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Lee County, Florida
Seal of Lee County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Lee County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the U.S. highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Founded 12 May 1887
Seat Fort Myers
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,212 sq mi (3,139 km²)
804 sq mi (2,082 km²)
408 sq mi (1,057 km²), 33.69%
 - (2000)
 - Density

549/sq mi (212/km²)

Lee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. The county makes up the entirety of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers%2C Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, and is the most populous county in Southwest Florida.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2000, the population of Lee County was 440,888. The population estimate for April 1, 2007 was 615,728, reflecting a 35 percent growth over 7 years. [1]

Between 2000 and 2004, Lee County had the fastest growth rate in Hispanic population in the country. [2]

Its county seat is Fort Myers6, and its largest city is Cape Coral.

History[edit | edit source]

Lee County was created in 1887 from Monroe County. It was named for Robert E. Lee, Confederate general in the American Civil War.

Incorporated in 1886, Fort Myers is the center of a popular tourist area in Southwest Florida and the seat of Lee County. It is located about 120 miles south of Tampa at the meeting point of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caloosahatchee River. Fort Myers was the frequent winter home of Thomas Edison, as well as Henry Ford. Lee County has been the host to several Major League Baseball teams for Spring Training, over the past several decades. Currently, it is the spring home of the Boston Red Sox, as well as the Minnesota Twins.

Fort Myers, built in 1850 as a military fort to fend off Seminole Indians that were massacring the area’s few settlers, 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 establisher 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 The Beau Rivage Condominiums and Alta Mar, 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 Federal troops re-occupied the fort during the Civil 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 only to 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.

In 1923, Collier and Hendry Counties were created by splitting these areas from Lee County. As recently as 2004, discussion had taken place surrounding the possibility of the city of Cape Coral becoming its own county, citing in particular a perceived lack of infrastructure support from the Lee County government. However a new county has not as of yet been created.

In August 2004, the county was hit hard by Hurricane Charley, particularly on the northwestern islands of Captiva, Gasparilla and North Captiva.

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,139 km² (1,212 sq mi). 2,081 km² (804 sq mi) of it is land and 1,057 km² (408 sq mi) of it (33.69%) is water.

Lee County is located on the southwest coast of Florida. It is approximately 125 miles south of Tampa and 115 miles west of Fort Lauderdale via Interstate 75; and approximately 125 miles west-northwest of Miami via U.S. Highway 41.

Lee County is the sole county in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Adjacent counties[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

As of the census² of 2000, there were 440,888 people, 188,599 households, and 127,681 families residing in the county. The population density was 212/km² (549/sq mi). There were 245,405 housing units at an average density of 118/km² (305/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 87.69% White, 6.59% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.77% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 3.07% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 9.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 86.7% spoke English, 8.7% Spanish and 1.1% German as their first language.

In 2005 the population was 76.6% non-Hispanic white, 14.3% Latino, 7.5% African-American and 1.1% Asian. (Souce=

There were 188,599 households out of which 22.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.50% were married couples living together, 8.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 25.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.73.

In the county the population was spread out with 19.60% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 24.00% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 25.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45.2 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,319, and the median income for a family was $46,430. Males had a median income of $31,247 versus $24,380 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,542. About 6.70% of families and 9.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.20% of those under age 18 and 5.60% of those age 65 or over.

School District[edit | edit source]

See: Lee County School District

Municipalities[edit | edit source]

Incorporated[edit | edit source]

Unincorporated[edit | edit source]

Islands[edit | edit source]

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Airports[edit | edit source]

Seaports/Marine Transport[edit | edit source]

A small port operation continues in Boca Grande, being used as a way-point for oil distribution. However, Port Boca Grande has been in decline for many years as the shipping industry has moved north, especially to the Port of Tampa.

In addition, a private enterprise operates a high-speed passenger-only ferry service between Fort Myers Beach From San Carlos Island and Key West.

Major Highways[edit | edit source]

The Southwest Florida Expressway Authority is an 8-person body including transportation officials from Lee and Collier Counties, the role of which is to raise toll revenue to widen and improve major arteries throughout both counties. Of particular priority is the needed revenue to widen the I-75 freeway beyond the 6-lane expansion due to begin in March 2007.

  • I-75.svg Interstate 75 is the county's only fully-controlled-access freeway, and has nine interchanges within Lee County, linking the area to Naples, Fort Lauderdale and Miami to the south and east; and Sarasota and Tampa to the north. The freeway is due to be widened and improved dramatically from its current 4-lane structure, beginning in March 2007. Plans include express/local lanes, and/or HOT Lanes, coordinated by the Southwest Florida Expressway Authority. [3]
Bi-County Transportation Corridor[edit | edit source]

In March 2005, Lee County and Charlotte County concluded a transportation study on creating a circumferential freeway that would bypass downtown Fort Myers, running through downtown Cape Coral and South Fort Myers.

The freeway is being designed as an 8- to 10-lane structure, including minor frontage roads. It is to begin at the Jones Loop Road interchange with Interstate 75 south of Punta Gorda in Charlotte County, and end at an upgraded Colonial Boulevard interchange with Interstate 75 near Lehigh Acres. [4]

Major Road Bridges[edit | edit source]

Mass Transportation[edit | edit source]

Fixed-route bus service is provided by the Lee County Transit Department, operated as "LeeTran". Several routes extend outward from the Downtown Intermodal Transfer Center; in addition, suburb-to-suburb routes are operated, as well as park-and-ride service to and from both Fort Myers Beach and Southwest Florida International Airport.

The Downtown Intermodal Transfer Center also serves as an intermediate stop on Greyhound Lines bus service.

Media[edit | edit source]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Lee County's main newspaper is the Fort Myers News-Press.

In addition, Breeze Newspapers (Web site), the Naples Daily News (Web site) (circulation 56,981) publishes a "Bonita Daily News" edition (Web site), which serves Bonita Springs in southern Lee County. The Daily News is owned by the Ohio-based E. W. Scripps Company.

Radio[edit | edit source]

Arbitron Standard Radio Market: Ft Myers-Naples-Marco Island. [5]

With an Arbitron-assigned 783,100 listening area population, the metropolitan area ranks 62/299 for the fall of 2006.

The metropolitan area is home to 32 radio stations.

Television[edit | edit source]

Nielsen Media Research Designated Market Area (DMA): Ft. Myers-Naples. [6]

Number of TV homes: 479,130

2006-2007 U.S. rank: 64/210

Professional sports[edit | edit source]

Club Sport League Venue
Florida Everblades Hockey East Coast Hockey League Germain Arena, Estero
Florida Firecats Arena Football Arena Football-2 Germain Arena, Estero
Florida Flame* Basketball NBA Development League Germain Arena, Estero
Fort Myers Miracle Minor League Baseball Florida State League Hammond Stadium, South Fort Myers
Boston Red Sox (Spring training) Major League Baseball American League City of Palms Park, Fort Myers
Minnesota Twins (Spring training) Major League Baseball American League Hammond Stadium, South Fort Myers

*It has been announced that the Florida Flame will not return for the 2007-2008 season.

External links[edit | edit source]

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Government links/Constitutional Offices[edit | edit source]

Special Districts[edit | edit source]

Judicial branch[edit | edit source]

Internet sites[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 26°35′N 81°55′W / 26.58, -81.92

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