Next time you need a break, consider the fun, sun, sand, and water of a tropical paradise like Florida. Zero in on the coastal towns of the Sunshine State, including Cape Coral, for a fun and memorable time. History buffs will enjoy a trip to the area, too, as there are many Cape Coral history sights to check out. Some are even on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
Cape Coral Museum of History
Start your journey through Cape Coral history at the Cape Coral Museum of History. It holds an array of exhibits and hosts public programs to better inform visitors and residents of Cape Coral about what made the town what it is today. See artifacts, documents, photographs, and more from the Paleoindians of over 12,000 years ago up to the incorporation of the city and what it is today.
Ford & Edison Winter Estates
Florida is a hot spot for “snowbirds” that escape northern winter climates to bask in year-round warmth and sun. Hundreds of people pack up annually for the trip, including many famous people in history. Car magnet Henry Ford and famed inventor Thomas Edison were friends who spent their winter days just a stone’s throw away from one another in the Southwest Florida region. The 20-acre Edison estate features a main house, guest house, caretaker’s house, and more, while the Ford estate features a main home and caretaker’s cottage. Get lost in the properties’ lush gardens, or explore the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory, where Edison, Ford, and tire manufacturer Harvey Firestone worked together to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign rubber sources. Take pictures in the 15,000-square-foot museum featuring exhibits of facts and memorabilia from Ford’s and Edison’s lives, including a 1916 Model T! The Ford estate was added to the NRHP on September 8, 1988, and the Edison estate made the register on August 12, 1991.
The Rosen Building
Now located on the grounds of the Cape Coral Museum of History, the building was originally built on the grounds of the Cape Coral Country Club in 1962. It stood at the club’s pro shop and snack bar until it was moved to Four Freedoms Park in 1966. It then moved to Cultural Park in 1983 and became the original site of the museum in 1987.
Sanibel Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters
Known as the Sanibel Island Light or Point Ybel Light, it was one of the first lighthouses on Florida’s Gulf coast north of Key West and the Dry Tortugas. The light stands 98 feet above sea level on an iron “skeleton” tower originally built in August of 1884. The tower is still operational and under U.S. Coast Guard control and is not open to the public, but the grounds around it are. The lighthouse was devastated in 2022 due to Hurricane Ian severely damaging the station, destroying both keeper’s houses and all of the remaining outbuildings and the tower lost one leg. It was re-lit for the first time since the hurricane on February 28, 2023. The lighthouse was placed on the NRHP on October 1, 1974.
Located west of Pine Island, the island is an archaeological site. The island is named for its early owner, Lewis Demere of St. Simons Island, GA. He lived on the island with his wife and son until around 1880. It was added to the NRHP on June 13, 1972.
Lee County Courthouse
Located in nearby Fort Myers, the Old Lee County Courthouse was built in April of 1915. It was the county’s second courthouse and opened in 1916. An extension was added in 1926, and the site also hosts the Lee County Administration Office Building. A self-guided tour of the whole property is available. Ground tours are available during daylight hours, and courthouse tours are available 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday. Please be mindful of meetings in progress in the various rooms and move on quickly. Elected officials’ offices are subject to the official’s schedule.
A Walk Through History of Cape Coral, Florida
From a cozy studio to a spacious large family rental full of history buffs, Cape Coral 4 Vacations has a vacation rental that’s perfect for you and your group to explore some Southwest Florida history while enjoying fun in the sun. Step in and feel the stresses and worries of home melt away, knowing all your needs will be met. Prepare any meal or snack of the day, including treats to fuel up with during a history tour, in the fully equipped kitchen. In the evening, stretch out with some popcorn and your favorite show or movie. There are multiple private spaces like patios, balconies, and even your own bedroom. Choose a premium unit for flat-screen TVs, stainless steel appliances, a wet bar, plush furnishings, and more.
Call us today to start planning a walk through the history of Cape Coral, Florida!