Facts About SWFL

Hidden History of Fort Myers


“Most of the conversations we recently hear about Fort Myers is about how it’s among one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. What we tend to forget, though, is the rich history of how our city started and what it took for us as a community to be where we are today.

Although best known as the winter home of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, Fort Myers has one of the most engaging and extraordinary histories of any city in Florida.

This is why Cynthia Williams’ new book, “Hidden History of Fort Myers,” caught our attention. When people think about the past of Fort Myers, we tend to only think about Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. What Williams teaches us in her book is that our history is rich and is also packed with other stories that are humorous, horrifying, and inspiring.

I met with Cynthia in Downtown Fort Myers, where I got the chance to hear some of the fascinating stories that have barely been told. Personally, one of my favorite ones is how Fort Myers was actually founded by a Spaniard called Manuel Gonzalez, and later on, a former African-American slave named Nelson Tillis.

For some reason, these are stories that aren’t mainstream and this is why Cynthia’s book is important to all of us.

You can learn more about Cynthia on her website, www.cyn1020.com

Actions