Located on the south bank of the Caloosahatchee, Fort Myers has been home to soldiers, ranchers, cowboys, snowbirds and inventors. Named after Col. Abraham Myers, Fort Myers was founded in 1850 as a military outpost during the Seminole Wars. The Fort saw service again as a Union outpost during the Civil War and was officially retired from military service in 1865. Almost immediately the abandoned Fort Myers became home to settler families, land speculators and Florida Crackers (our cowboys and cowgirls).
By 1885, the Town of Fort Myers was established, the Fort Myers Press was printing and world famous inventor Thomas Alva Edison called Fort Myers his winter home. During this period Fort Myers became the county seat of the newly formed Lee County and tourism boomed as offshore tarpon fishing enticed sport fishermen and adventurers from around the world.
Fort Myers saw amazing growth through the 1920s until the combination of a failing real estate market and crashing stock market sent Fort Myers into depression. During this time Fort Myers was aided through federal works projects that changed the face of downtown. The new Federal Post Office building, the Edison Bridge and the Yacht Basin all made significant improvements to the struggling downtown.
It was a return to Fort Myers’ military heritage that would bring all of Southwest Florida out of depression and into prosperity. The establishment of Buckingham Field and Page Field during World War II brought thousands of service men and women to Lee County and gave local business a much need boost with government contracts and services for the two bases.
Since the 1950’s Southwest Florida and Fort Myers have seen amazing growth and prosperity and have become premiere destinations for sun-seekers, investors and retirees. As we move forward to the future, Fort Myers will continue to hold “post” as the center of commerce, government and entertainment for the ever-growing Southwest Florida community.