Friday, October 4, 2013

Chew on This

There is a little town nearby that has some interesting history attached to it. Before Joel Bean came (we will get back to Mr. Bean) there were a few fishermen and some turpentine stills in the area.

In 1923 Joel Bean came down from Massachusetts and founded the Boston-Florida Realty Trust.

He purchased 1,071 lots from Florida for $62,141. Mr. Bean began to advertise for his "city in the round". There were to be six hexagonal communities, each having a central plaza that would be surrounded by a 100 foot wide boulevard. The communities would be connected by an 80 foot wide thoroughfare.

He called his new community El Jobe-an (an anagram of his name and today is spelled as El Jobean) in hopes its Spanish flair would make it more appealing to future land buyers from the north. He wanted rich northerners to purchase land and build their winter vacation homes in El Jobean.

El Jobean did flourish in the 1920s and it did attract many from the northeast. Mr. Bean also built a hotel, post office/general store and a school. Many visitors stayed at the hotel as they fished in the nearby Myakka River. The hotel closed in 1934. Below are photos of the hotel and post office/general store as they stand today. There is a restaurant in the post office/general store today.

One of the rich north easterners who purchased land and built a winter home in El Jobean was an heiress of Thomas Adams (1818-1905). Mr. Adams was an American scientist, inventor and founder of the chewing gum industry. He would eventually join with the well-known gum maker, William Wrigley, Jr.

Thomas Adams got the idea for inventing chewing gum while working as a secretary to former Mexican leader, Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana (Remember the Alamo!). Santa Ana would chew on a Mexican plant called chicle (when The Colonel and I lived in Texas we would make trips to Mexico and the little children would follow us, calling out, "Chicle lady?" in hopes that we would purchase the chewing gum they were selling, which we always did. It looked exactly like Chiclets but was packaged differently). The scientist in Adams tried to make rubber for tires with chicle but failed. He continued to experiment with chicle and added sugar to it, creating the forerunner to chewing gum that would later be known to everyone as Chiclets (1910).


The Adams Chewing Gum Company also made the famous Black Jack chewing gum, the first flavored gum in America, created in 1871 (never a favorite of mine). My grandpa seemed to always have some in his truck's glove compartment as well as the Teaberry, Beemans and Clove gum (again, not my favorites).


Back to El Jobean. The town was flourishing in the 1920s with 60 homes built and that is when the Adams Chewing Company heiress, Elizabeth Adams, bought some land and built her winter home. The home still stands. It has a Spanish flair so maybe Mr. Bean was onto something with the name of his town.


I would have loved to have gone inside for a tour. I do not know if an Adams still owns the house today.

The 1929 crash affected El Jobean. No one had money to buy land from Mr. Bean and his unique community stopped growing. Joel Bean would die in 1943 and be buried in a nearby town.

El Jobean made a bit of a comeback in the 1930s when some Tarzan movies starring Johnny Weissmuller were filmed there. A family story claims that my Grandad (paternal grandfather) swam with Johnny Weissmuller once.

Little towns with interesting to love them.


  1. Six degrees of separation! Thoroughly enjoyed this blog post. Very interesting.

  2. I own and live in the Adams House Dan McHenry