Remember: Bonita Beach Village undaunted by storms, flooding conditions

There’s no disputing the location of last week’s Remember photo. It’s definitely Bonita Beach Village Mobile Home Park on Hickory Boulevard. But as for the year, guesses ranged from the 1982 or ’83 No Name Storm (I second this opinion) to the early 2000s.

The photo garnered a lot of calls from folks eager to talk about one of Bonita Beach’s oldest neighborhoods, one where potluck parties for all occasions are still bringing neighbors together.

“It’s a nice place to live,” said 12-year resident Joyce Lockhart. “It’s like paradise. We’re right across from the beach.”

Lockhart described the park as a “melting pot” of people from all over the U.S.A., especially New England and the Midwest.

They enjoy celebrating everything from Thanksgiving and Christmas to Valentine’s Day, the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras.

Lockhart said the resident-owned park was originally developed in 1952 or ’53, making it one of Hickory Boulevard’s oldest communities. The park was built back in the days when the road was merely a dirt trail.

When Hurricane Donna struck in September 1960, it flung the trailers across Estero Bay like they were tinker toys. Undaunted, residents rebuilt and the park continued.

Jackie Litaker’s family has long ties to the park. Her parents, Francis and Rae Janieke, bought their first unit in the neighborhood in the late 1960s. Litaker’s brother still lives in the park, and Litaker co-owns their late parents’ unit with him as well.

“It’s a close-knit group,” she said.

She recalled that her parents paid $35,000 for a unit in the park in the 1970s. During the boom times, units in the park sold for the $400,000s.

Both Allan Sperl and former Mayor of Survey Rick Steinmeyer recognized the park. Sperl, who lives a block away, believes the photo was taken after Tropical Storm Gabrielle. Steinmeyer, the self-appointed guardian of Bonita Beach, knows the area like the back of his hand. He’s sure the picture was snapped in 2001 after an unexpected storm swept in from the Gulf.

But because it was shot with black and white film, I’m fairly certain the picture was actually taken following an early 1980s event called the No Name Storm.

A woman named Pat, whose last name I couldn’t catch on her message, thinks so too.

“That’s me standing in the water,” she said,

And just a few more words about the March 18 photo of a pristine beach that callers guessed was either Barefoot or Bonita. Arthur Lawrence feels compelled to get in the last word on this one.

“Dave Teasdale is wrong,” said Lawrence. “I know that’s Bonita Beach because it’s on a post card and I’ll show it to you.”

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