In 1957 two brothers, Leonard and Jack Rosen, from Baltimore, Md., spent weeks looking over Southwest Florida for a piece of property to develop. Late that year they purchased a parcel of land from Grandville Keller and Franklin Miles, (owner of the Alka Seltzer Company) for $678,000. The land once known as Redfish Point was renamed Cape Coral. The development company, Gulf American Land Corporation started what was to be known as the “Waterfront Wonderland.” Ground was broken on Nov. 4, 1957. On June 10, 1958, the first residents moved into their home in the southeastern part of the Cape. At that time a waterview homesite sold for $990, waterfront, $1,990 and riverfront $3,390. Property sales reached over $9 million the first year. By 1965 approximately 500 prospects a day toured the property. When sales reached a peak in 1969, Cape Coral was sold to General Acceptance Corporation of Allentown, Penn., for $250 million.
In 1970 with the population at 11,470 the City of Cape Coral was incorporated becoming Florida’s second largest in area, trailing only Jacksonville. Barely a decade old, Cape Coral was poised and ready for the future, destined to become one of the nation’s fastest growing and most desirable cities.
In the ensuing years since incorporation, the city population has steadily increased to nearly 160,000, according to the 2010 Census. At buildout it is estimated Cape Coral will have a population of approximately 400,000.
— Source: Courtesy of
Paul Sanborn, city historian
Cape Coral Historical Museum
544 Cultural Park Blvd.
The Cape Coral Historical Museum includes a replica of an old Florida “cracker house,” complete with an authentic kitchen, and parlor/bedroom. There is a mural of the Cape Coral Gardens, with busts of presidents and celebrities. Other attractions include: A replica of a burrowing owl’s nest, a Native American room featuring historical information about the Calusa and Seminole people; a DuPont award-winning shell collection; hundreds of photographs and other memorabilia telling the story of Cape Coral in a time line.
The original museum building has been renovated and exhibits 300 model ships and planes from the WWII era through today. There is a reference library, records of clubs and organizations, city scrapbooks, a video library, and a gift shop.
The museum is open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.