Fort Myers. The final day.
It’s funny, I didn’t set an alarm the whole trip, and I get up nearly the same time every morning. Like this day, once again, 7:30. They had the whole setup to make coffee in the room, so I had some nice fresh-brewed before I stepped out the door. As can be seen in the photo above I took out the window, it was another lovely day, great weather to end the trip.
I had breakfast at the very same Holiday Inn in which I stayed. I was the only one in the dining room, and it took longer than I expected for my order to get done. Maybe it was just me being impatient to get going. Wait, I just realized I had slow service at about half the places I ate this trip. Weird. Still, worth the wait. I got a fresh veggie omelet (even had broccoli) on taters, like a veggie Asher. But healthier, as I got it with Egg Beaters and whole wheat toast. I knew it would hold me for a good long time.
I’ll have to wax eloquent about Ashers some other time, and how much I miss Skeeters, and their big biscuits, and great Chinese food.
So I got going by 9, and it was cool and comfortable again. First stop was Edison Park Elementary School (photos). It was closed, so spring break must be the whole week. There wasn’t fencing around the buildings, so I could get some nice shots.
The school was only a few blocks from my next stop, the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates. I met one of the groundskeepers and had a nice chat. He rides a motorcycle in his spare time, and told me about a nice restaurant in Okeechobee, ironically. It’s called the Cowboys BBQ and Steak Co., and I’ll have to try it when I go back to look for the Battlefield. As far as the Estates, he said it’s 20 bucks to get in. To me, it wasn’t worth spending that much with the small amount of time I planned to spend there, so I took photos from outside the low fence around the grounds. Which was good enough. There was another house on my list next to the estates, Casa Rio. It was completely gated, though, so I had to settle for some so-so shots with the zoom. Can’t always get ideal pictures of every place I’d like, doncha know.
Across from the street from the estates is where you got tickets to get in and other information. Speaking of which, they were able to confirm my suspicion that Anderson Avenue is now Martin Luther King Boulevard. It was the one boundary line of the downtown historic district that I didn’t have. With that, I knew the area I had to cover. The information area was also part of the botanical segment of the Edison Estate. There was a large stand of ficus trees there, which Edison had planted to experiment with for rubber production. I remember what a problem those trees were in Miami, ‘cause their roots can enter pinholes in underground water pipes and clog them. And the roots can grow a really long distance from the tree itself. Could those damn trees be his fault?
I was going to save the district for last. The next place was the William H. Towles House. What a weird address. It’s 2050 MacGregor Boulevard. Not so weird. But next to it was 2036, and next to that was 2052. So 2050, then 2036, then 2052? The house is now office space, which at least means it’s being used and kept up well.
Headed east, and got shots of the old Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Station (now the Southwest Florida Museum of History), then the Imaginarium Hands-On Museum. The latter was very… blue. Didn’t go in to either, ‘cause of time constraints. And I’m not much of a museum guy.
Next, another school, the Paul Lawrence Dunbar School. Closed. Large grounds, so did a bit of walking to get shots from all sides.
Then it was back west towards downtown. I got shots of the Gilmer Heitman House and Alderman House, even though the addresses were slightly different. Thank you, Guide to Florida’s Historic Architecture.
Drove a few more blocks and parked behind the Langford-Kingston Home, which was being reno’d. it’s also across from the Murphy-Burroughs House, which to me is almost as nice as Lapham-Patterson House in Thomasville, Georgia. Took lots of shots, front, back and sides. Also got photos of the US 41 bridges (street view) behind the house that go over the Caloosahatchee River. They’re quite a sight.
Last but most, the downtown historic district (photos and street view). I found a parking spot with almost 2 hours still on meter, hurrah! Don’t hate me because I’m lucky. I feel like I earned that spot, ‘cause I walked that whole dang district in just over half an hour. OK, most of it. I got decent pictures of everything I wanted. Well, except the Lee County Courthouse, because there was construction going on in front, so got best I could. I was done and going north over one of the bridges by 12:40.
Overall, I like Fort Myers. I’ll have to come back eventually, since there’s a few spots I missed around the edges of the city. Maybe I’ll even tour the Edison and Ford Estates when I return.
Guess what’s next? Yes, another school! The J. Colin English School (photos and street view), to exact. Closed. It’s odd to see so many elementary and middle schools closed on weekdays. I’m not complaining, it let me get clear pictures without hordes of kids running around.
Back to US 41, there was a BP, thank goodness, ‘cause I needed a fill-up. While doing that, I chatted with a couple in a car with Hawaii plates. They live there a few months out of the year, and bring the license plate with them, for amusement value, mostly. After I filled up, I called Richard for my check-up call of the day. Went back into the store and got some snack stuff, and departed by 1:30.
I like this section of US 41 (street view). It reminds me of US 441 between ocala and gainesville, but a bit bleaker and with more coastal vegetation. Liking the 65 mph speed limit, too.
Which was over too soon, once I entered Punta Gorda. An OK place, with a generic Florida mid-sized city look. More on that in the next post.