Nestled in an intimate corner of the Gulf Coast, Cortez Village has a rich history that reflects its tight-knit community and reverence for tradition. Cortez is designated on the National Register of Historic Places as the last working fishing village on the Gulf Coast. Still, its story extends far beyond its fishing roots. Established in the late 1880s by families from North Carolina, Cortez has withstood the test of time, adapting to changes while honoring its independent spirit.
Cortez’s resilience became evident during the Great Depression, as the villagers relied on plentiful fish catches and traded with local growers, refusing federal aid.
Within the Florida Maritime Museum, artifacts and exhibits serve as relics of Cortez’s history, transporting visitors to a time when the village’s docks bustled with activity and the sea held both bounty and challenges.
From its earliest days, the village has nurtured a rich tradition of artists. From brushstrokes on canvas to melodies from the fiddle, artists in Cortez find fertile ground for their imaginations to flourish. The village’s idyllic charm, steeped in its coastal heritage’s sights, sounds, and stories, provides inspiration for these artistic souls.
As Cortez continues to evolve, it remains a place where history and innovation intertwine. The village proudly preserves its heritage, cherishing its fishing roots and celebrating the indomitable spirit of its people. Cortez is not just a village; it is a living testament to the enduring connection between fishermen and the sea—a place where the past meets the present, where artists find inspiration, and where the saying “The finest kind” resonates in the hearts of all who call it home.