Fort Myers

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Banyan Tree - On the grounds of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates

Fort Myers is a booming town with great weather, entertainment and a casual feel in Southwest Florida.

Understand[edit]

History[edit]

According to a handbook authored by Francis Asbury Hendry who lived from 1833 – 1917, Fort Myers first appears in about 1841 when it was first manned as Fort Harvey. The military fort was abandoned in 1842 then, re-established in 1850 and named in honor of a U.S. Army officer named Abraham C. Myers, a Colonel. The fort was a center for command and control operations during war against the native Indian tribes that lived in Florida until they were defeated and, relocated out of the state to regions of western United States. However, some of the Seminole Indian tribe never surrendered and remained in the Florida wilderness. Colonel Myers reportedly resigned his commission and joined the Confederate army when the Civil War started. Under Confederate control, African slaves were transported to the area from Virginia to support cultivation of crops.

During the Civil War, the fort changed hands between forces of the North and South once or twice more. An African-American Infantry of Union soldiers was stationed in Fort Myers during the period of 1863 to 1864. Under the authority of Monroe County, the first school for African-Americans in the area was formed near Fort Myers, on the property an emancipated slave by the name of Nelson Tillis in 1885. Although Thomas Edison operated telegraph services for the northern side of the Civil War, in 1886, Edison purchased a winter home in Fort Myers after marrying his second wife earlier that year (National Park Service, 2012). In 1890, the first female African-American school teacher (Annie Moore), was hired to teach in the area (Lee County Black History Society, 2011).

A county entitled Lee County, named so in honor of the southern commanding General, Robert E. Lee was established in 1887. By about 1908, the population of Fort Myers was approximately five to six thousand (Captain F.A. Hendry Reunion Committee, 2002). In 1912 the first local Black population only public school was established in Lee County (Williams Academy). Henry Ford bought the home and land next door to Thomas Edison in 1916. In 1920 the Jones-Walker Hospital was opened for the Black population only. Bunche Beach was dedicated as the first local beach intended for the Black population only, in 1949. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled to end segregation in public schools. However, this decision was not implemented by integrating local Lee County schools until 1969. The Williams Academy was relocated to Clemente Park located in the Dunbar section of Fort Myers in 1995 and, is the primary center for African-American history in Lee County. The museum and administrative offices are established at 1936 Henderson Avenue (Lee County Black History Society, 2011).

Fort Myers Black History Society Museum entrance view.
Fort Myers Black History Society Museum, Clemente Park view.

The 2010 total census population of the city of Fort Myers was 62,298 (United States Census Bureau, 2010). This population figure does not include seasonal residents or, residents of Lee County outside of the city limits.

Climate[edit]

The climate of Fort Myers is tropical.

On August 13, 2004, Fort Myers was sideswiped by Hurricane Charley, a category 4 hurricane that made landfall north of the area. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma struck south of Naples, but caused extensive damage nonetheless in Fort Myers and its southern suburbs.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • Southwest Florida International Airport (IATA: RSW), 11000 Terminal Access Road, Phone: +1 239 590-4800, [1]. Most major U.S. carriers serve RSW. International carriers include Air Berlin (from Düsseldorf), Air Canada (from Toronto and Montreal), and WestJet (from Toronto).

Get around[edit]

  • The tropical climate is perfect for bicycling, and Fort Myers is a very bicycle friendly city. But watch out for those occasional pop up showers, especially during the wet season. When cycling, be sure to bring plenty of water, wear light weight, light colored clothing, and wear sunscreen.
  • Lee trans [2] is the local bus service and has numerous bus lines criss-crossing the city.
  • The tolls for the Sanibel Causeway are $6 for cars, $2 for motorcycles, and $0 for bicycles, but it is only going onto the island, and well worth it.
  • The Midpoint and Cape Coral Pwky/Colonial Bridge is $2 going from Fort Myers to Cape Coral only. Other direction is non toll. The bridge is generally unavoidable unless you go through Downtown Fort Myers and US41 around.

See[edit]

Butterfly Estates
  • Butterfly Estates1815 Fowler Street +1 239 690-2359. 9AM - 5PM. This butterfly conservatory, set in the Fort Myers river district, is home to all the species of butterfly native to Florida. The enclosure features a cascading waterfall and many exotic species of plants. Every Friday at 1:30PM new butterflies are released into the exhibit, which makes this the best time to visit. $15.
  • Edison and Ford Winter Estates2350 McGregor Blvd +1 239 334-7419. Every day 9AM-5:30PM (during Dec until 9PM). Guided tours through 15,000 sq. ft. museum with hundreds of Edison and Ford inventions and objects, video theatres, and changing special exhibits. Beautiful and interesting plantings on the grounds.
  • Groove Street Grille and Discotheque8595 College Parkway +1-239-437-2743. Fort Myers. There is no other restaurant, night spot, entertainment center or local gathering place like Groove Street in Fort Myers, Florida. Cover charge is $5 plus a valid form of identification to show the staff upon entrance (State ID or driver's license will work). The club is open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9 pm to 3 am. Whether you are a local or a tourist, single person, a couple, or a group, and no matter what race you are, whether you are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Chinese, French, Mexican, Indian, or Brazilian, if you want to come and dance on the dance floor, meet new people, socialize, or chill for a superbowl, football game, etc, you'll find it at Groove Street. For those that like a little romance here and there, Groove Street even has a history of playing slow songs for everyone on the dance floor. There are, however, a few rules that they have. While they allow you to bring still-photograph cameras, they unfortunately prohibit video cameras. They also have apparently a dress code that prohibits tank tops and short shorts. Additionally, you must be 21+ years old to enter the club.
  • Minnesota Twins Spring Training14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway +1 612 338-9467. Hammond Stadium. If you are in Fort Myers during the spring, you may be able to see the Major Baseball League's Minnesota Twins' during their preseason training period. (2007 prices) Dugout Box, $35; Box Seats, $21; Reserved Seats, $19; Deck Rail, $15; Lawn Seating, $10; Standing Room, $10.
  • Boston Red Sox Spring Training, Fenway South Dr JetBlue Park at Fenway South, +1 239 334-4700. The Boston Red Sox also have their spring training in Fort Myers.
  • Florida Everblades. Local hockey.
  • Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles.
  • Sanibel Lighthouse

Do[edit]

  • Paint a coconut at one of the many art galleries on colourful pine island
  • Head to Matanzas Pass Preserve on the 7-mile long island of Estero and into the 60-acre mangrove where crabs, lizards and birds live in abundance
  • Visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates featuring 20 acres of tropical gardens and the largest banyan tree in the US
  • Make the most of Fort Myers' Music Walk every third Friday of the month and hear the streets filled with live music

Buy[edit]

  • The Shell Factory. 2787 North Tamiami Trail. The complex features jewelry, and collectibles made from sea shells, carved coconut souvenirs, T-shirts, tropical ladies wear, a pirate exhibit, wild animal display of over 66 different animals, a small live animal Nature park, restaurants, entertainment for children, the largest year-round Christmas holiday shop, and other attractions. One reason The Shell Factory is a popular source of collectible conch shells is that, under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regulations, there is a restriction in Lee County for the collection of any sea shells along its beaches if there is a living organism inhabiting the shell, with the exception of oysters, hard clams, Sunray Venus clams and Coquinas.

One of its most recent and significant activity developments at the Shell Factory is its schedule of Flea-Market days. Every Tuesday, Thursday and, Saturday from sunrise until the heat of the day drives them away, you will find local people as well as, residents from all across the state, setting up tables and tents on reserved parts of the parking lots. They offer their personal goods, many interesting pieces and often, rare collectible items for sale to the public.

  • Miromar Factory Outlet Mall
  • Gulf Coast Town Center
  • Bell Tower
  • Coconut Pointe Town Center
  • Edison Mall
  • Fleamasters Flea Market

Eat[edit]

  • WhatsUp Dog, Downtown Fort Myers.
  • Plakka Greek Restaurant, Fort Myers Beach.
  • Hooters of Fort Myers, Fort Myers.
  • Sub and Pub, Downtown Fort Myers,open for lunch.
  • Siam Hut, Cape Coral Pkwy and Del Prado. Thai.
  • Bert's Bar, Matlacha.
  • Matanzas's Inn, Fort Myers Beach.
  • Parrot Key, Fort Myers Beach.
  • Blu Sushi, Fort Myers and Gulf Coast Town Center.
  • Capt'n Fishbones, North Fort Myers, across the main parking lot at The Shell Factory.

Drink[edit]

  • Spirits of Bacchus, Downtown Fort Myers
  • The Cigar Bar, Downtown Fort Myers and Gulf Coast Town Mall
  • Rivals Sports Kitchen, Miromar Factory Outlet Mall, Estero
  • Blu Sushi, Fort Myers and Gulf Coast Town Center (Estero)

Sleep[edit]

  • Best Western Springs Resort18051 South Tamiami Trail. Marketed as a "tropical hideaway with a unique natural warm mineral water springs." Onsite family restaurant and a poolside Tiki Bar.
  • Howard Johnson Inn4811 s Cleveland Avenue. Old motel located in the center.
  • Fort Myers Airport Hotel9401 Marketplace Road +1 239 454-0040. Located near the Southwest Florida International Airport and features complimentary wireless internet and breakfast buffet.

Stay safe[edit]

While Fort Myers is mostly safe, there are a few scattered neighborhoods, especially east and southeast of downtown, where it is wise to use a bit of caution, especially at night. The most reliable method of identifying what portions of the area are least safe is to consult the Lee County Sheriff Department. They provide Web services that graphically depict all of the high crime areas. Visitors will find that opinions not supported by statistics from the Lee County Chamber of Commerce or, Lee County Sheriff Department may not be based in fact. The Lee County Sheriff Department web-site address is: http://www.sheriffleefl.org/main/index.php?r=crimeActivity/index.

Go next[edit]

Routes through Fort Myers
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This city travel guide to Fort Myers has the status usable. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page
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