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Overview

Site of the southernmost engagement of the Civil War, Fort Myers grew up around a fort built to protect settlers in the 1800s against incursions from the Seminoles. It was a rough and rugged part of the Florida frontier, where cattle drives from points north ended at the docks at Punta Rassa, the cows shipped off to Cuba in exchange for Spanish gold. When Thomas Edison decided to build a winter laboratory along the Caloosahatchee River in 1889, it truly transformed Fort Myers, attracting the interests of his fellow industrialists like Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford. Edison commissioned royal palms to be planted down McGregor Boulevard, ...

Site of the southernmost engagement of the Civil War, Fort Myers grew up around a fort built to protect settlers in the 1800s against incursions from the Seminoles. It was a rough and rugged part of the Florida frontier, where cattle drives from points north ended at the docks at Punta Rassa, the cows shipped off to Cuba in exchange for Spanish gold. When Thomas Edison decided to build a winter laboratory along the Caloosahatchee River in 1889, it truly transformed Fort Myers, attracting the interests of his fellow industrialists like Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford. Edison commissioned royal palms to be planted down McGregor Boulevard, where the cows once stampeded, giving the city the nickname the City of Palms. Growth during the 1920s and again during the 1940s by airmen returning to their training base, Page Field, shifted the area’s economy towards tourism. At the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River lie the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, with Fort Myers Beach, another enticing getaway, a barrier island to the south.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located on the southwest Gulf Coast of Florida. Fort Myers was one of the first forts built along the Caloosahatchee River as a base of operations against the Seminole Indians.
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
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    Fall, winter, and spring