History of Downtown Fort Myers

Fort Myers was originally established as a Seminole War Post in 1841 known as Fort Harvie, Fort Myers began transformation into a farming and cattle community in the late 1860’s and 1870’s. By the mid 1880’s Fort Myers began developing a commercial core, and gaining national notoriety for local recreational fishing.

 In 1885, Fort Myers incorporated and in 1887 Lee County was carved from Monroe County. Over time the original wooden buildings of downtown were replaced with masonry and brick buildings, many of which still exist today. 1924 marked the construction of a wooden bridge spanning the Caloosahatchee, aptly named the Edison Bridge, after our most famous winter resident.

Although the boom times came and went throughout the years, Fort Myers grew to become the governmental, commercial, and social center of Southwest Florida.

 Today the landscape of Southwest Florida has changed dramatically, however our history and dedication to our colorful past continues. 

Popular Downtown Landmarks 


 A place for connectivity. This facility is about bringing people together to share ideas, values and goals, to make a collective impact.   

 Edison Theatre 

The Edison Theatre opened around 1941 and was operated by E.J. Sparks, a subsidiary of Paramount Theatres Inc. The building still stands, now used as offices. 

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center 

The center is dedicated to bringing world-class art events to the Southwest Florida community. Events include concerts, art exhibitions, galas, and lectures providing educational arts experiences for all. 

Uncommon Friends Sculpture

The centerpiece of Centennial Park. This artwork is a tribute to the bond shared by three of the city’s most famous winter residents, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.

Yacht Basin

Located at Mile Marker 135 on the Okeechobee Waterway, 15 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers Yacht Basin is a well designed and protected marina.