Named for the Caloosa indians who inhabited Southwest Florida centuries ago. The Caloosahatchee is a winding, fresh water ribbon that flows from Lake Okeechobee to the Gulf of Mexico. Along its seventy-five mile route, the river penetrates subtropical forests filled with wildlife and wonders. See gentle manatees, basking alligator, playful bottle-nosed dolphin, stingray, tortoise, egrets, pelicans, american bald eagle, and countless other species.
The river's waters once originated in LaBelle. Flood control works eventually connected the river to Lake Okeechobee, and the Caloosahatchee became part of the Intracoastal Waterway, a link to Florida's east coast.
In 1958, Gulf Guaranty Land and Title Company built its first home in Cape Coral. Since then the city has grown to become the second largest city in the state of Florida, in acreage. With more than 103,000 residents, it is by far the most populous city in Lee County.
Cape Coral started less than 50 years ago. Two brothers, Leonard and Julius Rosen, bought about 1,700 acres on the north side of the Caloosahatchee River across from Ft. Myers and went into the Florida real estate development business. Subsequent purchases created a 60,000-acre tract that became Cape Coral.
Within a few years, the company built the yacht club, a golf course, and country club, where prospective buyers were entertained. It hosted an array of national celebrities like Harry James, Duke Ellington, Red Skelton, Liberace, and Bob Hope. One of the largest undertakings, to draw potential buyers , was the construction of the Cape Coral Gardens (a.k.a The Rose Gardens)
This 45-acre property featured a sculpture garden of famous Americans, a zoo, aviary, a dolphin show and a waterskiing show. What most people remember best though, were the vast rose gardens and the Waltzing Waters; a fountain show with synchronized, colored lights.
The Cape was in full swing. Planes landed on Cape Coral and Coronado Parkways with loads of prospective buyers. As they came and bought, the city started as an intimate, small-town, family-oriented community. Then came an influx of retirees, giving it a reputation as a retirement village. In the late 60's, the number of younger people began to grow, and so did the demand for activities and facilities for children and families.
The city incorporated in 1970, and became known as a bedroom community because of the lack of industry. The property had been platted as a residential community and very little land was available for commercial use. The city's median age was 52.5.
Today, the city has steadily grown and the median age has steadily declined to 40 years old. We boast an unemployment rate of under 2.5% with a median household income of $43,468. The cost of living and crime indexes fall below national averages, while job growth and housing appreciation are higher than average.
As waterfront property continues to grow in demand, the Cape is being seen in a new light. Property values are quickly on the rise, though still quite affordable by comparison to other areas of the state and country. Where else can you live on the water, with ocean access, for such a reasonable price - an affordable coastal paradise!