Dr. George Fritz announces his departure and a search for a new physician ensues. Dr. Richard Henry arrives in the fall of 1970, and it is implied through the Clinic minutes that, although folks were sorry to see Dr. Fritz go, the transition was a smooth one.

September 1973
Dr. Henry Livingston Wright

Dr. Henry Livingston Wright takes over the Clinic and remains the only doctor on staff for 17 years.

March 1986

The Clinic enters into an agreement with Venice hospital to provide the services of a physician during times when Dr. Henry Wright is away on vacation or attending medical meetings.

Deborah "Debby" Hahn

Nurse Deborah “Debby” Hahn joins the Clinic and remains a longstanding staff member and lead nurse, beloved by Island patients.

March 1989
Dr. Henry Livingston Wright

Dr. Henry Livingston Wright plans his retirement after 19 years of service to the Island.

July 1, 1989

Dr. Arthur Moseley becomes a part-time physician at the Clinic to support Dr. Wright, allowing the Clinic to expand the number of days service is provided.

new Clinic building 1990

The building of a new and improved Boca Grande Health Clinic begins in January of 1990. Designed by architect George Palermo, the Spanish-style building is completed and ready for occupancy by December 1990.The new Clinic building becomes a symbol of the Clinic’s mission to serve the present and future needs of the Boca Grande community while retaining the unique character and personal, caring attention that has been its legacy.

clinic directors circa 1990
Clinic directors, among them Dr. Richard and Mary Morrison, stand proudly before the new Boca Grande clinic facility on its opening day.

Dr. Richard Morrison, who after a long and distinguished career specializing in vascular and thoracic surgery in Venice, Florida, takes his long-time friend and golfing buddy Dr. Hank Wright’s advice and decides to give Boca Grande a try.

March 27, 2003

The Boca Grande Health Clinic Foundation Logo

The Boca Grande Health Clinic Foundation is established to serve as a lifeline for the exceptional healthcare services provided by the Boca Grande Health Clinic. With the community’s generous support, the Foundation ensures the Clinic’s convenient, quality healthcare services continue to be available now and for generations to come.


The clinic moves from paper charts to an electronic health record to securely store patient information and provide an improved care experience

Late 2020

The Boca Grande 411 Coalition is formed to bring Island business leaders and the BG Pledge is borne as businesses and individuals vow to take preventive health and safety measures to keep the Island safe.

January 2021
Woman being vaccinated

The clinic begins administering COVID-19 vaccines to patients via drive-through clinics.

April 2022

BGHC 75th Year Anniversary Logo

The community gathers for a day of celebration and remembrance in recognition of the Boca Grande Health Clinic’s 75 years of continuous service to the people of Boca Grande.