Lee County is a popular tourist destination not only because of the favorable climate and interesting attractions, but also because of the historical architecture.
Originally Monroe County, Lee County was founded in 1887. Lee County then became a charter county in 1997. In 2017, Lee County celebrated its 130th anniversary, and this year, it will celebrate its 131st anniversary next month. Some of Lee County’s most popular cities include Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs and Sanibel. Additionally, Fort Myers is the county seat, and Cape Coral in the largest city by population in the county.
Lee County’s economy is driven by tourism and hospitality, since the area is known for its warm temperatures and relaxing beaches. However, Lee County is also known for a few other things. For instance, Lee County is home to Florida Gulf Coast University and JetBlue Park in Fort Myers where the Boston Red Sox have its spring training.
Lee County also is known for its historic buildings with incredible architecture. The Edison & Ford Winter Estates and The Old Lee County Courthouse are just a few of the influential buildings that Lee County is known for.
Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Located in Fort Myers, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates include 20 acres of botanical gardens and nine historic buildings, like Edison’s Botanic Research Laboratory and the Edison Ford Museum, containing hundreds of inventions, artifacts and special exhibits. Some of the newly restored buildings include the Edison Main House, the Guest House, the Caretaker’s House and the Ford House. The furnishings and architecture of these buildings are reminiscent of a bygone era.
Thomas Edison came down to Fort Myers in the 1880s back when it was mostly a farm town. Henry Ford worked for Thomas Edison, and he visited so often that he bought the house right next door to Edison. The entire estate was restored to look like it did back in the 1920s, so that guests who tour the area get to see almost exactly what the house and surrounding areas looked like back in that time. Every detail was considered. Even Edison’s workshop is decorated with inventions and tools that he was known for using. What many people may not know is that this is not just a fancy estate, but it is also a working research garden. Guests enjoy looking at the architecture of buildings from back in the early 1900s along with the beauty of the lush botanical gardens.
The Old Lee County Courthouse
The Old Lee County Courthouse is the county’s second courthouse. It opened in 1916 and cost about $100,000 to build. The courthouse can be recognized by its Neoclassical architecture and Doric Order fluted columns. Almost every part of the original building is the exact same as it was in 1916. The only change that has been made to the building is the replacement of handrails and the window glass.
Many guests come to the courthouse to see the Courthouse Cornerstone, which contained the 1915 Time Capsule. The contents were discovered during a $5 million renovation in 1989 and are on display on the 2nd floor of the courthouse. Guests come to the courthouse to admire the gorgeous architecture from the early 1900s and to take a self-guided tour of the inside of the building.
Get Inspired by Historic Architecture in Your Own County
Lee County is rich in history. It is known not only for its relaxing beaches, but also for its beautiful, historic architecture. While many people pick Lee County as their tourist destination, you get to call Lee County home.
If you are thinking about remodeling your home, consider adding some elements of historic architecture to your design. Add a beautiful garden to the backyard like the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, or add columns outside of the entryway of your home like The Old Lee County Courthouse. Let historic architecture from your own county inspire your next home remodeling project.