Kathe Mattison

Written by Kathe Mattison

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Travelandleisure.com

Fort Myers, Florida, is a city steeped in history, boasting a treasure trove of remarkable landmarks that offer a glimpse into its rich past. From the Edison and Ford Winter Estates to the Burroughs Home and Gardens, these historical gems weave a captivating narrative of the city’s evolution. As we delve into the 12 fascinating facts about these iconic landmarks, you’ll uncover the stories, secrets, and significance behind each site, providing a deeper understanding of Fort Myers’ cultural heritage. Join us on this enlightening journey through time as we explore the historical landmarks that have left an indelible mark on the vibrant tapestry of Fort Myers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Explore Fort Myers, Florida’s rich history through captivating landmarks like the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Calusa Nature Center, and more, offering a fun and educational experience for all ages.
  • Discover the diverse cultural heritage of Fort Myers at historical landmarks such as the Burroughs Home and Gardens, Sanibel Historical Village, and more, providing a fascinating journey through time and local history.
Table of Contents

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates is a historical landmark in Fort Myers, Florida that served as the winter retreat for Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The estates feature impressive homes, gardens, and a museum showcasing inventions and artifacts. Visitors can explore the botanical gardens, the laboratory where Edison worked on his inventions, and the Ford House. The estates offer a glimpse into the lives of these iconic figures and their contributions to technology and innovation.

Fort Myers Historical Museum

The Fort Myers Historical Museum is a captivating destination that provides a comprehensive look into the history of Fort Myers. The museum houses exhibits and artifacts that document the development of the city, from its early settlers to its growth as a modern urban center. Visitors can immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Fort Myers through interactive displays and engaging presentations.

Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium

The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is a unique historical landmark that offers an educational experience for visitors of all ages. The center features interactive exhibits on the region’s natural history, including displays on the indigenous Calusa people and the diverse ecosystems of Southwest Florida. Additionally, the planetarium provides captivating astronomy shows, making it a must-visit destination for science enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Lee County Black History Society

The Lee County Black History Society is a vital institution dedicated to preserving and promoting the African American heritage in Fort Myers. The society’s historical landmark showcases the struggles and achievements of the local black community, highlighting their contributions to the city’s cultural and social fabric. Through exhibits, events, and educational programs, the society celebrates the resilience and spirit of the African American population in Fort Myers.

Mound House

The Mound House is an archaeological treasure that offers a fascinating glimpse into the Calusa Indian culture and the area’s ancient history. This historical landmark features a preserved shell mound, believed to be the first structure built on Estero Island, as well as artifacts and exhibits that shed light on the indigenous people who once inhabited the region. Visitors can explore the grounds and learn about the rich heritage of the Calusa through guided tours and hands-on activities.

Southwest Florida Museum of History

The Southwest Florida Museum of History is a captivating historical landmark that chronicles the diverse past of the region. The museum showcases exhibits on Southwest Florida’s prehistoric era, the Calusa and Seminole tribes, early settlers, and the development of modern communities. With engaging displays and immersive experiences, the museum offers a compelling journey through time, providing insight into the area’s cultural, economic, and environmental evolution.

Old Lee County Courthouse

The Old Lee County Courthouse stands as a striking architectural landmark in downtown Fort Myers, embodying the city’s rich history and legal heritage. The building, constructed in 1915, served as the seat of government and justice for the region. Today, it stands as a testament to the city’s past, with its neoclassical design and historical significance, drawing visitors to admire its grandeur and learn about its role in shaping the community.

Burroughs Home and Gardens

The Burroughs Home and Gardens is a charming historical landmark that offers a glimpse into the elegant lifestyle of early 20th-century Fort Myers. The estate, built in 1901, features a beautifully preserved home and lush gardens, providing a serene retreat in the heart of the city. Visitors can explore the opulent interiors, stroll through the picturesque grounds, and learn about the influential families who shaped the social and cultural landscape of Fort Myers during the Gilded Age.

Sanibel Historical Village and Museum

The Sanibel Historical Village and Museum is a captivating historical landmark that transports visitors to the island’s past, offering a living history experience. The village comprises a collection of historic buildings and exhibits that depict life on Sanibel Island from the late 19th to the early 20th century. Through guided tours and interactive demonstrations, visitors can gain insight into the island’s pioneer settlers, maritime heritage, and the development of its unique community and culture.

Matanzas Pass Preserve

The Matanzas Pass Preserve is a natural and historical landmark that provides a peaceful sanctuary for wildlife and a glimpse into the area’s ecological history. The preserve encompasses diverse habitats, including mangroves, uplands, and wetlands, offering visitors the opportunity to explore nature trails and observe native flora and fauna. With its ecological significance and historical relevance, the preserve serves as a valuable educational resource and a serene retreat for nature enthusiasts.

Fort Myers Railroad Museum

The Fort Myers Railroad Museum is a captivating historical landmark that celebrates the city’s rich railroad heritage and its impact on the region’s development. The museum features exhibits on the history of railroads in Fort Myers, showcasing vintage locomotives, railway artifacts, and interactive displays that engage visitors of all ages. Through its collection and educational programs, the museum preserves the legacy of rail transportation and its role in shaping the city’s growth and connectivity.

Imaginarium Science Center

The Imaginarium Science Center is an engaging historical landmark that combines education and entertainment, offering interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences for curious minds. The center features a variety of scientific displays, interactive stations, and live demonstrations that cover topics ranging from physics and biology to technology and environmental science. With its focus on STEM education and immersive learning, the Imaginarium provides a dynamic and enriching experience for visitors of all ages.


Exploring the historical landmarks in Fort Myers, Florida, offers a fascinating journey through time and provides a deeper understanding of the city’s rich heritage. From the iconic Edison and Ford Winter Estates to the intriguing Burroughs Home and Gardens, each landmark tells a unique story that showcases the area’s cultural and historical significance. Visitors can immerse themselves in the past, marvel at architectural marvels, and gain insight into the lives of prominent figures who shaped the region. Whether it’s the allure of the ancient Mound House or the grandeur of the Murphy-Burroughs House, Fort Myers’ historical landmarks are a treasure trove of knowledge and inspiration, inviting locals and tourists alike to appreciate the city’s vibrant history.


Q: What is the best way to explore the historical landmarks in Fort Myers?
A: The most convenient way to explore the historical landmarks in Fort Myers is by taking a guided tour, which offers in-depth insights and historical context about each site.

Q: Are there any family-friendly activities available at these historical landmarks?
A: Yes, many of the historical landmarks in Fort Myers offer family-friendly activities, such as interactive exhibits, educational programs, and beautiful gardens to explore.

Q: Can visitors take photographs at the historical landmarks?
A: Photography policies vary by location, but generally, visitors are allowed to take photographs for personal use at most historical landmarks in Fort Myers.

Q: Are the historical landmarks accessible for individuals with disabilities?
A: Efforts have been made to ensure accessibility for individuals with disabilities at many historical landmarks, including wheelchair ramps and accessible facilities.

Q: Are there any special events or festivals held at these historical landmarks?
A: Yes, several historical landmarks in Fort Myers host special events, festivals, and cultural celebrations throughout the year, offering unique experiences for visitors.

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