Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cape Coral, Florida

This municipality lies to the west of North Fort Myers, and we have gotten to know the eastern section of it fairly well because that is the location of Messiah Lutheran church which we attend.  Around the church there are a few scattered  homes, but mostly it is scrub land and empty lots.  We have never seen the downtown area of Cape Coral because, as we found out Thursday, there is none.  It is pretty much a bedroom community of Fort Myers.  On Thursday we visited Cape Coral's History Museum and learned that the town was created in 1970.  I believe that this city museum is the youngest one of its kind which we have visited! 
Actually, the history of the town goes back further than 1970.  In the early 1960s the construction of the city depended on the speed of the canal dredging.  To advertise the new city, Gulf American Land Corporation funded the creation of Cape Coral Gardens, a tourist attraction for the residents as well as to encourage future investors.  In the museum is a large mural depicting what the gardens were all about which included, besides rose gardens and fountains: a collection of sculptures of our presidents,  a Pieta statue, as well as one of the copies of the Iwo Jima Memorial.  The gardens closed in 1970.  Population of the city in 1970 was 11,400 and in 2007 was 166,000.  The docent at the museum said he and his wife moved here because they have a boat and wanted to live by the water.  There are 400 miles of canals in the main part of the city, off almost every street we drove on we could see a canal.   What a different vision we now have of the city!
In the 1960s a marina was built, as well as a yacht club on the Caloosahatchee River.  We found that section of town, as well as a small public beach, and from there drove over to Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve.  It is within the city limits, and is similar to other preserves we have visited.  The park has an extensive boardwalk through mostly a variety of mangroves.  Sorry, I always seem to be taking our readers to the swamps!  John and I find them good places for hiking here in Florida.
And I was not going to show another picture of a raccoon, but this one was just too cute!  He reminded me of the title of a children's book,  Are you my Mommy? 
One of the trails on the boardwalk brought us out to the Caloosahatchee River where we saw a flock of ducks in the water.  One of them, a lesser scaup, is pictured above.
The sun was setting by the time we ended our walk at the war memorial section of the park.  It honors the men and women who served in the wars from WW11 to the Gulf War.  The Iwo Jime Memorial was moved here when Cape Coral Gardens closed.

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