Cape Coral History

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Information for Florida Vacations in Cape Coral

The Calusa Indians are the most famous of the Native Americans who called this area home, living throughout southwest Florida for thousands of years. They built large kitchen middens to cook the seafood they caught. These same mounds would later be used as high ground for the homes that the early pioneer families built. Throughout the 1700s, small bands of Creek Indians made their way south to Florida's fertile farmlands and game-filled forests. These breakaway groups joined with escaped slaves and other Indians to forge a new identity in Florida known as the Seminole.

About Cape Coral | Cape Coral History

From 1835 to 1842 the vastly outnumbered Seminole Indians fought the U.S. Army to a stalemate in the longest and bloodiest Indian war in U.S. history. Seminole Chief Billy Bowlegs refused to move West in 1842 following the Second Seminole War. In December, 1855, army surveyors from Fort Myers injured crops on Bowleg's plantation, beginning the Third Seminole War. He surrendered after three years when his people were promised financial aid. The few surviving Seminole retreated deep into the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp where they developed a culture suited to the climate and terrain of south Florida.

In 1872, the land along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and across from Fort Myers was opened to homesteading.  John Powell and his family were the first white settles to move to the area, which at that time was known as New Prospect.  Throughout the decades, the area remained the same, a handful of settlers working the land for a living.  It was a hard life and settlers came and went, with only a few residing for more than a few years.

The Rosen brothers, Jack and Leonard, from Baltimore, Maryland purchased the property that was to become Cape Coral on a peninsula formed by the Caloosahatchee river on the east and the Matlacha Pass on the west. The brothers laid out the community and created more than 400 miles of canals. The Census Bureau reports Cape Coral is the 3rd largest city by land mass, with an area of 115 square miles. The brothers initiated a massive marketing campaign throughout the United States that resulted in the sale of nearly all of the 350,000 residential building sites, with the majority of the sales going to people from other states.



















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