The popularity of Fort Myers Seashore as a sleepy seaside group belies its unique roots as dwelling to Indians and numerous adventurers. A few of its tumultuous historical past contains the unlikely mixture of pirates, homesteaders, and mosquitoes. Right this moment, Estero Island and its sister island, San Carlos, make up the group of Fort Myers Seashore.
Estero Island was as soon as the middle of the Caloosa Indian heartland. This geologically younger barrier island was shaped effectively after the Earth’s final ice age. Previous to the arrival of the white man, the Caloosa Indians used most of the Florida West Coast islands as their looking and fishing grounds. “Shell Mounds,” or the stays of their meals and group particles, mark Estero Island and different key landmarks round Fort Myers Seashore.
Historians agree that Juan Ponce de Leon and his males have been the primary to see Florida and gave the plush state its title within the early 1500s. They have been adopted by numerous different European explorers looking for their fortune. The Caloosas bitterly resisted these arrivals. In 1566, a fortune hunter named Menendez landed close to their looking grounds on the seaside and killed King Carlos, the Chief of the Caloosas, and 20 of his males. It’s from this occasion that the title “Carlos” dominates a lot of the West Coast nomenclature, together with Carlos Bay, Carlos Cross, and San Carlos Island. The Caloosas’ origins stay shrouded in thriller however some students consider they might have traveled by rafts from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Finally, they met their demise from most of the ailments the European explorers introduced with them, together with measles.
Explorers weren’t the one sailors frequenting the Western Coast. Through the 1870s, pirates dominated alongside the shores of Black Island. After defeat by the US Navy, a famend pirate by the title of Black Augustus (for whom the island was later named), took his loot and settled on the island. The household of John Butterfield squatted on Mound Key in Estero Bay throughout that point, offering the getting old pirate with sugar, espresso and different luxuries in trade for greens. When the pirate lastly died, legend has it he repaid the Butterfield household by exhibiting them the place to dig for treasure. Rumors of forgotten and still-buried treasures abound.
The Sam Ellis household was the primary white household to remain on Estero Island on the Shell Mound on the Bay throughout the late 1870s. Quite than settling completely, they later moved to Sanibel the place they homesteaded a tract of land on the head of Tarpon Bay. Lots of the “homesteaders” who filed the unique patents did not settle completely due to the difficulties in battling storms and ensuing crop points. In truth, in 1899, a freeze hit Florida with temperatures as little as two beneath zero in Tallahassee, killing timber, oranges and different fledgling crops. It was so chilly within the Western a part of Florida, legend has it, that hundreds of chilled migratory birds fell out of the sky to freeze on the bottom.
The final homesteader to stake his declare on Estero Island in 1914 was Leroy Lemoreaux, who cleared his land and survived by rising greens and fishing. In a number of historic tracts, Lemoreaux muses over which was the worst predator – the bears and panthers who stalked the island — or the deadly mosquitoes clouding the air. Within the 1890s, the one weapon in opposition to marauding mosquitoes was smoke. This was all earlier than the time when a bridge linked the island to the mainland of the Fort Myers space. In 1921, the primary bridge constructed was a picket swing bridge which charged 50 cents for 5 individuals. The 1926 hurricane washed it means and severed the neck of land attaching San Carlos to the mainland, rendering it an island. Right this moment it is nonetheless known as Hurricane Cross.
Through the World Warfare II years, the expansion throughout Florida flattened, however by the early Fifties, the world “caught on” once more. Fort Myers Seashore grew as extra of a everlasting vacation spot than a guests’ cease. Vacationers have been sluggish to find Fort Myers Seashore because it was on the finish of the street, and never significantly effectively lit. There have been no motels though inns existed and a number of other cottage courts flourished. It is solely been not too long ago that the Seashore has been “rediscovered” as gentrification tasks and new buying and eating websites open. A terrific supply of satisfaction to the world are the deeply rooted Fourth of July and Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet celebrations. For numerous years, the Seashore was the location of the one main fireworks present within the county. In cooler climate in March, the group celebrates the blessing of the fleet with every week lengthy Shrimp competition, together with many particular dishes primarily based on the favored “pink gold” shrimp.