Downtown Historic Tour

Historic Fort Myers Tour

Downtown Historic Tour

Fort Myers, Florida 33965, United States

Created By: Fort Myers CRA

Tour Information

Originally established as a Seminole War Post in 1850

known as Fort Harvie, Fort Myers grew into a farming and

cattle community in the late 1860s and 1870s.

► By the mid-1880s, Fort Myers developed a commercial

core and also was nationally known for recreational fishing.

► Fort Myers incorporated its government in 1885.

► Following the 1904 opening of a rail line connecting Fort Myers to Punta Gorda, a series of building booms fostered many residential subdivisions beyond the downtown area, as well as spurring the replacement of original downtown wooden buildings with masonry and brick structures―many of which exist today.

► Like most cities in the country, suburbanization in the 1960s and 1970s drastically altered downtown Fort Myers;

but the City addressed the need for revitalization in 1984 by establishing the Fort Myers Community

Redevelopment Agency (Fort Myers CRA).

► Restored streetscape—the brick-lined streets, sidewalks,

and street decor you will see as you tour the Fort Myers

River District—is one of the Fort Myers CRA redevelop-

ment projects to renew the setting in which the historic buildings reside. The charming surroundings encourage owners of historic buildings to maintain their properties in the original style, and provide an inviting atmosphere

for visitors to dine, shop, stroll, and enjoy many special events held throughout the year.

► Keep in mind that this is sampling of public art and

historic buildings within walking distance of each other.

Other pieces of public art―such as Albert Paley's Naiad

sculpture in front of the Riviera and St. Tropez high rise

towers on East First Street―as well as additional historic

buildings―such as the Dean Park residential neighbor-

hood―exist throughout the Fort Myers River District.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Begin the historic buildings self-guided tour in the Patio de Leon. Originally, Patio de Leon was known as Tonnelier Court after its builder, Peter Tonnelier. Small, live alligators kept in the courtyard's original fountain were an early to... Read more
Street entrance. On your left (west) is the 39-41 Patio de Leon building. Although little is known of the 39-41 Patio de Leon building located inside the Patio de Leon, it was built around 1926 and is unique in the area for its Oriental/Moo... Read more
Still remaining in the Patio de Leon, turn around to face the Main Street entrance to your south. On the left (east) of the entrance is the Tonnelier Block building. Peter Tonnelier, who built the Patio de Leon, also constructed the Tonneli... Read more
 The Greystone Hotel was built by powerhouse developer Peter Tonnelier, who constructed 3 other hotels, several commercial buildings, and Tonnelier Court―rechristened Patio de Leon―at whose entrance this former hotel sits. It was built... Read more
Continue south along Hendry Street to the corner of Hendry and Main streets. On your right, at the northeast corner, is the Lee County Bank Building. The Lee County Bank Building was built by pineapple farming explorer James A. “Pineapple... Read more
From the Gwynne Institute, turn around, cross Second Street, and head north on Jackson Street. Cross Main Street; turn left (west) and walk to the corner of Main and Hendry streets. On your right will be the Edison Theater. The Edison Theat... Read more
Originally, Fort Myers' McCrory's Store, part of a well-known national chain of five and dime stores, was located in the Earnhardt Building since 1914. In 1936, this McCrory's location was built as one of the few downtown buildings with an ... Read more
These buildings resulted from a feud between the Bank of Fort Myers (one block away) Bank Director Harvie E. Heitman, and First National Bank of Fort Myers Founder Walter G. Langford. When the Bank of Fort Myers erected a new building in 19... Read more
 The Langford Building was erected between the new Bank of Fort Myers Building and the old livery stable. In later years, it was also known as The Grand Theatre, the first downtown movie theater. Eventually, it housed the JC Penney store, ... Read more
the Edison Regency House/Franklin Arms Hotel building began as the Hill House, a small boarding house operated by Mary F. Hill. It gradually expanded to become one of Fort Myers’ leading hotels. W.P Franklin purchased it in 1918 and renam... Read more
The Whitehurst Federal Building is a Works Projects Administration (WPA) project from the Great Depression. It was built with Florida Key limestone embedded with coral formations, now an environmentally-protected rock no longer available fo... Read more
As Fort Myers' first brick building, the Heitman Building was a successful, modern grocery store for more than three decades. The first floor was a general store, and the second floor had offices. After the grocer closed, it was used as tel... Read more
Bradford block in 1915 by Harvie and Gilmer Heitman. It was one of three movie theaters in Fort Myers at the time; the first one was The Grand Theatre across First Street, and in 1913, a theater was built in Tonnelier Court, now known as Pa... Read more
Prominent Fort Myers developer Harvie E. Heitman built The Bradford Hotel Building in 1905, financed by Tootie McGregor. The hotel was named after Tootie’s deceased son, Bradford, whose health issues were the catalyst for the family settl... Read more
In 1914, Harvie E. Heitman tore down a rickety, 40-year-old wooden structure to build what he promoted as one of the most modern hardware and sporting good stores in the country, Heitman-Evans Hardware. Spending between $35,000-$40,000 for ... Read more
Built in 1925 at an estimated cost of $30,000, the Leak Building has a blend of Mediterranean Revival style and post-classic Chicago Industrial style, both popular in the 1920s. Although the overall building design was geared toward retail ... Read more
Built by the developer of the Fort Myers Dean Park residential neighborhood, the Dean Building opened as the Morgan Hotel in 1924. Initially, 22 rooms were available to weary travelers, but the next year 70 more rooms were added to keep up ... Read more
In its decades of existence, the Fort Myers Realty Company Building has been home to several real estate companies, including its namesake Fort Myers Realty Company from 1927 through the early 1930s. At the same time, the first floor featur... Read more
Originally built as a series of 1-story brick buildings, the engineering owner of Davison, Ransom & Barton, Inc., added the 2nd and 3rd floors in 1926 using structural clay tile. For nearly 70 years, the building had many types of tenan... Read more
Built in 1925 when the river reached to Bay Street, the Towles Building was used as a fish house and processing facility. Following a vacant period, it was occupied again in 1946 as the Dew-Drop Inn Restaurant. Since then, the building has ... Read more


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