Fort Myers

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.



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.


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

By plane

Get around


Butterfly Estates



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.




Stay safe

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:

Go next

Routes through Fort Myers

Tampa Punta Gorda  N  S  Naples Miami
Tampa Punta Gorda  N  S  Naples Miami
END  W  E  LaBelle West Palm Beach

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