The town of Nocatee originated as a lumber manufacturing town during the 1880s. During the late 19th century, two businesses stimulated the town’s growth. One was the King Lumber and Manufacturing Company, established by W.G. Welles in 1896. The second was the Nocatee Crate Lumber and Manufacturing Company, opened a few years later. The two businesses were next to each other west of the Florida Southern Railroad tracks and south of County Road 760/Welles Avenue. The Nocatee Crate Company eventually became the largest employer in Desoto County, which prompted the construction of many homes and businesses. The company’s success was partly due to the development of a packing crate that made it cheaper and easier to ship fruits and vegetables to market. These “4-One” crates, built of wire wrapped around wood corners and veneer strips, were used throughout the U.S. The crates could be flattened and stacked, and their light weight reduced shipping costs and waste. Several buildings along the west side of U.S. 17 were constructed by the Nocatee Crate Company and rented to its employees. When the company closed, the homes were sold to the residents at auction.