Ochopee, Florida

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Ochopee, Florida
Ochopee Post Office
Ochopee Post Office
Ochopee is located in Florida
Location within the state of Florida
Ochopee is located in the United States
Ochopee (the United States)
Coordinates: 25°54′4″N 81°18′13″W / 25.90111°N 81.30361°W / 25.90111; -81.30361Coordinates: 25°54′4″N 81°18′13″W / 25.90111°N 81.30361°W / 25.90111; -81.30361
Country United States
State Florida
County Collier
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
GNIS feature ID295500[1]

Ochopee is an unincorporated community in Collier County, Florida, United States.[2] 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".[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] It continues as an active post office and sometime tourist attraction.[6]

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?[6]

Points of interest[edit]

  • 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


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Ochopee, Florida
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  3. ^ Stone 1989, p. 11.
  4. ^ Stone 1989, p. 2.
  5. ^ Stone 1989, p. 51.
  6. ^ a b Gray, Melinda (August 7, 2014). "What happened to Ochopee?". Coastal Breeze News. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
  • 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.

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.

External links[edit]