Golden Gate is the buffer between what people come to Florida for today and what the pioneers came to Florida for over a century ago. Centered between these times arose the 2nd land boom. If you do nothing else, remember the names Julius "Jack" Rosen and his brother Leonard Rosen. Naples has two diverse types of wildlife. That of music, dining, dancing and that of swamp, alligator, panther, coyote and black bear. Your choice is simple in Collier County, head West for the former and East for the latter.
In the late 1950's Gulf American Land Corporation bought 175 square miles of swamp land. Paying about $100 per acre it was platted into 1.25 acre sites in 1960. During the next seven years they would sell you a lot for $30 down and $30 a month at 6.5% interest which netted the Rosen brothers about $900 an acre. There wee some minor expenses incurred such as 800 miles of road construction and 180 miles of canals had to be dug. The canals came first because in these days the majority of properties were in reality, underwater. Road construction was not as you would expect either. Essentially a limestone based shell rock surface with minimal grading involved. By 1967 about 18,000 lots had been sold and most sight unseen by their Buyers.
The 70's brought new concerns and attention to the area as drug smugglers would fly in and land on roads of this unincorporated area. It's been reported that DC-3's would regularly drop off their wares and depart virtually unnoticed. The County also came to the realization that it could not support a population if the development was built out and ruled to double the minimum required lot to be 2.5 acres.
Golden Gate Estates neighbors include the Everglades National Park, the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and the Big Cypress National Preserve. That sounds so much better than Big Cypress Swamp, doesn't it? Because I have a huge interest in backpacking, kayaking, hiking and camping, having these neighbors in our backyard is much appreciated. The State continues to purchase some of the land and has accumulated about 20,000 acres in it's quest. Another 20,000 acres is privately held but there's 114,000 acres in total here. It be some time before any two legged neighbors begin to make you feel boxed in here.
Today, Golden Gate is about 75% depopulated and had taken about that same percentage drop in values during the burst of the bubble. Unbelievable homes are scattered throughout the development with 10,000 square feet of living space on 40 acre sites priced well below $2,000,000. I recently had my eye on a unique 12 acre parcel with a 4,000 square foot home priced below $300,000. The only downfall would be that my commute to the office and downtown would increase tenfold, from 5 to 50 minutes during season. I am continuously watching though.
The Rosen's have made millions in Cape Coral, Lake Wales, Golden Gate and more places across the Country with land scams. Their activity included more than 500,000 acres of raw land sales. They weren't the only ones either. North of Golden Gate lies Lehigh Acres in Lee County where the likes of Lee Ratner and Gerald Gould perfected their dastardly deeds on unsuspecting Buyers around the same time as the Rosen's. Imagine a quarter acre for $10 down and $10 a month. Driving there today is like passing through the World's Largest Ghost Town. The damage is already done! Lehigh Acres was nationally recognized as leader in foreclosures in the recent past.
COME TO FLORIDA AND BUY SOME LAND!