Officially designated "Pleasure Island" in 1949 by Governor Jim Folsom, the 32 miles of white sandy beaches in Gulf Shores has been a prime fishing and golf destination for Alabamians and tourists. Early Alabama Gulf Coast individuals and families were mariners, fishermen, boat builders, salt miners, and turpentine harvesters living off the sea and land. They were largely self-sufficient and often at the mercy of Mother Nature. The diversity of this small marine community influenced and continues to enrich life in Gulf Shores. Real estate visionaries such as George C. Meyer brought a fresh perspective to an area that was considered by many to be unusable land. They encouraged the infrastructure growth necessary to support residents, visitors and businesses year-round. Through generous donations from Erie Hal Meyer and the George C. Meyer Foundation, combined with the efforts of community leaders and state and federal officials, Gulf Shores offers outstanding amenities, making this small town a popular resort destination on the Alabama Gulf Coast.