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Fort Myers

Trip Planner USA  /  Florida  /  Southwest Gulf Coast  /  Fort Myers
(3.9/5 based on 15,000+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: parks, shopping, wildlife areas
Fort Myers is the county seat and commercial center of Lee County, Florida. Fort Myers is a gateway to the Southwest Florida region and a major tourist destination within Florida. The winter homes of Thomas Edison ("Seminole Lodge") and Henry Ford ("The Mangoes") are a primary tourist attraction in the region. The city is named after Colonel Abraham Myers. The geographic statistical area is serviced by Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), located southeast of the city.HistoryFort Myers was one of the first forts built along the Caloosahatchee River as a base of operations against the Seminole Indians during the American Indian Wars. During the Seminole Wars, Fort Myers was a strategic location for its visibility and access to Atlantic waterways.After the Wars, Confederate blockade runners and cattle ranchers called Fort Myers home. These settlers prospered through trading with Seminole Indians and Union Soldiers.The settlement and founding of Fort MyersOn February 21, 1866, Manuel A. Gonzalez and his five-year-old son, Manuel S. Gonzalez, became the first permanent settlers of Fort Myers after arriving from Key West, Florida. Three weeks later, Joseph Vivas and his wife, Christianna Stirrup Vivas, arrived with Gonzalez's wife, Evalina Gonzalez, and daughter, Mary Gonzalez.
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