Fort Myers, city (1990 pop. 45,206), seat of Lee co., SW Fla., on the Caloosahatchee River, near the Gulf of Mexico; founded 1850, inc. 1905. It has a tourist trade and light industry and is a shipping point for citrus fruits, winter vegetables, flowers (especially gladioli), and fish. The city grew up around Fort Harvie, built (c.1841) in the Seminole War, and lies in a region of tropical vegetation noted for its royal palms. There now is a large retired community, and the city has been marked by urban and economic growth. Thomas Edison's and Henry Ford's winter estates are museums, and there is a historical museum. An annual festival of light commemorates Edison. Florida Gulf Coast Univ. is in the city. Nearby tourist attractions include wildlife preserves, a manatee park, and extensive beach resorts.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.