Historically Significant Sites
Celebrate Our History
1. THE HISTORIC SOCIETY: 161 BAY RD
Built in 1921, this beachfront cottage served 5 generations of the Davison family. Remembered as the San Castle Kindergarten, it was relocated from Mango Street and dedicated in 1997 as the Estero Island Historic Society and Nature Center. It is now located at the entrance to the 57 acre Matanzas Pass Preserve, at the end of Bay Road behind the Fort Myers Beach Elementary School.
2. THE HISTORIC SOCIETY ANNEX: 161 BAY RD
This “Laughing Gull” cottage was built as a beachside rental on Seaview Avenue and fondly remembered as the “Pink Palace” by those who vacationed there. It was relocated in 2002 to serve as the Library and Board Room to the Estero Island Historic Society.
3. THE RAIN BARREL: 161 BAY ROAD
Built in 1946 of Cypress planks, this rain barrel represents an era when residents collected rain as a source of drinking water. Destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 2004, it was relocated from Hercules Drive and restored at the Historic Society site.
4. BEACH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: 2751 OAK ST
Constructed in 1948 for grades 1 – 6, this structure is the third school to serve elementary children on Estero Island. Originally built with 6 classrooms and an auditorium, it has expanded with a primary wing, media and computer center and 2 playgrounds. Today it serves grades K – 5.
5. RUSS CARTER COTTAGE: 251 PEARL ST
This typical beach style cottage is nestled in one of the island’s oldest residential communities. Built in 1937, it was originally a one room cottage of hardwood pine with rough cut beams. Later additions included a bedroom, bath, kitchen area and a Florida room.
6. PINK SHELL COTTAGES: 385 ESTERO BLVD
Only the original “Pink Shell” cottage remains from the 229 unit Cottage Court Resort which once spanned from gulf to bay. In 1950, this first beachfront cottage was built using island mahogany. It was relocated to the bayside, depicting the era of cottage court colonies before the arrival of condominiums.
7. MOUND HOUSE: 289 (451) CONNECTICUT STREET
The Case family’s earliest house on the site was placed atop this Calusa Indian mound in 1906. The property was purchased in 2000 by the Town of Fort Myers Beach to serve as a cultural and environmental center on Estero Bay. The site is open to the public to enjoy a walk through time.
8. ST. RAPHAEL’S CHURCH: 5601 WILLIAMS DR
The Episcopal Church is the oldest church building on the island and was completed in 1953. It was built as a mission style structure with handmade cinder blocks of beach sand, coquina and limestone. It features the unique awning-style stained glass windows and a chapel. The church still conducts two of the oldest traditions of the island with the annual Blessing of the Fleet and the famous shrimp roll sales, dating to 1953.
This map shows the locations of these historic sites.
ESTERO ISLAND HISTORIC SOCIETY
AND NATURE CENTER
~ 161 BAY ROAD ~
Located at the entrance to the 57-acre Matanzas Pass Preserve.
Limited parking available from sunrise to sunset.
OPEN FREE TO THE PUBLIC
WEDNESDAY & SATURDAY
10:00 AM – NOON
For More Information Contact
ESTERO ISLAND HISTORIC SOCIETY
P.O. BOX 2815, FORT MYERS BEACH, FL 33932
(239) 463 – 0435
THE TOWN OF FORT MYERS BEACH
(239) 765 – 0202