1841_Foliage at Chadwick's Square on Captiva Island
Captiva Island is an island in Lee County in southwest Florida, located just offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Captiva Island is just north of Sanibel Island.
Originally part of neighboring Sanibel Island to the southeast, it was severed in 1926 when a hurricane's storm surge created a new channel, Blind Pass. The channel filled in over subsequent years, but was reopened by dredging in the summer of 2009. Like Sanibel, Captiva is a barrier island to Pine Island (to the east of Captiva and north of Sanibel), however it is much narrower. The only automobile access to Captiva is via the Sanibel Causeway and Sanibel-Captiva Road, which ends in the CDP of Captiva, the island's only CDP. Captiva was homesteaded in 1888 and a tiny cemetery next to The Chapel by the Sea has the grave of the original resident, William Herbert Binder (1850–1932), an Austrian. Half the island is in private ownership, with "Millionaire's Row", luxury homes on gulf and bay side of "San-Cap" road. The South Seas Island Resort entry gate is at the end of this road. Roosevelt Channel on the east side of the island, is named for Theodore Roosevelt who fished there.
North Captiva Island or Upper Captiva is another island, in turn severed from Captiva in a 1921 hurricane, creating Redfish Pass. North Captiva has power from lines that originate on the north end of Captiva, and is privately owned. With about 300 homes built and 300 vacant lots, the island is about half way to build-out. Since the island can be accessed by boat or small plane only, North Captiva real estate values are generally lower than on Captiva.
Damage on Captiva Island from Hurricane Charley Captiva was seriously damaged in August 2004 when the eastern eyewall of Hurricane Charley struck North Captiva, immediately before hitting Charlotte Harbor to the north-northeast. Initial reports indicated that 160 buildings were destroyed and another 160 seriously damaged. Reports indicate that the storm surge cut a path 491 yards (449 m) wide across the narrowest part of North Captiva, separating the island. The separation of the two halves of the island began 3 years earlier during a series of tornadoes caused by Tropical Storm Gabrielle that passed through the area in September 2001. The new pass has not been formally named, but the locals call it "Charley Pass" or "The North Cap Gap".