Nestled in Sarasota County, Florida, lies the vibrant city of North Port. While relatively young compared to some of its neighboring towns, North Port’s history is filled with fascinating tales of growth, innovation, and natural beauty. From its early days as a rural landscape to its emergence as a thriving community, North Port has forged its own unique identity. Join us as we delve into the captivating history of this hidden gem along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
The history of North Port dates back to the mid-19th century when pioneer families began settling in the region. The area was primarily used for cattle grazing and agriculture, with settlers cultivating citrus groves, vegetable gardens, and ranching operations. The advent of the railroad in the early 1900s brought new opportunities for trade and transportation, laying the groundwork for North Port’s future development.
The Visionary Behind North Port:
North Port owes much of its existence to the vision of General Development Corporation (GDC) founder, the late Leonard Rosen. In the 1950s, Rosen recognized the untapped potential of the area and embarked on an ambitious plan to create a master-planned community. With careful attention to preserving the natural landscape, Rosen’s vision transformed North Port into a desirable destination for families and retirees alike.
The Growth Spurt:
In the 1960s, North Port experienced a significant growth spurt as GDC’s marketing efforts attracted droves of newcomers. The company’s innovative marketing techniques, including the “Land Sales Jubilee,” enticed buyers from across the country to invest in North Port’s affordable land offerings. The population soared, and the city rapidly expanded with the construction of residential neighborhoods, schools, shopping centers, and recreational facilities.
Protecting the Environment:
One of the remarkable aspects of North Port’s history is its commitment to preserving the natural environment. Despite rapid development, the city has prioritized the conservation of its unique ecosystems. The Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, Warm Mineral Springs, and the vast Myakka State Forest are just a few examples of North Port’s dedication to maintaining its natural treasures.
Over the years, North Port has diversified its economy beyond residential development. The city has attracted various industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, and retail. Major employers such as Sarasota Memorial Health Care System and Tervis Tumbler have established a presence, contributing to the city’s economic growth and stability.
North Port celebrates its cultural heritage through various events and venues. The North Port Performing Arts Center hosts a range of theatrical performances, concerts, and community events, while the North Port Art Center showcases the talent of local artists. Additionally, the city’s commitment to education is evident in the presence of the State College of Florida, which offers higher education opportunities to the community.
As North Port continues to grow and evolve, its future shines brightly. The city’s strategic plan emphasizes sustainable development, smart growth initiatives, and enhanced quality of life for its residents. With a focus on preserving natural spaces, fostering economic diversity, and nurturing a vibrant cultural scene, North Port is poised to become a premier destination for both residents and visitors.
From its humble beginnings as an agricultural community to its emergence as a thriving city, North Port’s history is a testament to the perseverance and foresight of its residents and visionaries. As it builds upon its rich heritage and embraces the opportunities of the future, North Port remains a hidden gem on Florida’s Gulf Coast, ready to captivate those who venture to explore its captivating past and exciting present.
Want to know about the fastest-growing city in SW Florida? Click here for resident’s thoughts — What I Love about North Port
North Port has been recognized as A Playful City. Click here for some fun with the city staff
North Port is located in Sarasota County, Florida. The city is home to more than 74,000 residents. It is part of the North Port–Bradenton–Sarasota Metropolitan Statistical Area. It was originally developed by General Development Corporation as the northern / Sarasota County portion of its Port Charlotte development, the other portion located in the adjacent Charlotte County. GDC dubbed it North Port Charlotte, and it was incorporated under that name through a special act of the Florida Legislature in 1959. By referendum in 1974, the city’s residents approved a change to its name as North Port, dropping Charlotte from its name to proclaim the city as a separate identity. It is home to the Little Salt Spring, an archaeological and paleontological site owned by the University of Miami.
North Port is a municipality containing large-scale residential subdivisions along with an extensive network of streets. The municipality has annexed nearby locales, including the area known as Warm Mineral Springs, the location of a notable artesian spring, as well as its own significant residential subdivision.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 104.16 square miles (269.8 km2), of which 99.58 square miles (257.9 km2) is land and 4.58 square miles (11.9 km2) (4.40%) is water.
Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park is in North Port.
|U.S. Decennial Census 2020|
As of the 2020 US Census, there were 74,793 people and 25,592 households residing in the city. The population density was 576.0 inhabitants per square mile (222.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.5% White, 6.3% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.1% Asian, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.5% of the population.
Of the 25,592 households, 4.8% of the population were under 5 years old, 18.6% were under 18 years old, and 26.7% were 65 years and older. 52.5% of the population was female.
The median income for a household in the city was $64,543. The per capita income for the city was $34,514. About 7.0% of people were below the poverty line.
Arts and culture
In 2007, the North Port Art Guild leased a building from the city and established the North Port Art Center. The center hosts exhibits as well as classes.
North Port has a city commission/city manager form of government.
The current city manager is A. Jerome Fletcher, II. The city commission has five members. The mayor/vice mayor roles are voted upon annually from the commission ranks. The current commission includes Commissioner Pete Emrich (District 4), mayor Barbara Langdon (District 2), Commissioner Phil Stokes (District 5), Commissioner Debbie McDowell (District 3) and Vice-Mayor Alice White (District 1).
The city of North Port has its own police force, fire department, and waste management. City Hall of North Port is located at 4970 City Hall Boulevard.
North Port has five elementary schools, one public charter school, two middle schools, one high school, and one college operated by Sarasota County Public Schools.
- Toledo Blade Elementary School (K–5)
- Glenallen Elementary School (K–5)
- Cranberry Elementary School (K–5)
- Atwater Elementary School (K–5)
- Lamarque Elementary School (K–5)
- Imagine School at North Port (K–12)
- Heron Creek Middle School (6–8)
- Woodland Middle School (6–8)
- North Port High School (9–12)
- Suncoast Technical College