Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 072415 Contents Historic Downtown Fort Myers, Then And Now:
Society’s First Home
by Gerri Reaves, PhD
In 1921, the Christian Science So-
ciety in Fort Myers acquired its first
permanent home when it bought
the small wood-frame building shown
in the historic photo.
The structure stood in a shady spot
on the west side of newly developed
Henley Place off McGregor Boulevard.
The society had begun in Novem-
ber 1914 with only seven people. Ser-
vices were held in a member’s home,
but membership increased sufficiently
that they began to meet in the Masonic Hall, located on the
third floor of the Bank of Fort Myers at First and Jackson
By February 1918, 11 charter members had formally
organized the Christian Science Society.
At that time, the Church of Christ, Scientist, as it was
officially termed, was a fairly recent phenomenon in the
United States, having been founded in 1879 by Mary Baker
Eddy and 15 followers. By 1910, more than 1,200 congre-
In 1922, only a year after moving into the new building
at Henley Place, the Fort Myers society was granted a char-
ter and the organization’s name changed to the First Church
of Christ, Scientist, of Fort Myers.
The neat frame structure served the church well for 20
years, but it has built two more buildings since moving to
In 1941, the church constructed the beautiful hollow-tile
structure at the same location. The old frame building con-
tinued to be used as Sunday school.
In 20 years or so, growth required yet another building,
and in 1963, construction began on the current church on
West First Street at McGregor.
That second church, notable for Romanesque touches,
travertine-stone trimmings, and cathedral ceilings and win-
dows, still stands at Henley and McGregor and houses law
The Christian Science Society leaves another legacy
almost a century old, a downtown Christian Science Reading
Room, which is maintained to this day.
Walk down to Henley Place to the site where a new
church established its first real home in a leafy spot near the
Then, travel the short distance to the Southwest Florida
Museum of History at 2031 Jackson Street to learn more
about the history of Fort Myers churches.
While there, dance your way through the sights and sounds of Mambo Man, a trib-
ute to Pedro “Cuban Pete” Aguilar.
For information, call 321-7430 or go to swflmuseumofhistory.com. Museum hours
are 10 a.m . to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Then, travel south to one of the area’s best historical research centers, the South-
west Florida Historical Society at 10091 McGregor Boulevard, located on the campus
of the Lee County Alliance for the Arts.
Contact the all-volunteer non-profit organization at 939-4044 or drop by on
Wednesday or Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon or Wednesday 4 to 7 p.m.
Sources: The archives of the Southwest Florida Historical and britannica.com.
THE RIVER - JULY 24, 2015
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and Ken Rasi
Gerri Reaves, Ph D
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Marion Hauser, MS, RD
Ross Hauser, MD
Capt. Matt Mitchell
Cynthia A. Williams
In 1941, this Romanesque-style church was constructed on the same site. Today, it houses law offices.
photo by Gerri Reaves
The sign by the door announces the new home of the Christian Science Society, which moved to this building in 1921. The
church faced Henley Place at McGregor Boulevard.
courtesy of Southwest Florida Historical Society
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