History of Lee County, Florida

Lee County has a long, rich history which spans over 130 years in Southwest Florida. Please join us in honoring the past, celebrating the present and exploring the future. Below is a timeline of major events in Lee County Since our founding in 1887:

May 13, 1887

Lee County is founded.
After gaining independence from Monroe County, Lee County is created by act of legislature.

December 1915

Lee County Courthouse opens.
Lee County Courthouse


Tamiami Trail Bridge is constructed.
Construction of the bridge across the river spurs growth in Fort Myers.


Spring training comes to Lee County
Connie Mack and the Philadelphia Athletics begin spring training at Terry Park.

April 26, 1928

Tamiami Trail is opened.
At a cost of $8.0 million or $25,000 per mile, Tamiami Trail is opened.


Lehigh Acres is acquired.
Lee Ratner acquires 18,000 acres of land that would become Lehigh Acres.

May 26, 1963

Sanibel Causeway is opened.
Sanibel Causeway opens, connecting Sanibel to the mainland of Lee County.


Conservation 20/20 program is established.
The Conservation 20/20 program is created through voter referendum with the goal of conserving 20,000 acres of natural habitat by the year 2020.

August 1997

FGCU holds it's first classes.
After selecting the site for the college in 1992, FGCU holds it's first classes in the fall of 1997.

January 1, 1997

Lee County becomes a charter county.
Upon the approval of the voters in the election of 1996, Lee County became a charter county. Read the charter

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