Aug 10, 2018

Newsletter | August 2018

Baron Collier Bridge

A little area history The original Barron Collier Bridge (Postcard from the Charlotte County History Collection)   If you've attended one of our history classes or a walking tour, you've heard us speak about Barron Collier and his influence on our area.  We have a bridge named after him, he had a major stake in one of our early banks, and he bought, renovated and renamed the old Hotel Punta Gorda into the Hotel Charlotte Harbor (seen in the background of the postcard above), to name a few.   But do you know why a county south of us is named after him?  We thought we share a little more history about Barron Gift Collier Sr. and how his love of the southwest coast of Florida had a major impact on its development. Collier was an advertising magnate making his fortune in New York City.  He was introduced to our area when he visited a business associate on Useppa Island in the early 1900's.  He started buying up large tracts of land, especially in what is now Lee County, and eventually owned over 1.3 million acres from Tampa south and east to Palm Beach.  Road building was the craze of the day and a single road was being proposed to connect Tampa with the east coast.  Several options were proposed including one to make use of the Cross-State Highway to avoid the Everglades.  The Tamiami Trail option connecting Tampa with Miami (the combination of both names) eventually won out largely due to Collier's influence.  In 1923 the trail was officially designated as a

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