James Elwood Bartlett was the largest individual feed and grain operator in the state of Michigan. Being the astute merchant he was, maybe he foresaw the horseless future that was rapidly approaching. Or maybe he was just bitten by the warm weather sunshine bug. What ever the reason by 1915 he had sold his very successful business and relocated with his wife Nellie and their four children to Boca Grande.
Soon another child was born who would later become a prominent Englewood citizen, Leah Bartlett Lasbury. She said her father bought extensive orange groves in several parts of Florida, hotels and in the early 1920s started buying land here in Englewood. At one point in time, he was one of the largest land owners in our area. He owned about 40,000 acres altogether, some of which is now Manasota Key and Casperson Beach.
One part of his holdings included 16,000 acres that started on the north side of Dearborn Street and meandered unevenly north beyond Forked Creek. It encompassed what are now the residential areas of Alameda Isles, Englewood Isles and Overbrook Gardens. Mr. Bartlett once took Sgt. Alvin C. York, the famous W.W.I hero, on a fishing trip out of Englewood.