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City of Fort Myers, Florida
—  City  —
Fort Myers
Nickname(s): City of Palms
U.S. Census Bureau map showing city limits
U.S. Census Bureau map showing city limits
Coordinates: 26°37′54″N 81°51′26″W / 26.63167°N 81.85722°W / 26.63167; -81.85722Coordinates: 26°37′54″N 81°51′26″W / 26.63167°N 81.85722°W / 26.63167; -81.85722
Country  United States
State  Florida
County  Lee
Founded March 24, 1886
 - Mayor Randy Henderson, Jr.
 - City 40.4 sq mi (104.7 km2)
 - Land 31.8 sq mi (82.4 km2)
 - Water 8.6 sq mi (82.4 km2)  21.25%
Elevation 10 ft (3 m)
Population (2008)[1]
 - City 65,394
 Density 2,056.4/sq mi (794/km2)
 Metro 593,136
  U.S. Census estimate
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 33900-33999
Area code(s) 239
FIPS code 12-24125[2]
GNIS feature ID 0282700[3]

Fort Myers is the county seat[4] and commercial center of Lee County, Florida, United States. Its population was 48,208 in the 2000 census. According to 2008 estimates, the population is 65,394.[5]

The city is one of two major cities that make up the Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan Statistical Area, the other being Cape Coral. The population estimate for the metropolitan area was 593,136 as of July 2008.[1]

Established in 1886, Fort Myers is the historical and governmental hub of Lee County. It is the gateway to the Southwest Florida region, which is a major tourist destination in Florida. The winter homes of Thomas Edison (Seminole Lodge) and Henry Ford (The Mangoes), which are both primary tourist attractions in the region, are located on McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers.

On August 13, 2004, Fort Myers was hit hard by Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall north of the area. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma struck south of Naples, but caused extensive damage nonetheless in Fort Myers and its southern suburbs.

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) is located southeast of the city in South Fort Myers, near Gateway and Lehigh Acres.



Typical architecture in downtown Fort Myers

Fort Myers was built in 1850 as a military fort to fend off Seminole Indians that were massacring the area's few settlers. It was named after Col. Abraham C. Myers, who was stationed in Florida for seven years and was the son-in-law of the fort's founder and commander. In 1858, after years of elusive battle, Chief Billy Bowlegs and his warriors were persuaded to surrender and move west, and the fort was abandoned. Billy's Creek, which flows into the Caloosahatchee River and runs between The Beau Rivage Condominiums and Alta Mar, was named after a temporary camp where Billy Bowlegs and his men awaited ships to take them west.

The fort was abandoned until 1863 when a small number of Union troops re-occupied the fort during the Civil War. In 1865 the fort was attacked unsuccessfully by a very small group of Confederates. After the war, the fort was again deserted.

The first settlers arrived in 1866, but it wasn't until 1882 when the city experienced a significant influx of settlers. By 1885, when Fort Myers was incorporated, it was the second largest city only to Tampa on Florida's west coast south of Cedar Key even larger than Clearwater and Sarasota, also growing cities at the time.

Fort Myers first became a nationally known winter resort with the building of The Royal Palm Hotel in 1898. But what really sparked the city's growth was the construction of the Tamiami Trail Bridge built across the Caloosahatchee River in 1924. After the bridge's construction, the city experienced its first real estate boom and many subdivisions sprouted around the city.

Geography and climate

Fort Myers and Cape Coral from space, July 1997.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.4 mi² (104.7 km²). 31.8 mi²(82.4 km²) of it is land and 8.6 mi² (22.2 km²) of it (21.25%) is water.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration classifies Fort Myers as a subtropical climate [6]. Others interpret the Köppen climate classification to classify it as a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw),[7]

Climate in Fort Myers
Monthly averages[8] Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Norm high °F (°C) 75 (24) 77 (25) 80 (27) 85 (29) 89 (32) 91 (33) 92 (33) 92 (33) 90 (32) 86 (30) 81 (27) 77 (25) 84 (29)
Norm low °F (°C) 54 (12) 55 (13) 59 (15) 63 (17) 68 (20) 73 (23) 74 (23) 74 (23) 74 (23) 69 (21) 62 (17) 56 (13) 65 (18)
Precip. in. (cm) 2.2 (5.7) 2.1 (5.3) 2.7 (7.0) 1.7 (4.2) 3.4 (8.7) 9.8 (24.8) 9.0 (22.8) 9.5 (24.2) 7.9 (20.0) 2.6 (6.6) 1.7 (4.3) 1.6 (4.0) 54.2 (137.6)
Avg. no. precip. days[9] 7 8 7 6 10 18 22 22 20 11 7 7 145


Fort Myers has experienced steady population growth.
Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1890 575
1900 943 64.0%
1910 2,463 161.2%
1920 3,678 49.3%
1930 9,082 146.9%
1940 10,604 16.8%
1950 13,195 24.4%
1960 22,523 70.7%
1970 27,351 21.4%
1980 36,638 34.0%
1990 45,206 23.4%
2000 48,208 6.6%
Est. 2008 65,394 35.6%
Population 1890-2000.[10]

As of the census[2] of 2007, there were 71,048 people, 19,338 households, and 10,799 families residing in the city. The population density 1,514.6/mi². There were 21,836 housing units at an average density of 686.1/mi². The racial makeup of the city was 56.35% White, 33.39% African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.98% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 5.69% from other races, and 3.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.49% of the population.

There were 19,107 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.3% were married couples living together, 18.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.8% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.


Fort Myers is governed by a six member city council. Each member is elected from a single member ward. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote. Policing of the city is by the Fort Myers Police Department (Florida)


Secondary schools

See: Lee County School District for other schools in the area.

Secondary schools in the city include:

Higher education

Institutions of higher learning in the area include:


Spring training

Fort Myers is the current spring training home for the Boston Red Sox baseball club.

Red Sox

Former Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Greenwell is from Fort Myers, and was instrumental in bringing his team to the city for spring training. City of Palms Park was built in 1992 for that purpose and holds 8,000 people.

Red Sox logo on the fence outside the facility

Perhaps the most memorable game played at City of Palms was on March 7, 2004. This was the first game played between the Red Sox and New York Yankees since Aaron Boone hit the home run that eliminated the Red Sox from the play offs the previous October. Boone's replacement at third base, Alex Rodriguez was the high profile key acquisition of the off season for the Yankees, and he was savagely booed by the 7,304 in attendance.

The Red Sox's lease with Fort Myers runs through 2019, however, the Red Sox were considering exercising the early out in their contract that would have allowed them to leave following the 2009 spring season. Chief operating officer Mike Dee met with Sarasota officials on April 25, 2008 to discuss the possibility of the Red Sox moving to Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadium once its current spring inhabitants, the Cincinnati Reds, move to their new spring home in Goodyear, Arizona. Representatives of the Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers have also met with officials from Sarasota.

John Yarborough, director of Lee County Parks and Rec, met with Jeff Mudgett, a Fort Myers architect who is volunteering his time to brain storm ideas on what can be done to keep the Red Sox in Fort Myers. “I’d like to have a project by 2012,’’ Yarborough said after the meeting.

No drawings were shown or locations were discussed for a new Red Sox spring training site, but they said the dream would be to have a facility look like a mini-Fenway Park, the Boston home of the team.[13]

A cross town rivalry has developed with the Minnesota Twins, who also conduct their spring training at Hammond Stadium in south Lee County.

New spring facility

On October 28, 2008, the Lee County commission voted 3-1 to approve an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to build a new spring-training facility for the team in south Lee County. Commissioner Brian Bigelow was the lone dissenting vote. Commissioner Bob Janes was not present for the vote, but stated that he supported it.

Red Sox chief operating officer Mike Dee was present in the chambers for the vote. He will take the agreement back to Boston to meet with team owner John Henry and other team officials. Dee expects to have an answer in a week or so from his bosses on if they want to go ahead with the plan.

The new stadium will be south of Hammond Stadium. Speculation is that the stadium would be in the general neighborhood of Florida Gulf Coast University, however, neither the county or Dee want to be more specific until proposals come in from developers.

County officials have talked for months about the possibility of securing another team for City of Palms. No team has been contacted yet.[14] Terry Park Ballfield (also known as the Park T. Pigott Memorial Stadium) in East Fort Myers is also not currently in use by a Major League Baseball team, however, it is the former home of the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals.

City of Palms Classic

The City of Palms Classic is an annual high school basketball tournament held in Fort Myers, Florida.

Other sports

The sports teams of Florida Gulf Coast University, the FGCU Eagles, began transitioning to NCAA Division I in 2007. In 2008-09, the Eagles women's basketball team led the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 17-3 record, and had a 25-4 record overall, but was ineligible to take part in the 2009 Division I Tournament since it was still transitioning from Division II.

FGCU's sports teams play their games on-campus. Basketball plays at Alico Arena and baseball plays at Swanson Stadium.

Points of interest

The Edison Theatre
  • Historic Downtown, waterfront entertainment district.
  • Historic Downtown Fort Myer's Art Walk.


Unmarked graves

In March 2007, the remains of 8 people were found in a wooded area in Fort Myers, leading to an ongoing investigation for a possible serial killer. So far three of the individuals have been identified using DNA as Erik Kohler, John James Tihay and John Blevins. Derek C Gair was briefly considered a suspect in early 2008. [15][16] This case has also been profiled on America's Most Wanted. [17]

Crime Statistics

The crime rates per 100,000 people for the Ft. Myers/Cape Coral MSA were as follows:

Crime Cape Coral-Fort Myers MSA crime rate[18] U.S. National Average[19]
Murder 7.6 5.4
Rape 26.0 29.3
Robbery 128.2 145.3
Assault 307.0 274.6
Property Crime 3509.1 3212.5
Burglary 1025.5 730.8
Theft 2236.6 2167.0
Grand Theft Auto 247.0 314.7

Notable people



The Mangoes: Henry Ford's Winter home

Fort Myers in popular culture

  • The abandoned city scene from the 1985 movie Day of the Dead was filmed in downtown Fort Myers.[57][58]
  • Some courthouse and other "city" scenes in Just Cause were filmed in downtown Ft. Myers. [59]
  • The 1999 independent film Trans was filmed in Fort Myers, Florida.[60]


  1. ^ a b [1]
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ "Köppen Climate Classification Map:". Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska, Department of Climate Science. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  8. ^ "Monthly Averages for Fort Myers, FL". The Weather Channel. 
  9. ^ "Precipitation averages for Fort Myers, FL". Sperling's Best Places. 
  10. ^ "Census Of Population And Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 
  11. ^ 2007 Scores
  12. ^ America's Top Public High Schools | Newsweek Best High Schools |
  13. ^ "County targets 2012 for Red Sox project by Glenn Miller, Fort Myers News-Press". Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  14. ^ "Lee County commissioners approve Red Sox agreement". Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  15. ^ "Bone investigation solves 1 mystery, opens another". CNN. 
  16. ^ [4]
  17. ^
  18. ^ FBI crime rate tables by MSA (2008)
  19. ^ FBI crime rate tables (2008)
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b Lawler, Jerry (2002). It's Good to be the King...Sometimes. World Wrestling Entertainment. ISBN 978-0743457682. 
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  26. ^,Earnest,34
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  52. ^ Charles Ghigna bio
  53. ^]
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  57. ^ Day of the Dead (1985) - Filming locations
  58. ^ Day of the Dead Locations - Fort Myers, Florida
  59. ^
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External links

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