In 1968, Herb Field, one of the founders of the town of Longboat Key in the 1950s, bought the property, then known as Mara Beach Resort. He already owned the Sea Horse Beach Resort across the street.
Herb renamed the property Field’s Yachting and Tennis Resort. It included a social hall, now unit 17, which had lockers for members to keep their beverages and cocktail supplies.
There were some bungalows on the property which did include the existing tennis courts and marina. Herb acquired the display model unit from the Embassy House on Gulfstream Avenue on the downtown bayfront, and relocated it onto the property as his retirement home. We know it as unit #1.
In 1979, Winnipeg-based developer Bob Chipman persuaded Herb to sell the entire resort to him. Bob’s many friends had urged him to create a small enclave where they could all own vacation residences. This was the genesis of the Dock on the Bay as it stands today.
The initial owners of the 19 units were all friends of Bob’s, many since grade school or recreational hockey. Thus DOB was formed with a built-in community of 50-60 somethings. Tennis was king, and the courts were seldom empty during season. [The nature of the community could be demonstrated by the lack of “condo rules”] Courtesy and good spirit prevailed.
Abundant relaxed entertaining was the rule. The warm environment of DOB led to wonderful satisfaction for all. Since the beginning, DOB management has never had a contentious issue! Not one! Annual meetings usually involve expressions of satisfaction.
As the marina population included more live-aboard boaters, they too were absorbed into the community. Some have lived at DOB for decades…. This adds a level of security along our waterfront.
As time passed, there was no turnover of the units. DOB became a gracious family as the children of the first generation of owners grew up. Many of the children established friendships that endure today. Today, 7 of the 19 units are owned by the children of the original owners!
DOB has always been a place where memories are formed. To that point, we create a DOB “Family Tree” each year to help everyone remember the names of all the successive generations, which continue to grow each year!