"Laid back and lazy Cortez" Cortez by Gillybob
Cortez Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 2 photos
The origin of the name of Cortez cannot be proven, however it is thought to have begun with the inhabitants of a Spanish fishing 'rancho' in this vicinity.
The area was known as Hunter's Point by locals (including fishermen with names like William "Capt. Billy" Fulford, Nathan Fulford, James Guthrie and Charles Jones) until the 1880s. This is evidenced by notations found on the US Coast Survey of the Manatee River and its vicinity in 1874. Manatee County Deed records show 110 acres were purchased from Florida Land and Improvement (Disston Purchase) by Allan Gardner for the princely sum of US$139.03 in April 1883. In 1887, this was subdivided and in September 1888 a post office was established by Charles D Jones in a place known as Cortez. Mail was delivered three times a week by boat from Braidentown.
Fishermen came to the area seeking one thing, mullet. In the late 1800s, the mullet were still being salted, but markets had been established in nearby Tampa and the fish were transported there by boat.
By the 1890s more fishermen were recruited from North Carolina. They came by train to Tampa and then by boat to Cortez. The boats, called 'run boats', operated between Tampa and Cedar Key supplying ice for the fish and transporting passengers. After the boats unloaded the passengers, they would leave with the iced fish and return to Tampa where the fish were loaded onto trains destined for north Florida markets. That same year, the first store, called Burton's Store, was erected on the waterfront along with the ice house. Later, when the store was sold, the Albion Inn was added. It wrapped around the store. However, all supplies and ice were still transported by water.
Right after the turn of the century, Nate Fulford installed a four horsepower, water-cooled Barker engine on one of his fishing boats, called a 'skipjack'. Soon other fishermen were pulling the engines out of their cars and doing the same. This led to the end of sailboat fishing in Cortez.
Cortez is still an active fishing port.
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