The Town of Fort Myers Beach Historic Preservation Board (HPB) recently approved applications for three island structures for Historic Recognition.
In May, the Historic Preservation Board recognized the first four properties under the Town’s 2015 Ordinance regarding Historic Properties. The ordinance established four Categories of Historic Importance (CHI) in an effort to celebrate and preserve the Town’s history. Properties with historic or archeological importance qualify for identification with a historic plaque. Only one category, Historic Designation, requires maintenance of original historic features. The other three categories do not.
The three properties recognized recently fall into CHI-2 – Historic Recognition. CHI-2 properties meet requirements for higher importance to social, education, religious, commercial or tourism heritage.
First Lee Public Library
Sea Gypsy Inn
The beach’s first library building, now known as the Sea Gypsy Inn, at 1698 Estero Boulevard was recognized by the HPB in July for its role as the first free public library in Lee County. While the date of its construction is unknown, the wooden building built on pilings first appeared on the tax rolls in 1946. It became the site of the first beach library in 1955 when it was known as the cottage of Clem and Lucy McGee. The library held 1,200 books and could hold no more than 4-5 patrons. The library would relocate to larger quarters in 1957. Currently owned by Jacquelyn Liszak the property is used a gift shop.
226 Ohio Avenue
This 1945 beach bungalow, designed and built by Leonard Santini was recognized by Lee County as a historical structure pre-incorporation. Built with a combination of wood frame/block, the exterior details remain the same, including architectural insets over the garage in this private residence.
First Beach Condo
The Privateer of Fort Myers Beach was built in 1967-1969 by Arthur C. Scott Jr. and designed by distinguished Naples architect Nelson Faerber in 1964. The two and three story Mid-Century Modern buildings hold 48 units. The application states it was the first condo on the island.
“Authors Rolfe Shell of ‘History of Fort Myers Beach’ and Jean S. Gottlieb of ‘Coconuts & Coquina-Island Life on Fort Myers Beach 1920-1970’ include in their books the Privateer, as the first condominium on the island.”
To learn more about the Historic Properties program, contact Town Hall.