A Brief History of Fort Myers Florida

Fort Myers, Florida is located in the southwest portion of Florida. It’s both the commercial center and county seat of Lee County, Florida.

The latest census, conducted in 2015, puts the population of Fort Myers Florida at 77,146.

Two big tourist attractions in Fort Myers are the winter estates of Thomas Edison, named “Seminole Lodge”, and Henry Ford, whose estate was called “The Mangoes.”

The city is served by the Southwest Florida International Airport, which is located in the southeast area of Fort Myers.

Fort Myers Florida has what is referred to as a tropical savanna climate. This means Fort Myers has relatively short, warm winter months and summers that are hot, humid and long.

Most of the rain in Fort Myers falls in the months of June to September in the form of showers and thunderstorms.

Florida was originally under the colonial influence of the Spanish before Great Britain and then the United States moved into the area.

Fort Myers, constructed in the 1830’s, was one of America’s first on the Caloosahatchee River. It was named after Colonel Abraham Myers.

Colonel Myers was an 1833 graduate of West Point who fought in the Seminole Wars as well as later in the Mexican American war.

This was a very important location during the American Indian wars in the 1830’s, with access to Atlantic waterways.

Captain Manuel A. Gonzalez founded the Fort Myers community after the American Civil War, in 1866 after the government of the United States abandoned the fort.

Fort Myers Florida was finally incorporated in 1885 with a grand total of 349 residents. That same year, inventor Thomas Edison was in Florida and stopped to visit Fort Myers.

Edison proceeded to purchase thirteen acres of land, where he would build his winter estate known as “Seminole Lodge.”

In 1916, Henry Ford purchased the estate next to Edison’s, an estate that came to be called “The Mangoes.”

The Atlantic Coastline Railroad opened in 1904. It connected Fort Myers to Punta Gorda, giving Fort Myers both passenger and freight rail service.

Edison opened the the Edison Botanic Research Corporation lab in 1928. During World War I Edison had grown concerned that the United States was too reliant on rubber imports.

Just like the more famous story of Thomas Edison and the light bulb, Edison tested over 17,000 different samples of exotic plants and trees before discovering one worthwhile.

Three years later, after 7 years of construction, the Edison Bridge was opened. Edison, at eighty-four years of age, was the first person to drive across the bridge.

With the opening of the Edison bridge, the city of Fort Myers Florida grew steadily in population.

Besides the estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, Fort Myers Florida is also home to three colleges as well as three universities.

There is also the Imaginarium Science Center and the Southwest Florida Museum of History.

Fort Myers Florida continues to grow, with its current population of 77,146 up significantly from the previous census, done only six years before, in 2010. At the time, the Fort Myers population was only 62,298.