The City of North Port and our community are facing difficult times regarding WMS, the preservation of the historic buildings, the degree of appropriate development, and recent changes in the direction to the WMS Master Plan. As part of our mission of historic preservation and education, and our namesake, we offer this Proclamation:

Whereas, Warm Mineral Springs contains multiple levels of significance regarding its Geology, Geothermal Hydrology, Archaeology, Paleontology, History, Architecture, and traditional historic use as a wellness spa; as well as the significance of the outflow creek, which provides critical habitat for endangered manatees in the winter when they are most vulnerable, Whereas, Warm Mineral Springs is an internationally renowned archeological site and historic property, listed on the National Register of Historic Places for evidence of some of Florida’s earliest inhabitants (listed in 1976), and for its historic 1959 mid-century modern buildings, designed by renowned architect Jack West, of the Sarasota School of Architecture (listed in 2019 by the city of North Port). And, eligible as a Traditional Cultural Property that has a strong association with the beliefs and identities of a particular culture,

Whereas, Warm Mineral Springs is a natural and cultural resource owned by the City of North Port, providing a steady income stream for profitability and sustainability to the City,

Whereas, the protection of this natural and cultural wonder is in the best interest of the public; the citizens of North Port, Sarasota County, Florida, and the nation,

Whereas, as stewards of this publicly-owned, one-of-a-kind natural and cultural resource, the City of North Port has a responsibility to see that all levels of significance noted above are taken into consideration and protected to the highest degree possible; and to protect the site and surrounding landscape that serves as a natural protective buffer, from commercial overexploitation at the expense of the resources they are responsible to protect,

Whereas, the current private/public partnership plan as outlined in Option 4 of the new development proposal for a hotel and condominiums goes against those preservation principles that were decided upon during numerous public meetings in 2019; of which its impacts are without scientific study, and could have an adverse effect on the natural and cultural significance on the National Register-listed site,

Therefore, we, the Board of the Warm Mineral Spring/Little Salt Spring Archaeological Society would like to see no development more intrusive than what was publicly agreed upon in 2019; and to prioritize stabilization and restoration of the historic buildings not contingent on development approval as currently proposed under Option 4; and approval of any development on the property and adjacent properties should have appropriate cultural sensitivity and monitoring observed during any construction. And to, protect the integrity of the geology of this karstic feature, a ceiling collapsed sinkhole which contains the only natural geothermal vent in Florida and which has been geological feature on the landscape for a minimum of 20,000 years.

On this Day 27 April 2023
Warm Mineral Springs/Little Salt Spring Archeological Society
a 501 (c)(3) not for profit corporation and Chapter of the Florida Anthropological Society

Officers and Board of Directors:
President, Kathy Gerace; Vice President, Steve Koski;
Treasurer, Marion Pierce; Secretary, Lisa Shavers;
Directors: Bill Goetz, Michelle Calhoun, Amy Dwyer,
Thalia Lewis, Joan San Lwin, Linda Massey, and Betty Nugent

Tuesday, May 9, 2023: Dr. Bob Sinibaldi


As the last Ice Age came to a close much of the mega-fauna in North America went extinct. However, there were survivors, and the story is not only often overlooked, but also important to understanding the current mass extinction we are now going through. This presentation will focus on that subject which is one small sub-chapter of the author's new book; "Ice Age Florida: In Story and Art".

Dr. Bob Sinibaldi is a past president of the Tampa Bay Fossil Club and still on their board of directors. He was a recipient of the Howard Converse Award for his contributions to paleontology in the state of Florida by the University of Florida Department of Vertebrate Paleontology in 2011. He has authored 3 books; Fossil Diving in Florida's Waters (1998), What Your Fossils Can Tell You (2011) and Ice Age Florida (2021). He has donated several hundred specimens to the UF Paleontology Department over the years.

Join Zoom Meeting  Meeting ID: 824 0015 5724 Passcode: 050978

Tuesday, April 11, 2023: Dr. John Bratten


For more than 460 years, Pensacola’s waterways have been navigated by Spanish colonization ships, British warships, Civil War schooners, and numerous fishing and lumber vessels. Hurricane activity, warfare, and intentional abandonment sent many of these ships to the bottom of the Pensacola Bay and its nearby rivers. Many of these vessels have been documented by University of West Florida maritime archaeologists and students. Several others are being sought through the efforts of historical research and remote sensing techniques. These vessels, along with an update about our documentation of Cuban refugee boats in Key West, Florida, will be the subject of this presentation.

John R. Bratten is a nautical archaeologist and conservator for the University of West Florida. A graduate of the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University, he has experience in the analysis and conservation of artifacts from diverse sources including those from the sunken 17th-century town of Port Royal, Jamaica, to Revolutionary War munitions recovered from Lake Champlain. Following his employment with the University of West Florida in 1996, Bratten has served as principal investigator for numerous underwater archaeology projects including the 2006 and 2016 discoveries of the second and third shipwrecks from the 1559 Spanish colonization fleet of Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023: Dr. Keith Ashley


Located near the mouth of the St. Johns River in northeastern Florida, the Mill Cove Complex was one of the most significant Indigenous communities in Florida 1,000 years ago. While daily life centered around the exploitation of estuarine resources, these fisher-hunter-gatherers also engaged in long-distance interactions that resulted in the acquisition of copper, stone, and other minerals. This presentation reviews the results of excavations at Mill Cove by the University of North Florida since 1999, and contextualizes the site within northeastern Florida and beyond.

Keith Ashley is an archaeologist and associate professor of Anthropology at the University of North Florida. He is actively involved in archaeological excavations with UNF students throughout northeastern Florida. Presently, he is exploring the involvement of St. Johns fisher-hunter-gatherers in the broader world of farmers throughout the Southeast during the tenth through thirteenth centuries CE. He is also researching the 16th and 17th century social landscape of the Indigenous Timucua-speaking Mocama.


February 2023: James Abraham


James Abraham is a former journalist who now edits and publishes books. His Book-broker Publishers, which he founded in 2004, has produced or edited more than 500 books in a variety of genres. Abraham is a popular writing coach, critic, and lecturer. A graduate of Oberlin College and a Florida Humanities Scholar, Abraham is the author of “Century: A People’s History of Charlotte County.” James Abraham’s childhood hero was Heinrich Schleimann, who is credited with discovering the lost city of Troy. Abraham grew up to be a journalist, and views both daily history and more in-depth work as a process similar to that of Schleimann’s. Both history and journalism entail penetrating layers of truth and experience to find answers and meaning. In his talk, he’ll discuss how local history is similarly a series of layers of constructs, each germane to the period but also influencing what came next.


January 2023: Michelle Calhoun

Michelle Calhoun

Lightning whelk is a fairly common sight on our southwest Florida, Gulf coast beaches. In fact, eastern Gulf of Mexico lightning whelk population studies show that 82% can be found between Charlotte Harbor and Ten Thousand Islands. Interestingly, the shells of this particular mollusk were sought out in vast quantities starting around 8,000-10,000 years ago, formed into various forms of what are known as gorgets, and were interred with Native Peoples as far north as Canada.

Calhoun’s presentation will discuss the significance of this carnivorous, bottom-dwelling gastropod to Archaic and subsequent Native Peoples (ca. 8,000-1,000 B.C./ 10,000-3,000 B.P. to present), the routes most likely taken by those moving the shells, and an understanding of who these people likely were and what their purpose was in transporting these shells over such immense distances. These routes snaked all across the eastern U.S., even reaching into Texas. The shell tool assemblages of Texas and Florida during the Archaic show an undeniable connection. So too do the freshwater shell mounds of the Green, Cumberland, Tennessee, Tombigbee, and Ohio River valleys (Shell Mound Archaic) to those Archaic marine shell heaps and rings of the central to eastern Gulf of Mexico.

This work is still in progress after nearly four years of almost continuous research into, first, columella and gastropod tools, then into the movement of the sandal-sole type, and also of other whelk shell gorgets across eastern North America. These insights come from a fairly comprehensive literature review spanning forty states and five Canadian provinces, dozens of academic publications, paper and poster presentations, over 200 journals-both avocational and professional, cultural resource management (CRM) reports, informants from local archaeological societies, conversations with subject matter experts, and Indigenous histories.

Michelle Calhoun received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from New College of Florida in 2021 with her undergraduate thesis titled “An Analysis of Prehistoric Shell Tools (Columella Tools and Gastropod Hammers) from Snake Island, Sarasota County (8So2336).”


October 2022: Crystal Diff


Dive into the legend of the infamous pirate Gasparilla and the lasting impact it's made on southwest Florida’s coast. While exploring the local origins of the legend, we'll uncover the historical background of how a "big fish" story captured a railroad tycoon and made its mark on our coast forever.

Crystal Diff is the Executive Director for the Boca Grande Historical Society. She has spent over a decade working with cultural institutions across southwest Florida in history, art, archives, anthropology, and archaeology. Previously to BGHS, she provided public education programs and exhibits for Charlotte County History Services and was co-founder of our local International Archaeology Day event in the southwest region.


September 13: Rachael Kangas


This presentation will cover a project in Collier County, FL that devised a system for prioritizing cultural sites based on when they are likely to flood due to sea level rise, how vulnerable they are to flooding, and the consequences if the sites are lost. Hopefully this project will start more discussions about how sites should be prioritized and what matters when it comes to deciding where to invest limited resources.

Rachael Kangas, M.A., RPA is the Director, West Central & Central Regions Florida Public Archaeology Network.  Rachael is the Region Director for the West Central and Central Regions of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, and she conducts public archaeology and outreach in the regions. She earned her M.A. from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2015 and is certified as a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA).