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History of Ft Myers

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Historic Preservation Efforts

Originally established as a Seminole War Post in 1841 known as Fort Harvie, Fort Myers began transformation into a farming and cattle community in the late 1860’s and 1870’s. By the mid 1880’s Fort Myers began developing a commercial core, and gaining national notoriety for local recreational fishing.

 In 1885, Fort Myers incorporated and in 1887 Lee County was carved from Monroe County. Following the opening of a rail line connecting Fort Myers to Punta Gorda in 1904, a series of building booms fostered several new residential subdivisions beyond Downtown, including Dean Park, Edison Park, and Seminole Park. Over time the original wooden buildings of downtown were replaced with masonry and brick buildings, many of which still exist today. Fort Myers even saw its first sky scraper Downtown in 1924 with the seven-story addition to the Franklin Arms Hotel. 1924 also marked the construction of a wooden bridge spanning the Caloosahatchee, aptly named the Edison Bridge, after our most famous winter resident.

Although the boom times came and went throughout the years, Fort Myers grew to become the governmental, commercial, and social center of Southwest Florida.
Today the landscape of Southwest Florida has changed dramatically, however our history and dedication to our colorful past continues. To help celebrate, promote, and preserve that past, the City of Fort Myers has an established Historic Preservation program to better serve our historic neighborhoods and landmarks.
There are many components within the Historic Preservation program, among them are the significant benefits to those who own property within historic districts or historic landmarks.
Currently the City has four designated historic districts; Edison Park, Dean Park, Downtown, and Seminole Park, along with nearly 20 designated historic landmarks that have the benefit of being a part of our Historic Preservation program.

Among the benefits of being a designated district or landmark include

  • Access to staff as a resource
  • Increased sense of community
  • Tax exemptions
  • Recycling of community resources
  • Stabilization and improvement of property values
  • Promotes heritage tourism
  • Attracts additional funding sources for community based projects
  • Preserves historic resources through a review process
  • Allows an opportunity for adaptive reuse
  • Stimulates economic revitalization in older commercial areas
  • Preservation of the Citys past
  • Provides jobs for skilled trades
  • Ensures historic character of the neighborhood is maintained
  • And more

The City is actively speaking to individuals or neighborhoods that may be interested in learning more about Historic Preservation, or potentially achieving a district or landmark designation. If you would like to learn more about Historic Preservation within the City, or if you would like someone to speak to your neighborhood, please contact us.

A special thanks to our sponsors

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