NAME: Ritta Island
COUNTY: Palm Beach
CLIMATE: Hot most of the year, mild to cold in winter
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Limited, island has no docks
COMMENTS: No residents. Island is along the southern edge of Lake Okeechobee.
REMAINS: unknown, possible building foundations
Ritta Island's first residents arrived around 1909. In 1917 The U. S. Government surveyed all the Okeechobee islands and declared them open for homesteading. Early settlers include John Windham, Mays Thomas, and Captain Ed Forbes, who ran the mail boat to the Ritta Island Post Office. The land was originally covered by custard apple trees which had to be cleared before anything could be planted. Corn, onions, and green beans were the main crops, and there was one mule on the island to help plow the fields. Continued heavy rains in 1922 completely flooded Ritta Island and most of the mainland around the Lake. The entire island was under more than a foot of water, ruining most of the crops and infesting the area with water moccasins. Following the flood most of the residents moved away. The final end came in 1928 when the Hurricane washed away all the buildings on Ritta Island. Submitted by: Jim Pike

Ritta Island
Courtesy Jim Pike

Ritta Island 2007
Courtesy Jim Pike

lone palm tree on Ritta Island
Courtesy Jim Pike

Clearing the land of custard apple trees, 1912.  Courtesy of the Everglades Digital Library