Historic Homes and Cottages, Living History on the Island


Prior to the Estero Island Historic Society’s final presentation of the season Monday night, Betty Simpson and Lorrie Wolf of the Fort Myers Beach Historic Preservation Advisory Committee (HPAC) addressed the audience about the Town’s Historic Designation Program. “This is near & dear to our hearts,” explained Betty, “to preserve our island’s historic cottages built between 1921 to 1950.”

“We would like anyone with a home older than 1950 to come forward,” added Lorrie, “to see if your home qualifies. The question we most often hear is, ‘How much will this cost?’ The answer is ‘Absolutely Nothing! ‘The next question is, ‘Does the Historic Designation prevent me from remodeling?’  The answer: ‘You can do any renovation you like.’ To apply, simply fill out the one-page application you can obtain at Town Hall; if you need assistance, ask to speak to any HPAC member and we will walk you through the process.”

“We already spoke to three people about this tonight,” said Betty. “It may not only be your home, but perhaps your neighbor’s as well, as many island neighborhoods are from the same time period, so this can mushroom all the way through your block! We hope to organize a workshop in the near future to assist you with questions as well as with the paperwork.”

Garden Party

The Estero Island Historic Society will host its first Garden Party fundraiser and celebration on Saturday April 13 from 10am – 1pm at the Historic Cottages, 161 Bay Road, FMB. Beautiful homemade quilts by EIHS Board Member Ann Alsop will be available for purchase, along with FMB afghans, available only through the EIHS. Attendees will also find unique crocheted handcrafts. Lemonade, finger sandwiches and cookies will be available free of charge & bottled water will be for sale.

In addition to the Speaker Series, the EIHS operates its free Museum & Nature Center in the Davison Cottage at 161 Bay Road, down the street from the Library and adjacent to Matanzas Pass Preserve, on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to Noon.

The non-profit EIHS began in 1990 when island residents recognized how rapidly Fort Myers Beach was losing its historic cottages, landmarks, wildlife and habitat. It’s mission: “Archival, Educational, and Historical.” In 1995, the EIHS received via a donation The Davison Cottage that was originally built on the beach in 1921. In 2004, the EIHS gained a second donated cottage and rain barrel and hopes to add the historic “Red Shutter Cottage” to its campus this year. For information, contact the Estero Island Historic Society at 239-463-0435.


By Gary Mooney