Fort Myers is located in the southwest region of Florida, and it is tourist hotspot for many reasons, including its beautiful beaches.
Fort Myers Population and Economy
The city’s economy is centered on the retail, healthcare and accommodation industries. Over 80% of adults in the city have graduated from high school, while nearly one-quarter have a college education.
Fort Myers Population Growth
Fort Myers has seen incredible growth to its population throughout its history. A community of just 575 people at the time of the 1890 census bounced to over 2,400 residents in 1910. By the 1940 census, the city had over 10,000 residents, more than doubling this number in 1960. Recent estimates show that the city is still on the upward trajectory, with a population growth of almost 24% since the 2010 census. With these growth rates, the city is well on its way to reaching 100,000 residents soon.
During the American Indian Wars in the 1830s, the U.S. built Fort Myers as a base against the Seminole Indians. The founding of the city did not occur until after the Civil War. It was founded in 1866 by Manuel Gonzalez. Gonzalez became familiar with the area while delivering mail and supplies to the fort, and when it was abandoned later, he returned with his wife and child, along with his friend and his family.
The first trading post was established near the old fort. Goods including tobacco and gun powder were traded with the Seminole tribe. It was during this time that a community began to form, although it stayed quite small.
The late 19th century would bring about more significant growth. People that resided in the northern states were traveling to Florida during the winter months. The town had reached a total population of just 349 in 1885, the year that it was incorporated. In 1898, the Royal Palm Hotel was built, attracting tourists during the winter. The city continued to flourish as the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad offered greater access in the early 1900s. Development continued in the growing area, including the construction of the Arcade Theater in 1908.
It was during the 1920s that the Edison Botanic Research Corporation was established in Fort Myers. This facility was used by resident Thomas Alva Edison to research exotic trees and plants. Another famous resident was Henry Ford, known for Ford automobiles, who lived next door to Edison. The city’s population continued to climb with the construction of the Edison Bridge, which was opened in 1931. The next decade brought about even more growth with the addition of subdivisions.
In recent years, the city continues to grow and thrive. The homes of Edison and Ford are now open to the public and are popular tourist attractions. The city also has many restaurants, shopping centers, nightclubs, and of course beautiful beaches which bring in new residents and tourists year after year.