The city is one of two major cities that make up the Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan Statistical Area, the other being Cape Coral. The population estimate for the metropolitan area was 593,136 as of July 2008.
Established in 1886, Fort Myers is the historical and governmental hub of Lee County. It is the gateway to the Southwest Florida region, which is a major tourist destination in Florida. The winter homes of Thomas Edison (Seminole Lodge) and Henry Ford (The Mangoes), which are both primary tourist attractions in the region, are located on McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers.
On August 13, 2004, Fort Myers was hit hard by Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall north of the area. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma struck south of Naples, but caused extensive damage nonetheless in Fort Myers and its southern suburbs.
Fort Myers was built in 1850 as a military fort to fend off Seminole Indians that were massacring the area’s few settlers. It was named after Col. Abraham C. Myers, who was stationed in Florida for seven years and was the son-in-law of the fort’s founder and commander. In 1858, after years of elusive battle, Chief Billy Bowlegs and his warriors were persuaded to surrender and move west, and the fort was abandoned. Billy’s Creek, which flows into the Caloosahatchee River and runs between Dean Park and Fort Myers Broadcasting, was named after a temporary camp where Billy Bowlegs and his men awaited ships to take them west.
The fort was abandoned until 1863 when a small number of Union troops re-occupied the fort during theCivil War. In 1865 the fort was attacked unsuccessfully by a very small group of Confederates. After the war, the fort was again deserted.
The first settlers arrived in 1866, but it wasn’t until 1882 when the city experienced a significant influx of settlers. By 1885, when Fort Myers was incorporated, it was the second largest city after Tampa on Florida’s west coast south of Cedar Key even larger than Clearwater and Sarasota, also growing cities at the time.
Fort Myers first became a nationally known winter resort with the building of The Royal Palm Hotel in 1898. But what really sparked the city’s growth was the construction of the Tamiami Trail Bridge built across the Caloosahatchee River in 1924. After the bridge’s construction, the city experienced its first real estate boom and many subdivisions sprouted around the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 40.4 mi² (104.7 km²). 31.8 mi²(82.4 km²) of it is land and 8.6 mi² (22.2 km²) of it (21.25%) is water.
Fort Myers has a year-round warm, monsoon-influenced climate that is classified as either subtropical (by NOAA) or as being a tropical savanna climate (Köppen Aw).Not withstanding the classification, the area has short, mild to warm winters, and long, hot, humid summers, with most of the year’s rainfall falling from June to September. Monthly averages range from 64.9 °F (18.3 °C) in January to 83.1 °F (28.4 °C) in August, with the annual average being 74.9 °F (23.8 °C).
|[hide]Climate data for Fort Myers (1971-2000)|
|Average high °F (°C)||75.3
|Average low °F (°C)||54.5
|Rainfall inches (mm)||2.23
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||6.1||5.5||6.1||4.3||6.6||14.7||18.6||18.5||14.5||7.8||5.3||4.9||112.9|
|Source: NOAA 
As of the census of 2007, there were 71,048 people, 19,338 households, and 10,799 families residing in the city. The population density1,514.6/mi². There were 21,836 housing units at an average density of 686.1/mi². The racial makeup of the city was 56.35% White, 33.39%African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.98% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 5.69% from other races, and 3.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.49% of the population.
There were 19,107 households out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.3% were married couples living together, 18.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.8% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.3% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.
Fort Myers is governed by a six member city council. Each member is elected from a single member ward. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote. Policing of the city is by the Fort Myers Police Department.
See: Lee County School District for other public schools in the area.
Institutions of higher learning in the area include:
Former Boston Red Sox left fielder Mike Greenwell is from Fort Myers, and was instrumental in bringing his team to the city for spring training. City of Palms Park was built in 1992 for that purpose and holds 8,000 people.
Perhaps the most memorable game played at City of Palms was on March 7, 2004. This was the first game played between the Red Sox and New York Yankees sinceAaron Boone hit the home run that eliminated the Red Sox from the play offs the previous October. Boone’s replacement at third base, Alex Rodriguez was the high profile key acquisition of the off season for the Yankees, and he was savagely booed by the 7,304 in attendance.
The Red Sox’s lease with Fort Myers runs through 2019, however, the Red Sox were considering exercising the early out in their contract that would have allowed them to leave following the 2009 spring season. Chief operating officer Mike Dee met with Sarasota officials on April 25, 2008 to discuss the possibility of the Red Sox moving to Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium once its current spring inhabitants, the Cincinnati Reds, move to their new spring home in Goodyear, Arizona. Representatives of theBaltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers have also met with officials from Sarasota.
John Yarborough, director of Lee County Parks and Rec, met with Jeff Mudgett, a Fort Myers architect who is volunteering his time to brain storm ideas on what can be done to keep the Red Sox in Fort Myers. “I’d like to have a project by 2012,’’ Yarborough said after the meeting.
No drawings were shown or locations were discussed for a new Red Sox spring training site, but they said the dream would be to have a facility look like a mini-Fenway Park, the Boston home of the team.
A cross town rivalry has developed with the Minnesota Twins, who also conduct their spring training at Hammond Stadium in south Lee County.
New spring facility
On October 28, 2008, the Lee County commission voted 3-1 to approve an agreement with the Boston Red Sox to build a new spring-training facility for the team in south Lee County. Commissioner Brian Bigelow was the lone dissenting vote. Commissioner Bob Janes was not present for the vote, but stated that he supported it.
Red Sox chief operating officer Mike Dee was present in the chambers for the vote. He will take the agreement back to Boston to meet with team owner John W. Henry and other team officials. Dee expects to have an answer in a week or so from his bosses on if they want to go ahead with the plan.
The new stadium will be south of Hammond Stadium. Speculation is that the stadium would be in the general neighborhood of Florida Gulf Coast University, however, neither the county or Dee want to be more specific until proposals come in from developers.
County officials have talked for months about the possibility of securing another team for City of Palms. No team has been contacted yet. Terry Park Ballfield (also known as the Park T. Pigott Memorial Stadium) in East Fort Myers is also not currently in use by a Major League Baseball team, however, it is the former home of the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals.
City of Palms Classic
The City of Palms Classic is an annual high school basketball tournament held in Fort Myers, Florida.
The sports teams of Florida Gulf Coast University, the FGCU Eagles, began transitioning to NCAA Division I in 2007. In 2008-09, the Eagles women’s basketball team led the Atlantic Sun Conference with a 17-3 record, and had a 25-4 record overall, but was ineligible to take part in the 2009 Division I Tournament since it was still transitioning from Division II.
Points of interest
SOURCE FOR INFORMATION ABOVE: Wikipedia