Cape Coral is a place where one can sell, buy, make and live their dreams. This master-planned city, the largest between Tampa and Miami, can hardly be remembered as a rural area dotted with cattle farms and an abundance of wildlife and birds. The city is well known for its friendly atmosphere, spectacular canal system, numerous parks, and beautiful beaches. However, due to absence of historical landmarks, we find ourselves lacking any comprehensive historical depictions regarding the early city life.
When we talk about a city’s culture and heritage, it’s often best to ponder over the origins of the dwelling as it gives us a brief look at the history and how days were spent back in the past. Here is a timeline which is somewhat accurate by the accounts by the oldest dwellers of the area.
Historical Time Line
There is always a portion in history that gives you the look of ‘Land before Time’ and for Cape Coral it would that the ‘Calusas’ where those who existed in that period. Long before this land was even known by the outside world, this tribe of ‘fierce people’, sometimes known as ‘Shell Indians’ were warlike and an unfriendly community. They were tall and strong, and excellent sailors and swimmers, and possibly also the first collectors of shells in those days as well.
- 1513 — The Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon discovered Florida
- 1821 — The land of Redfish Point deeded in favor of US by Spain in return of forgiving $5 million debt.
- 1822 — Dwellers along with runaway slaves (harbored by the Seminoles), start to flood in the area.
The Seminole Wars also known as Florida Wars were fought between the US military against Native Americans and African Americans settled in the area in the 18th Century. (For more info visit Seminole Wars.)
- 1845 — Florida becomes a state.
- 1862 — Homestead Act, land sold to various individuals and companies including the Matlacha Cattle Company.
- 1910 — Franklin Miles of Miles Laboratory and Alka Seltzer fame bought some of the land to farm vegetables and for hunting: ducks, wild turkeys, wild hogs, and deer. Cape Coral comes to be known as ‘the other side of the river’ or ‘Hungryland’
- 1925 — Pine Island road and surrounding areas deemed as a harsh, wild and too much desolated to live in.
- 1956 — The Baltimore brothers: Leonard and Jack Rosen flew over the Caloosahatchee River, deciding to fix Redfish Point in a manner ‘so it won’t know what hit it’.
The Rosens bought the land for $678,000 from Ogden Phipps, Franklin Miles, and Granville Keller to settle their new company by the name of ‘Gulf Guaranty Land & Title Company,’ which would later become the ‘Gulf American Land Corporation’ and change Cape Coral’s history forever.
What followed next was nothing short of the term ‘spectacular’ as development paced in and out of booms and bursts. The first ever building was the Rosen’s sales office, on Coronado Parkway right where George’s Auto now stands. Furthermore, people started rushing into the area, making way for further development. Canals were dug, Cape Coral Bridge was built, the Yacht Club, and various other clubs and golf courses were constructed.
Like a child eager to run after it has learned to walk, Cape Coral sought the sky as soon as it began to crawl. This city now stands rightly as one of the most beautiful and well-planned dwellings on earth, a ‘Waterfront Wonderland’.
For more Cultural and Natural Heritage regarding this beautiful city that makes it dwellers think as if they are on a lifelong vacation, one can visit the following places in Cape Coral:
- Cape Coral Historical Museum at 544 Cultural Park Boulevard
- Cultural Park Theatre at 528 Cultural Park Boulevard
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