Bonita Springs located South of Fort Myers and North of Naples is right in the middle of the two famous cities and offers a convenient location to make this your new home. The close proximity to the Southwest Florida International Airport, all the shopping malls, renowned Golf Courses and beaches make this an ideal place to call home.
Bonita Springs had its beginnings when, some time in the 1870’s, government surveyors in a remote part of Southwest Florida pitched camp near a medicinal spring which the local Indians believed could heal the sick. After the crew left, the site became know as Survey and the stream running from it, Surveyor’s Creek.
In 1912, a Tennesseean named Ragsdale purchased 2400 acres around Survey. He and his associate, Dan Farnsworth, surveyed the area and laid out a small town with streets and avenues named for potential buyers. There was no church, but, in 1915, a Naples minister held the community’s first non-denominational service in the school house. The developers decided that the name, Survey, lacked sales appeal, so the town was renamed Bonita Springs; Indian Spring Branch became Oak River; and Surveyor’s Creek was upgraded to Imperial River.
By the early 1920’s, Barron Collier, in his thrust to expand his empire, had extended his Fort Myers-Southern Railroad to include Bonita Springs which, with his new Tamiami Trail, brought another land boom to the area. And one more old place name disappeared when Fiddler-ville, so called for its millions of tiny fiddler crabs became Bonita Beach.
New attractions helped bring more visitors to Bonita Springs. At Everglades Wonder Gardens, Bill and Lester Piper displayed panthers, bears, and other native Florida animals and supplied rare animals to the Chicago Zoo. A Canadian, Harold Crant, saw the millions of shells lying, free for the taking, knee-deep in brilliantly colored windrows along the beaches and opened the Shell Factory. The factory burned down in the early 40’s but was rebuilt later in North Fort Myers.
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(all data current as of 10/20/2017)
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