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Ochopee, Florida facts for kids

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Ochopee, Florida
Country  United States
State  Florida
County Flag of Collier County, Florida.png Collier
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
GNIS feature ID 295500

Ochopee is an unincorporated community in Collier County, Florida, United States. It is located to the east of the intersection of US 41 and State Road 29, near Carnestown. The community is part of the NaplesMarco Island Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The community got its name when a visitor to the general store asked the owner what the place was called. A native man was trading in the store that day so the owner asked him the Seminole word for farm. The farmer replied, "O-Chopp-ee".

Ochopee began as a one family tomato farming community in the early 1920s. James Gaunt bought 240 acres (97 ha) of land along U.S. Highway 41 for $100 per acre, and started with only army tents. A community called Ochopee grew up around Gaunt's tomato farm.

After the original post office burned down, residents used an old storage shed to house mail, which became the smallest post office in the nation. It continues as an active post office and sometime tourist attraction.

The original farm and settlement were gradually absorbed by the federal government as part of a movement to conserve the Everglades. A few small businesses remain, along with the headquarters of the Big Cypress National Preserve. Jeff Whichello, a native of the area, has written a book about his childhood called What Happened to Ochopee?

Points of interest

  • Ochopee post office
  • Skunk Ape Research Center
  • Joannie's Crab Shack
  • National Park Service Big Cypress Headquarters, formerly The Golden Lion Motor Inn owned by Whichello's family
  • Wootens World Famous Airboats
  • Stone, Maria (1989). "Ochopee The Story of the Smallest Post Office"
  • Pettengill, Frank (1975). "Naples Daily News","Ochopee Acquisition Appeal Made"
  • Whichello, Jeff (2014). "What Happened To Ochopee" A first hand account of the land grab by the federal government that took place in the 1970s to create the Big Cypress Preserve.

Focus of movie "Just Cause" Just Cause is a 1995 film directed by Arne Glimcher and starring Sean Connery and Laurence Fishburne. It is based on John Katzenbach's novel of the same name.

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