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Fort Myers is the county seat and commercial center of Lee Countymarker, Floridamarker, United States. Its population was 48,208 in the 2000 census. According to 2008 estimates, the population is 68,689.

The city is one of two major cities that make up the Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan Statistical Area, the other being Cape Coralmarker. As of 2008, the population estimate for the metropolitan area was 623,725.

Established in 1886, Fort Myers is the historical and governmental hub of Lee County. It is the gateway to the Southwest Florida region, which is a major tourist destination in Florida. The winter homes of Thomas Edison (Seminole Lodge) and Henry Ford (The Mangoes), which are both primary tourist attractions in the region, are located on McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers.

On August 13, 2004, Fort Myers was hit hard by Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall north of the area. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma struck south of Naplesmarker, but caused extensive damage nonetheless in Fort Myers and its southern suburbs.

Southwest Florida International Airportmarker (RSW) is located southeast of the city in South Fort Myers, near Gatewaymarker and Lehigh Acresmarker.

History

Incorporated in 1886, Fort Myers is the center of a popular tourist area in Southwest Florida and the seat of Lee County. It is located about south of Tampamarker at the meeting point of the Gulf of Mexicomarker and the Caloosahatchee River. Fort Myers was the frequent winter home of Thomas Edison and is the current home of the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins spring training camps.

The first known resident of what is now Fort Myers was Manuel Gonzalez, a Spaniard from the province of Asturiasmarker, who came via Cubamarker in the 19th century.

Typical architecture in downtown Fort Myers
Fort Myers, built in 1850 as a military fort to fend off Seminole Indians that were massacring the area's few settlers, was named after Col. Abraham C. Myers, who was stationed in Florida for seven years and was the son-in-law of the fort's founder and commander. In 1858, after years of elusive battle, Chief Billy Bowlegs and his warriors were persuaded to surrender and move west, and the fort was abandoned. Billy's Creek, which flows into the Caloosahatchee River and runs between The Beau Rivage Condominiums and Alta Mar, was named after a temporary camp where Billy Bowlegs and his men awaited ships to take them west.

The fort was abandoned until 1863 when a small number of Union troops re-occupied the fort during the Civil War. In 1865 the fort was attacked unsuccessfully by a very small group of Confederates. After the war, the fort was again deserted.

The first settlers arrived in 1866, but it wasn't until 1882 when the city experienced a significant influx of settlers. By 1885, when Fort Myers was incorporated, it was the second largest city only to Tampa on Florida's west coast south of Cedar Keymarker even larger than Clearwatermarker and Sarasotamarker, also growing cities at the time.

Fort Myers first became a nationally known winter resort with the building of The Royal Palm Hotel in 1898. But what really sparked the city's growth was the construction of the Tamiami Trail Bridge built across the Caloosahatchee River in 1924. After the bridge's construction, the city experienced its first real estate boom and many subdivisions sprouted around the city.

Geography and climate

Fort Myers and Cape Coral from space, July 1997.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.4 mi² (104.7 km²). 31.8 mi²(82.4 km²) of it is land and 8.6 mi² (22.2 km²) of it (21.25%) is water.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration classifies Fort Myers as a subtropical climate . Others interpret the Köppen climate classification to classify it as a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw),

Climate in Fort Myers
Monthly averages Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Norm high °F (°C) 75 (24) 77 (25) 80 (27) 85 (29) 89 (32) 91 (33) 92 (33) 92 (33) 90 (32) 86 (30) 81 (27) 77 (25) 84 (29)
Norm low °F (°C) 54 (12) 55 (13) 59 (15) 63 (17) 68 (20) 73 (23) 74 (23) 74 (23) 74 (23) 69 (21) 62 (17) 56 (13) 65 (18)
Precip. in. (cm) 2.2 (5.7) 2.1 (5.3) 2.7 (7.0) 1.7 (4.2) 3.4 (8.7) 9.8 (24.8) 9.0 (22.8) 9.5 (24.2) 7.9 (20.0) 2.6 (6.6) 1.7 (4.3) 1.6 (4.0) 54.2 (137.6)
Avg. no. precip. days 7 8 7 6 10 18 22 22 20 11 7 7 145


Demography

Fort Myers has experienced steady population growth.


As of the census of 2007, there were 71,048 people, 19,338 households, and 10,799 families residing in the city. The population density was 584.8/km² (1,514.6/mi²). There were 21,836 housing units at an average density of 264.9/km² (686.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 56.35% White, 33.39% African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.98% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 5.69% from other races, and 3.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.49% of the population.

There were 19,107 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.3% were married couples living together, 18.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.8% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.

Government

Fort Myers is governed by a six member city council. Each member is elected from a single member ward. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote. Policing of the city is ran by the Fort Myers Police Department

Education

Secondary schools

Secondary schools in the area include:

Higher education

Institutions of higher learning in the area include:

Sports

Spring training

Fort Myers is the current spring training home for the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins baseball clubs. The city holds the distinction of being the host of five different Major League Baseball franchises who've gone on to win the World Series following spring training in Fort Myers. The Philadelphia Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals compose the five along with the city's current two spring residents.

Minnesota Twins

Hammond Stadiummarker is located in the Lee Countymarker Sports Complex in South Fort Myers. The stadium was built in and holds 7,500 people. It is the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins.

The Twins' won the World Series following their first spring training in Hammond Stadium. Their agreement with Lee County for use of the complex runs through 2011.

Red Sox

Former Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Greenwell is from Fort Myers, and was instrumental in bringing his team to the city for spring training. City of Palms Parkmarker was built in for that purpose and holds 8,000 people.

Perhaps the most memorable game played at City of Palms was on March 7, . This was the first game played between the Red Sox and New York Yankees since Aaron Boone hit the home run that eliminated the Red Sox from the play offs the previous October. Boone's replacement at third base, Alex Rodriguez was the high profile key acquisition of the off season for the Yankees, and he was savagely booed by the 7,304 in attendance.

Red Sox logo on the fence outside the facility
The Red Sox's lease with Fort Myers runs through 2019, however, the Red Sox were considering exercising the early out in their contract that would have allowed them to leave following the spring season. Chief operating officer Mike Dee met with Sarasotamarker officials on April 25, to discuss the possibility of the Red Sox moving to Sarasota's Ed Smith Stadiummarker once its current spring inhabitants, the Cincinnati Reds, move to their new spring home in . Representatives of the Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers have also met with officials from Sarasota.

John Yarborough, director of Lee County Parks and Rec, met with Jeff Mudgett, a Fort Myers architect who is volunteering his time to brain storm ideas on what can be done to keep the Red Sox in Fort Myers. “I’d like to have a project by 2012,’’ Yarborough said after the meeting.

No drawings were shown or locations were discussed for a new Red Sox spring training site, but they said the dream would be to have a facility look like a mini-Fenway Parkmarker, the Bostonmarker home of the team.

New spring facility

On October 28, 2008, the Lee County commission voted 3-1 to approve an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to build a new spring-training facility for the team in south Lee County. Commissioner Brian Bigelow was the lone dissenting vote. Commissioner Bob Janes was not present for the vote, but stated that he supported it.

Red Sox chief operating officer Mike Dee was present in the chambers for the vote. He will take the agreement back to Boston to meet with team owner John Henry and other team officials. Dee expects to have an answer in a week or so from his bosses on if they want to go ahead with the plan.

The new stadium will be south of Hammond Stadium. Speculation is that the stadium would be in the general neighborhood of Florida Gulf Coast Universitymarker, however, neither the county or Dee want to be more specific until proposals come in from developers.

County officials have talked for months about the possibility of securing another team for City of Palms. No team has been contacted yet. Terry Park Ballfieldmarker (also known as the Park T. Pigott Memorial Stadium) in East Fort Myers is also not currently in use by a Major League Baseball team, however, it is the former home of the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals.

City of Palms Classic

The City of Palms Classic is an annual high school basketball tournament held in Fort Myers, Florida.

Other sports

The sports teams of Florida Gulf Coast Universitymarker, the FGCU Eagles, began transitioning to NCAA Division I in 2007. In 2008-09, the Eagles women's basketball team led the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 17-3 record, and had a 25-4 record overall, but was ineligible to take part in the 2009 Division I Tournament since it was still transitioning from Division II.

FGCU's sports teams play their games on-campus. Basketball plays at Alico Arenamarker and baseball plays at Swanson Stadiummarker.

Points of interest

The Edison Theatre


  • The Lee County Sports Complex in South Fort Myers, which includes Hammond Stadiummarker, home of the Fort Myers Miracle baseball club of the Florida State League, and spring training locale for the Minnesota Twins. The Gulf Coast League Twins also play at the Lee County Sports Complex. The Florida State League will hold the 48th annual Florida State League All-Star Game at Hammond Stadium in June . The league’s mid-season classic returns to Fort Myersmarker for the first time since .






  • For the golfing enthusiast, the Fort Myers Area (Bonita Springsmarker, Cape Coralmarker, Estero, Lehigh Acresmarker and Sanibel Islandmarker) is home to over 50 of Southwest Florida's renowned 130 public and private golf courses. Florida's great weather combined with the scenic and challenging nature of these courses makes the area an excellent stop for the vacationing golfer.




  • Historic Downtown, waterfront entertainment district.




Crime

Unmarked graves

In March 2007, the remains of 8 people were found in a wooded area in Fort Myers, leading to an ongoing investigation for a possible serial killer. So far three of the individuals have been identified using DNA as Erik Kohler, John James Tihay and John Blevins. Derek C Gair was briefly considered a suspect in early 2008. This case has also been profiled on America's Most Wanted.

Crime Statistics

In 2007, the crime rates per 100,000 people for the Ft. Myers/Cape Coral MSA were as follows:
{| class="wikitable"


Notable people

Present



Past

The Mangoes: Henry Ford's Winter home


Fort Myers in popular culture

  • The abandoned city scene from Day of the Dead was filmed in downtown Fort Myers.
  • Some courthouse and other "city" scenes in Just Cause were filmed in downtown Ft. Myers.
  • The 1999 independent film Trans was filmed in Fort Myers, Florida.


References

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  2. [2]
  3. 2007 Scores
  4. America's Top Public High Schools | Newsweek Best High Schools | Newsweek.com
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  6. http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=51867
  7. FBI crime rate tables by MSA (2006)
  8. FBI crime rate tables (2006)
  9. http://mlb.mlb.com/team/broadcasters.jsp?c_id=min#blyleven
  10. http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/27/sports/colleges-hurricanes-buchanon-might-be-the-best-of-the-best.html
  11. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/andy_staples/09/25/cody/index.html
  12. http://www.bodybuilders.com/davey.htm
  13. http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=121513
  14. http://buccaneers.com/team/playerdetail.aspx?player=Graham,Earnest,34
  15. http://www.nascar.com/2006/news/headlines/truck/05/17/mgreenwell.mans/index.html
  16. http://www.rivals.com/viewprospect.asp?pr_key=403&Sport=1
  17. http://www.nfl.com/players/mariohenderson/profile?id=HEN115292
  18. http://www.cbssports.com/golf/players/playerpage/PGA/2009/132035
  19. http://www.detroitlions.com/bio.cfm?bio_id=593&season=11
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  23. http://www.playboy.com/girls/playmates/directory/196405.html
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  38. http://www.npcnewsonline.com/new/2005usa.html
  39. http://www.lpga.com/content_1.aspx?pid=8002&mid=2
  40. http://www.answers.com/topic/charles-ghigna-children-s-author Charles Ghigna bio
  41. http://www.beverlydirenzo.com/bio.html]
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  44. http://www.news-press.com/article/20081027/NEWS0110/810270351/1085/NEWS01
  45. Day of the Dead (1985) - Filming locations
  46. Day of the Dead Locations - Fort Myers, Florida
  47. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113501/
  48. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0169333/


External links



Crime
Fort Myers/Cape Coral MSA crime rate
U.S. National Average
Murder
8.7
5.7
Rape
35.4
30.9
Robbery
156.3
149.4
Assault
396.5
287.5
Burglary
1035.5
729.4
Theft
2165.9
2206.8
Grand Theft Auto
416.8
398.4

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