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Old quarantine station on Cayo Costa

By Staff | Jun 30, 2020


The Friends of Cayo Costa State Park recently shared that quarantining has been going on for more than 100 years on Southwest Florida shores. In 1904, a quarantine station was constructed at the north end of La Costa Island, which is known today as Cayo Costa. The station was staffed with a doctor who would boat out to incoming ships and examine sailors and passengers for infectious diseases. The station was originally built in the 1890s on the south end of Boca Grande across from Cayo Costa. Because the Boca Grande site was low and swampy, it was determined that the Cayo Costa site would be better suited for health care. Incoming vessels to Charlotte Harbor had to wait offshore at anchor for 15 days before they were inspected. This would allow enough time to determine if someone carrying the disease exhibited symptoms. People would be monitored for tuberculosis, malaria and the dreaded yellow fever. The fact that people traveled to the island by boat, not by roads or rail, made it easier to monitor visitors.