Fort Myers, Florida
|Fort Myers, Florida|
|— City —|
|City of Fort Myers|
|Nickname(s): "City of Palms"|
|Lee County, Florida|
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Founded||March 24, 1886|
|• Mayor||Randy Henderson, Jr.|
|• Total||48.98 sq mi (126.9 km2)|
|• Land||39.96 sq mi (103.5 km2)|
|• Water||9.02 sq mi (23.4 km2)|
|Elevation||10 ft (3 m)|
|• Density||1,559.1/sq mi (602.0/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0282700|
Established in 1886, Fort Myers is the historical and governmental hub of Lee County. It is the gateway to the Southwest Florida region, which is a major tourist destination in Florida. The winter homes of Thomas Edison (Seminole Lodge) and Henry Ford (The Mangoes), which are both primary tourist attractions in the region, are located on McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers.
On August 13, 2004, Fort Myers was struck 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.
Fort Myers was one of the first forts built along the Caloosahatchee River as a base of operations against the Seminole Indians. Fort Denaud, Fort Thompson, and Fort Dulany (Punta Rassa) all pre-date Fort Myers. When a hurricane destroyed Fort Dulany in October 1841, the military was forced to look for a site less exposed to storms from the Gulf of Mexico. As a result of the search, Fort Harvie was built on the grounds that now comprise downtown Fort Myers. Renewed war against the Seminoles in 1850 caused a re-occupation and extensive reconstruction of Fort Harvie.
Fort Harvie began in 1850 as a military fort in response to Seminole Indians who were in conflict with the area's settlers. It was renamed in 1850 for Col. Abraham C. Myers, who was stationed in Florida for seven years and was the son-in-law of the fort's founder and commander. In 1858, after years of elusive battle, Chief Billy Bowlegs and his warriors were persuaded to surrender and move west, and the fort was abandoned. Billy Creek, which flows into the Caloosahatchee River and runs between Dean Park and Fort Myers Broadcasting, was named after a temporary camp where Billy Bowlegs and his men awaited ships to take them west.
The fort was abandoned and stood empty until December 1863, when Union Army troops re-occupied it during the Civil War. On February 20, 1865, the fort was attacked by three companies of Florida militia, determined to end the Union cattle raids against local ranches. The Confederate state troops demanded the fort surrender, but the Union commander refused, and sporadic firing continued through most of the day. The Confederates retreated after dark. One Union soldier was killed and three wounded in the Battle of Fort Myers. One Florida militiaman had been wounded. Even though the attack had been driven off, the Union troops abandoned Fort Myers the following month.
The Settlement and Founding of The City of Fort Myers 
On February 21, 1866, Manuel A. Gonzalez and his 5 year old son Manuel S. Gonzalez became one of the first permanent settlers after arriving from Key West, Florida at the remains of the abandoned Federal Fort.   Manuel and his son made repairs on what would become the Gonzalez family home located at what is now the corner of First and Jackson streets. Three weeks later, Joseph Vivas and his wife Christianna Stirrup Vivas arrived at the Fort with Manuel A. Gonzalez's wife, Evalina Weatherford Gonzalez and daughter Mary Gonzalez., Three years later, however, when Fort Myers was incorporated, it was the second largest city after Tampa on Florida's west coast south of Cedar Key, larger than Clearwater and Sarasota, also growing cities at the time.
Fort Myers first became a nationally known winter resort with the building of the Royal Palm Hotel in 1898. Access was greatly improved with the opening of a 28-mile (45 km) extension of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad from Punta Gorda to Fort Myers on May 10, 1904, giving Lee County both passenger and freight service. But what really sparked the city's growth was the construction of the Tamiami Trail Bridge across the Caloosahatchee River in 1924. After the bridge's construction, the city experienced its first real estate boom, and many subdivisions sprouted around the city.
Geography and climate 
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.4 square miles (105 km2). 31.8 square miles (82 km2) of it is land, and 8.6 square miles (22 km2) of it (21.25%) is water.
Fort Myers has a year-round warm, monsoon-influenced climate that is close to the boundary between tropical and subtropical climates (18 °C (64 °F) in the coldest month), and is thus either classified as a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), which is the classification used by NOAA, or a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw). Notwithstanding the classification, the area has short, warm winters, and long, hot, humid summers, with most of the year's rainfall falling from June to September. At eighty-nine, Fort Myers leads the nation in the number of days annually in which a thunderstorm is close enough for thunder to be heard. Monthly averages range from 64.9 °F (18.3 °C) in January to 83.1 °F (28.4 °C) in August, with the annual average being 74.9 °F (23.8 °C). Records range from 25°F to 104°F.
|Climate data for Fort Myers, Florida (Page Field), 1981–2010 normals|
|Record high °F (°C)||90
|Average high °F (°C)||74.6
|Average low °F (°C)||53.5
|Record low °F (°C)||27
|Precipitation inches (mm)||1.89
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||5.5||5.2||6.2||4.2||6.8||16.0||17.6||17.9||15.4||6.8||4.4||4.5||110.5|
|Source: NOAA |
|Fort Myers Demographics|
|2010 Census||Fort Myers||Lee County||Florida|
|Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010||+29.2%||+40.3%||+17.6%|
|Population density||1,559.1/sq mi||788.7/sq mi||350.6/sq mi|
|White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)||54.6%||83.0%||75.0%|
|(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)||44.6%||71.0%||57.9%|
|Black or African-American||32.3%||8.3%||16.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||20.0%||18.3%||22.5%|
|Native American or Native Alaskan||0.6%||0.4%||0.4%|
|Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian||0.1%||0.1%||0.1%|
|Two or more races (Multiracial)||2.8%||2.1%||2.5%|
|Some Other Race||8.0%||4.7%||3.6%|
As of 2010, there were 35,138 households out of which 28.9% were vacant. In 2000, 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.3% were married couples living together, 18.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.8% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.10.
In 2000, the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.
As of 2000, English spoken as a first language accounted for 79.79% of all residents, while 20.20% spoke other languages as their mother tongue. The most significant were Spanish speakers who made up 12.99% of the population, while French Creole came up as the third most spoken language, which made up 3.46%, French was at fourth, with 1.68%, and also German at 0.55% of the population.
Fort Myers is governed by a six member city council. Each member is elected from a single member ward. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote. Policing of the city is by the Fort Myers Police Department.
Secondary schools 
See: Lee County School District for other public schools in the area.
- Secondary schools in the city include:
- Dunbar High School whose Science Olympiad teams won 15th place overall in the 2007 Florida State Science Olympiad, including a win in the remote sensing category.
- Fort Myers Senior High School, an International Baccalaureate school, is ranked as one of the best public schools in the nation by Newsweek magazine.
- Bishop Verot High School, a private, Roman Catholic high school in Ft. Myers, operated by the Diocese of Venice, Florida.
- Canterbury School, was founded in Fort Myers, Florida in 1964 as a private coeducational college preparatory institution which presently offers PreK3 through high school personally tailored instruction. Faculty and Administration support over 600 students who are dedicated to academic excellence, building of character, leadership, and community service. ALL graduates are accepted to four-year colleges or universities. The campus rests on 32 acres with 75% of students active in sports. The school's colors are blue and white with the Cougar as their mascot - "Go Cougars!"
Higher education 
Institutions of higher learning in the city include:
- Hodges University
- Keiser University
- Nova Southeastern University
- Rasmussen College
- Southwest Florida College
Boston Red Sox 
Former Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Greenwell is from Fort Myers, and was instrumental in bringing his team to the city for spring training. City of Palms Park was built in 1992 for that purpose and holds 8,000 people. A cross-town rivalry has developed with the Minnesota Twins, who conduct their spring training at Hammond Stadium in south Lee County, which has a capacity of 7,500 and opened in 1991.
The Red Sox's lease with Fort Myers runs through 2019, but the Red Sox were considering exercising the early out in their contract that would have allowed them to leave following the 2009 spring season. Chief operating officer Mike Dee met with Sarasota officials on April 25, 2008 to discuss the possibility of the Red Sox moving to Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium once its current spring inhabitants, the Cincinnati Reds, move to their new spring home in Goodyear, Arizona. Representatives of the Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers have also met with officials from Sarasota.
On October 28, 2008, the Lee County commission voted 3-1 to approve an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to build a new spring-training facility for the team in south Lee County. Commissioner Brian Bigelow was the lone dissenting vote. Commissioner Bob Janes was not present for the vote, but stated that he supported it.
The new stadium, named jetBlue Park at Fenway South, is located off of Daniels Parkway near the former entrance to Southwest Florida International Airport and the community of Gateway. It opened in time for the 2012 Spring training season.
County officials have talked for months about the possibility of securing another team for City of Palms. The Washington Nationals moving to the park is currently a possibility, and negotiations are currently underway. Terry Park Ballfield (also known as the Park T. Pigott Memorial Stadium) in East Fort Myers is also not currently in use by a Major League Baseball team, though it is the former home of the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals.
City of Palms Classic 
The City of Palms Classic is an annual high school basketball tournament held in Fort Myers, Florida.
Points of interest 
- Art of the Olympians Museum
- The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is a private, not-for-profit, environmental education organization. Set on a 105-acre (0.42 km2) site, it has a museum, three nature trails, a planetarium, butterfly and bird aviaries, a gift shop and meeting and picnic areas.
- City of Palms Park, home of the Boston Red Sox spring training program, close to downtown Fort Myers. It is also home to the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.
- Edison and Ford Winter Estates
- Edison Mall
- Gulf Coast Town Center
- Historic Downtown, waterfront entertainment district
- Historic Downtown Fort Myers Art Walk
- Murphy-Burroughs House
The News-Press, a daily newspaper owned by Gannett, has served the area since 1884.
Unmarked graves 
In March 2007, the remains of eight people were found in a wooded area in Fort Myers, leading to an ongoing investigation for a possible serial killer. So far three of the victims have been identified (using DNA) as Erik Kohler, John James Tihay and John Blevins. Derek C. Gair was briefly considered a suspect in early 2008. This case has also been profiled on America's Most Wanted.
Crime statistics 
The crime rates per 100,000 people for the Ft. Myers/Cape Coral MSA were :
|Crime||Cape Coral-Fort Myers MSA crime rate||U.S. National Average|
|Motor Vehicle Theft||247.0||314.7|
Notable people 
- Nate Allen, safety for the Philadelphia Eagles
- Jason Bartlett – Tampa Bay Rays shortstop
- Bob Beamon - former track and field athlete in the 1968 Summer Olympics
- Bert Blyleven – Hall of Fame pitcher for the Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and California Angels.
- Phillip Buchanon – Cornerback for the Washington Redskins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders
- Stacy Carter – former WWE wrestler
- Terrence Cody – nose tackle for Baltimore Ravens
- Casey Coleman (baseball) - pitcher for the Chicago Cubs 
- Bill Davey – professional bodybuilder
- Noel Devine – running back at West Virginia University
- Richard Fain - former NFL Player
- Earnest Graham – NFL running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Mike Greenwell – former Boston Red Sox left fielder and former NASCAR driver
- Mario Henderson – offensive tackle, Oakland Raiders
- Nolan Henke – professional golfer
- Anthony Henry – cornerback, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland Browns
- Sara Hildebrand – United States Olympic diver (2000, 2004)
- Adam Johnson - former pitcher for the Minnesota Twins
- Jevon Kearse – defensive end, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans (current team)
- Terri Kimball – Playboy Playmate of the Month for May 1964
- Derek Lamely - professional golfer.
- Craig Leon – music and visual producer of the Ramones, Blondie, Luciano Pavarotti, Joshua Bell
- George McNeill- Professional golfer
- Terry-Jo Myers- golfer. Winner of three LPGA Tour tournaments
- Seth Petruzelli – professional MMA fighter
- Plies (Algernod Lanier Washington) – American rapper
- Deion Sanders – Hall of Fame NFL cornerback for six teams inducted to the NFL Hall of Fame as a Dallas Cowboy, and Major League Baseball outfielder for five teams
- Peggy Schoolcraft – Professional bodybuilder. 1997 NPC Team Universe Champion
- Vonzell Solomon – American Idol 3rd-place finisher
- Greg Spires- former NFL player
- Elissa Steamer – professional skateboarder
- Sammy Watkins - wide receiver for the Clemson Tigers
- Tommy Watkins – former Minnesota Twins player
- Jeremy Ware- cornerback for the Oakland Raiders
- Walt Wesley – professional basketball player (1966–1976): Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Capital Bullets, Milwaukee Bucks, Cincinnati Royals
- Cliff Williams – bass player for AC/DC
- Julio Zuleta – former first baseman for the Chicago Cubs
- Verna Aardema - Children's book author
- Thomas Edison – Improved and perfected the incandescent light bulb and audio recording methods, had a winter estate next to Henry Ford
- Henry Ford – Founded the Ford Motor Company, and father of the assembly line, had a winter estate next to Thomas Edison
- Harvey Firestone – Founder of Firestone Tire Company, had a winter estate near Edison and Ford's homes.
- Patty Berg – Groundbreaking LPGA member
- Charles Ghigna – poet and children's author known as "Father Goose;" boyhood home 1950-1973
- Denise Masino – Professional bodybuilder
- Mindy McCready – country music artist
- Kimberly Page – Former member of the WCW Nitro Girls and Playboy model.
- Diamond Dallas Page – Former WCW and WWE wrestler, actor.
- Marius Russo- Baseball player. Played for the New York Yankees from 1939–43 and 1946.
- Jerry Lawler – WWE wrestler and announcer
- Gerard Damiano – Adult film director
Fort Myers in popular culture 
- The abandoned city scene from the 1985 movie Day of the Dead was filmed in downtown Fort Myers.
- Some courthouse and other "city" scenes in Just Cause were filmed in downtown Ft. Myers.
- The 1999 independent film Trans was filmed in Fort Myers, Florida.
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- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "American FactFinder2". Census.gov. Retrieved April 29, 2011.
- Turner, Gregg M., "A Journey Into Florida Railroad History", University Press of Florida, Library of Congress card number 2007050375, ISBN 978-0-8130-3233-7, page 156.
- "Köppen Climate Classification Map:". Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, Department of Climate Science. Retrieved 2008-10-25.
- "Weather Variety - Annual Days With Thunderstorms". Weatherpages.com. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
- "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
- "Census Of Population And Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-19.
- Modern Language Association Data Center Results of Fort Myers, Florida.
- 2007 Scores. Dunbar is also Home to the First Ever Microsoft Certified High School in the world..
- America's Top Public High Schools | Newsweek Best High Schools | Newsweek.com
- "Keiser University- Ft. Myers". Keiser University. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- "NSU Campus info". Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- "Rasmussen College- Ft. Myers campus". Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- "Lee County commissioners approve Red Sox agreement". Retrieved 2008-10-29.
- "Lee County requests permission to enter into negotiations with Nationals about new spring home, Washington Times". Retrieved 2012-03-22.
- "Art of the Olympians". Art of the Olympians. 2011-03-05. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
- "Welcome to Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium". Calusanature.com. Retrieved 2012-06-12.
- "Bone investigation solves 1 mystery, opens another". CNN. January 10, 2008. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- [dead link]
- "Fugitives | Unknown Fort Myers Eight Killer | Brief". AMW. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- FBI crime rate tables by MSA (2008)
- FBI crime rate tables (2008)
- "Broadcasters | twinsbaseball.com: Team". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- Nobles, Charlie (November 27, 2001). "COLLEGES; Hurricanes' Buchanon Might Be the Best of the Best". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
- Lawler, Jerry (2002). It's Good to be the King...Sometimes. World Wrestling Entertainment. ISBN 978-0-7434-5768-2.
- "'Bama's mountain of a nosetackle: 365-pound Terrence Cody". CNN. September 25, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
- "Casey Coleman Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- "Pro Profiles - Bill Davey Pro Bodybuilding Profile". Bodybuilders.com. 1966-07-20. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- Peek into inner circle shows Noel Devine's no deviant, August 28, 2006
- By Mark Aumann, NASCAR.COM (2006-05-17). "Ex-ballplayer Greenwell to make Truck debut - May 17, 2006". Nascar.Com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- "Mario Henderson". Nfl.com. 1984-10-29. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- "Nolan Henke - Golf - CBSSports.com PGA". Cbssports.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- Hildebrand Hired as First Diving Coach at Florida Gulf Coast, August 31, 2006
- "Smesko announces signings of transfers » Naples Daily News". Naplesnews.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- Adam Johnson MLB RHP Stats & P4x4 Boggerpress Champion!
- "Freak Of Nature". CNN. August 28, 2000. Retrieved April 2, 2010.
- "Terri Kimball - Terri Kimball Nude - Terri Kimball Pics". Playboy.com. 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- "Derek Lamely". PGA Tour. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
- LPGA Tour profile for Terry-Jo Myers
- Wetzel, Dan. "Final curtain for the Kimbo show - UFC - Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- "Warner Music Canada - Plies". Warnermusic.ca. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- "ESPN.com: Where Sanders goes, teams win". Espn.go.com. 1967-08-09. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- "Peggy Schoolcraft IFBB Pro Bodybuilder". Bodybuilding.com. October 9, 2002. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "2001 Ms. International results". Getbig.com. March 2, 2001. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Vonzell Solomon". American Idol. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- By Lisa Winston / MLB.com (2010-02-15). "Article | MiLB.com News | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball". Web.minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- Jermy Ware Jeremy Ware NFL & AFL Football Statistics
- "Walt Wesley NBA & ABA Statistics". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- "Florida: Edison Pageant of Light (Local Legacies: Celebrating Community Roots - Library of Congress)". Lcweb2.loc.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- "Lee". Sao.cjis20.org. Retrieved 2010-07-29.
- "Singer Mindy McCready taken into custody". USA Today. July 26, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
- Day of the Dead (1985) - Filming locations
- Day of the Dead Locations - Fort Myers, Florida
- Just Cause, IMDB
- Trans (1998), IMDB
|Find more about Fort Myers, Florida at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
|Travel guide from Wikivoyage|
- City of Fort Myers
- Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau
- Fort Myers Economy at a Glance, U.S. Department of Labor
- Ft. Myers River District
- Art Walk