Fort Myers, Florida

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Fort Myers, Florida
City
City of Fort Myers
Skyline of Fort Myers
Skyline of Fort Myers
Nickname(s): "City of Palms"
Location in Lee County, Florida
Location in Lee County, Florida
U.S. Census Bureau map showing city limits
U.S. Census Bureau map showing city limits
Coordinates: 26°37′N 81°50′W / 26.617°N 81.833°W / 26.617; -81.833Coordinates: 26°37′N 81°50′W / 26.617°N 81.833°W / 26.617; -81.833[1]
Country United States
State Florida
County Lee
Founded March 24, 1886
Government
 • Type Council–manager
 • Mayor Randy Henderson, Jr.
Area[1]
 • 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[2] 10 ft (3 m)
Population (2012)[3]
 • Total 65,725
 • Density 2,065/sq mi (797/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code(s) 33900-33999
Area code(s) 239
FIPS code 12-24125[3]
GNIS feature ID 0282700[2]
Website www.cityftmyers.com

Fort Myers is the county seat[4] and commercial center of Lee County, Florida, United States. Its population was 62,298 in the 2010 census,[5] a 29.23 percent increase over the 2000 figure.

The city is one of two major cities that make up the Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan Statistical Area, the other being Cape Coral. The 2010 population for the metropolitan area was 618,754.[5]

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 in Fort Myers and its southern suburbs.

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) is located southeast of the city in South Fort Myers, near Gateway and Lehigh Acres.

History[edit]

Typical style architecture throughout Downtown Fort Myers. The streets are largely paved brick as well.

Fort Myers was one of the first forts built along the Caloosahatchee River and was 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,[6] who was stationed in Florida for seven years and was the son-in-law of the fort's founder and commander.

"Much more than an attack-resistant building, in its heyday, Fort Myers could be more accurately described as a military base — a sophisticated 50-acre complex that housed hundreds of people. An 1864 map shows it stretching roughly from the foot of the U.S. 41 bridge to Fowler Street between First and Second streets, with a 1,000-foot pier at the foot of Hendry Street. It boasted a hospital, bowling alley, stables, blacksmith shop and bakery plus housing for officers, company men and laundresses."[7]

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[edit]

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.[7][8] 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.[7] 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.,[7][8] 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, which were 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.[9] 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 railroad service.[10] But what really sparked the city's growth was the construction of the Tamiami Trail Bridge in 1924 that spanned the Caloosahatchee River and connected the riverfront hamlet of Fort Myers with the northern extension of the then still fledgling system of roads that became known as the "Tamiami Trail." In the decade following the bridge's construction, the city experienced its first real estate boom, spawned by a construction spurt that produced several new housing subdivisions around the city.[citation needed]

Geography and climate[edit]

Fort Myers and Cape Coral from space, July 1997.

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,[11][12] or a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw).[13] Fort Myers has short, warm winters, and long, hot, humid summers, with most of the year's rainfall falling from June to September. The temperature rarely rises to 100 °F (38 °C) or lowers to the freezing mark.[14] At 89, Fort Myers leads the nation in the number of days annually in which a thunderstorm is close enough for thunder to be heard.[15] The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 64.2 °F (17.9 °C) in January to 83.4 °F (28.6 °C) in August, with the annual mean being 75.1 °F (23.9 °C). Records range from 24 °F (−4 °C) on December 29, 1894 up to 103 °F (39 °C) on June 16–17, 1981.[14]

Climate data for Fort Myers, Florida (Page Field), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 90
(32)
92
(33)
93
(34)
96
(36)
99
(37)
103
(39)
101
(38)
100
(38)
98
(37)
95
(35)
95
(35)
90
(32)
103
(39)
Average high °F (°C) 74.7
(23.7)
77.2
(25.1)
80.4
(26.9)
84.6
(29.2)
89.4
(31.9)
91.5
(33.1)
91.9
(33.3)
91.8
(33.2)
90.5
(32.5)
86.7
(30.4)
81.3
(27.4)
76.6
(24.8)
84.7
(29.3)
Average low °F (°C) 53.7
(12.1)
55.9
(13.3)
59.4
(15.2)
63.1
(17.3)
68.7
(20.4)
73.5
(23.1)
74.5
(23.6)
74.9
(23.8)
74.3
(23.5)
69.1
(20.6)
62.0
(16.7)
56.4
(13.6)
65.5
(18.6)
Record low °F (°C) 27
(−3)
27
(−3)
33
(1)
39
(4)
50
(10)
58
(14)
66
(19)
65
(18)
63
(17)
45
(7)
34
(1)
24
(−4)
24
(−4)
Rainfall inches (mm) 1.89
(48)
2.13
(54.1)
2.84
(72.1)
2.02
(51.3)
2.72
(69.1)
10.28
(261.1)
9.14
(232.2)
10.21
(259.3)
8.55
(217.2)
2.67
(67.8)
1.92
(48.8)
1.69
(42.9)
56.06
(1,423.9)
Avg. rainy 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 (extremes 1892–present)[14]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 575
1900 943 64.0%
1910 2,463 161.2%
1920 3,678 49.3%
1930 9,082 146.9%
1940 10,604 16.8%
1950 13,195 24.4%
1960 22,523 70.7%
1970 27,351 21.4%
1980 36,638 34.0%
1990 45,206 23.4%
2000 48,208 6.6%
2010 62,298 29.2%
source:[16]
Fort Myers Demographics
2010 Census Fort Myers Lee County Florida
Total population 62,298 618,754 18,801,310
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
(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian) 30.6% 53.9% 57.9%
Black or African-American 39.3% 18.3% 16.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 32.0% 20.4% 22.5%
Asian 1.6% 1.4% 2.4%
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.

Languages[edit]

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 Haitian 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.[17]

Government[edit]

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.

Education[edit]

Secondary schools[edit]

Bishop Verot Catholic High School

See: Lee County School District for other public schools in the area.

Secondary schools in the city include:

Higher education[edit]

for schools located outside of the city, see Lee County, Florida#Education

Institutions of higher learning in the city include:

Sports[edit]

City of Palms Classic[edit]

The City of Palms Classic is an annual high school basketball tournament held in Fort Myers, Florida, since 1973. Several of its alumni have made it to the NBA.

Points of interest[edit]

Edison Theater in the Historic Downtown Fort Myers, FL.
Murphy-Burroughs House

Media[edit]

The metro area has TV broadcasting stations that serve the Fort Myers-Naples Designated Market Area (DMA) as defined by Nielsen Media Research.

The News-Press, a daily newspaper owned by Gannett, has served the area since 1884.

Crime[edit]

Crime statistics[edit]

The crime rates per 100,000 people for the Ft. Myers/Cape Coral MSA were :

Crime Cape Coral-Fort Myers MSA crime rate[24] U.S. National Average[25]
Murder 7.6 5.4
Rape 26.0 29.3
Robbery 128.2 145.3
Assault 307.0 274.6
Burglary 1025.5 730.8
Theft 2236.6 2167.0
Motor Vehicle Theft 247.0 314.7

Notable people[edit]

Fort Myers has experienced steady population growth.

Present[edit]

Past[edit]

The Mangoes: Henry Ford's Winter home

Public Transportation[edit]

Buses run by LeeTran provide local service in Fort Myers. [56]

Fort Myers in popular culture[edit]

In film[edit]

  • The abandoned city scene with the Edison Theatre, from the movie Day of the Dead (1985) was filmed in downtown Fort Myers.[57]
  • Some courthouse and other "city" scenes in Just Cause (1995) were filmed in downtown Ft. Myers and the beach scenes was filmed in Sanibel, Florida.[58]
  • Part of the independent film Trans (1999) was filmed in Fort Myers, Florida.[59]

In print[edit]

  • Fort Myers is part of the setting of Red Grass River: A Legend (1998), an award-winning novel by James Carlos Blake[60]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  2. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder2". Census.gov. Retrieved April 29, 2011. 
  6. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 129. 
  7. ^ a b c d http://www.news-press.com/article/20120605/NEWS0110/306050003/Exclusive-History-uncovered-along-Fort-Myers-riverfront
  8. ^ a b http://www.news-press.com/article/20090729/SS23/907290395/Influential-local-Capt-Manuel-Gonzalez
  9. ^ Photo
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/documentlibrary/ewdcd/ewdstations-wmo.pdf
  12. ^ It should be noted the NOAA document used classifies locations as warm as Newport News, Virginia as "continental", but areas with drastically more extreme climates, such as Wichita, Kansas as "sub-tropical".
  13. ^ "Köppen Climate Classification Map:". Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, Department of Climate Science. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  14. ^ a b c "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  15. ^ "Weather Variety - Annual Days With Thunderstorms". Weatherpages.com. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  16. ^ "Census Of Population And Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  17. ^ Modern Language Association Data Center Results of Fort Myers, Florida.
  18. ^ 2007 Scores. Dunbar is also Home to the First Ever Microsoft Certified High School in the world..
  19. ^ America's Top Public High Schools | Newsweek Best High Schools | Newsweek.com
  20. ^ "Keiser University- Ft. Myers". Keiser University. Retrieved 3 April 2010. 
  21. ^ "NSU Campus info". Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "Rasmussen College- Ft. Myers campus". Retrieved 25 June 2010. 
  23. ^ "Welcome to Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium". Calusanature.com. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  24. ^ FBI crime rate tables by MSA (2008)
  25. ^ FBI crime rate tables (2008)
  26. ^ "Broadcasters | twinsbaseball.com: Team". Mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  27. ^ Nobles, Charlie (November 27, 2001). "COLLEGES; Hurricanes' Buchanon Might Be the Best of the Best". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  28. ^ a b Lawler, Jerry (2002). It's Good to be the King...Sometimes. World Wrestling Entertainment. ISBN 978-0-7434-5768-2. 
  29. ^ "'Bama's mountain of a nosetackle: 365-pound Terrence Cody". CNN. September 25, 2008. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Casey Coleman Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved November 26, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Pro Profiles - Bill Davey Pro Bodybuilding Profile". Bodybuilders.com. 1966-07-20. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  32. ^ Peek into inner circle shows Noel Devine's no deviant, August 28, 2006
  33. ^ By Mark Aumann, NASCAR.COM (2006-05-17). "Ex-ballplayer Greenwell to make Truck debut - May 17, 2006". Nascar.Com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  34. ^ "Mario Henderson". Nfl.com. 1984-10-29. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  35. ^ "Nolan Henke - Golf - CBSSports.com PGA". Cbssports.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  36. ^ Hildebrand Hired as First Diving Coach at Florida Gulf Coast, August 31, 2006
  37. ^ "Smesko announces signings of transfers » Naples Daily News". Naplesnews.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  38. ^ Adam Johnson MLB RHP Stats & P4x4 Boggerpress Champion!
  39. ^ "Freak Of Nature". CNN. August 28, 2000. Retrieved April 2, 2010. 
  40. ^ "Terri Kimball - Terri Kimball Nude - Terri Kimball Pics". Playboy.com. 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  41. ^ "Derek Lamely". PGA Tour. Retrieved November 26, 2012. 
  42. ^ LPGA Tour profile for Terry-Jo Myers
  43. ^ Wetzel, Dan. "Final curtain for the Kimbo show - UFC - Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  44. ^ "Warner Music Canada - Plies". Warnermusic.ca. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  45. ^ "ESPN.com: Where Sanders goes, teams win". Espn.go.com. 1967-08-09. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  46. ^ "Peggy Schoolcraft IFBB Pro Bodybuilder". Bodybuilding.com. October 9, 2002. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  47. ^ "2001 Ms. International results". Getbig.com. March 2, 2001. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  48. ^ "Vonzell Solomon". American Idol. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  49. ^ In-Spires
  50. ^ 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. 
  51. ^ Jermy Ware Jeremy Ware NFL & AFL Football Statistics
  52. ^ "Walt Wesley NBA & ABA Statistics". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  53. ^ "Florida: Edison Pageant of Light (Local Legacies: Celebrating Community Roots - Library of Congress)". Lcweb2.loc.gov. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  54. ^ "Lee". Sao.cjis20.org. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  55. ^ "Singer Mindy McCready taken into custody". USA Today. July 26, 2007. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  56. ^ http://www.rideleetran.com/routeSchedules.htm
  57. ^ Stetson, Nancy (September 7, 2011). "STARRING SW FLORIDA". Florida Weekly. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  58. ^ Production Credits - Fort Myers & Sanibel
  59. ^ Filmed in Fort Myers - Film Fort Myers
  60. ^ James Carlos Blake (1998). Red Grass River: A Legend. New York: Avon. 

External links[edit]