Fort Myers Florida – Culture and Character
Fort Myers or Ft. Myers, is an upscale southern coastal town in Lee County, Florida. As of the last U.S. Census, the current population was 62,949 and in upcoming years is anticipated to be almost going well over that figure. The reason for the rapid growth can be attributed to a mix of economic development, a relatively high number of returning tourists, and a large number of people relocating to the area. As a result, real estate in Fort Myers has grown in value, making it an ideal area to purchase real estate. Because of this, property in Fort Myers has become more valuable.
Fort Myers is located on a chain of approximately seven islands in the Gulf of Mexico. It is bordered by the Florida Panhandle to the west, the northern peninsula, the central Atlantic seaboard, and the south-eastern panhandle. While it is geographically on the east coast of Florida, it is considered a part of the mainland of Lee County. It is one of two cities designated a statistical area by the state of Florida (along with Naples).
In the early years of development Fort Myers was an important sea port for traders along the shores of Saint Petersburg. Its importance was reflected in the fort and the surrounding areas that were built around it. Fort Myers’ location and the nearby port meant that it could support a strong local economy. Lee County’s growth and development during the colonial period created a strong need for shipping and farming. This led to development of key west coast cities, including: Tampa, St. Petersburg, Destin, and Leeburg.
An example of fort development in the early days of Fort Myers would include the following: Fort Myers’ first major fort was Fort Myers’ First Hospital. Fort Myers was located on the west bank of the St. Mary’s River, right in the center of the city. The fort served as a U.S. Army hospital and a recruiting station for much of the Civil War. The 1st Infantry Regiments of the Civil War was located here. Major John Lee served as the fort’s surgeon. Major John L. Henry, Jr. served as an assistant surgeon and later became commanding officer of the entire regiment.
An example of a location where the U.S. Army still maintains a presence today involves the remnants of Fort Myers’ First Hospital. The ruins of this massive hospital are located on a peninsula directly in the middle of town. This peninsula also includes the remains of what was known as the “sixth Battery” of Fort Myers. The six hundred and sixty-three century old fort is actually one of the largest Civil War fortifications in the United States. The fort was built to protect the town from marauding Indians who roamed the reservation. It also housed the First Medical Company, which served the community during the period of its creation.
The coastal part of town is home to the second largest school district in the state. While the winter estates in Lake Woebegone continue to draw residents, the district remains predominantly populated by white collar workers and professionals. Also present are the public library, state capitol, state house, state courts and county courthouse, all located in the coastal portion of the statistical area.
One notable structure from the era that is still standing is Harvey Firestone Park. A two-mile long pedestrian walkway on the park’s south side connects the park to downtown Harvey. This two story stone abode was designed by noted architect Samuel Van Pelt. It consists of two buildings: a gymnasium and a small club house with tennis and squash courts. Harvey Firestone Park has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered to be one of Florida’s most significant winter estates.
Located next door is Fort Myers Fl, a beautiful historic city that offers two parks to enjoy as well as easy access to downtown Disney. The former Harvey Firestone Park is currently undergoing renovations while the new addition is sure to become a hot spot for winter attractions. The Harvey firestone park, built in 1931, features two buildings: a gymnasium and a small club house with tennis and squash courts. The new addition, which includes a state-of-the-art fitness center, will surely be a hit with the young families who love to take in a show while strolling through the snow covered streets.