Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 012916 Contents Historic Downtown Fort Myers, Then And Now:
On Courthouse Corner
by Gerri Reaves, PhD
This circa-1960 photo captures a proud moment on the
grounds of the Lee County Courthouse near the Main and
The five smartly dressed men posing for the photo are
unidentified, but they are members of American Legion Rabe O.
Wilkison Post 38.
The occasion is also unknown, but given the crisp uniforms
and the microphone set up (left), it might have been an awards
ceremony, a veteran-related holiday event or a monument dedi-
While formal ceremonies like the one pictured are still com-
monly held at the courthouse, the scene captured in the background across Main
Street shows that although some parts of the downtown landscape remain basically the
same, other parts change altogether.
Prominent in the background is the L-shaped Colquitt Building, rounding the north-
west corner at Main and Broadway and looking much as it did almost six decades ago.
Henry Colquitt, a real estate developer from Detroit, opened that Mediterranean-
Revival style building with Spanish Mission touches in 1926 and established his real
estate office in the space fronting Main Street.
When the historic photo was taken, the Fort Myers Restaurant was located in the
prime cor ner space. Note the large sign hanging from the bell tower.
George Symeon and his brother had opened the eatery in January 1926 soon after
the building was constructed. In 1929, Angelos Vasiloff bought half interest in it.
When the café closed its doors in April 1962, it had the distinctions of being the
oldest restaurant in the city and the longest residing tenant in the Colquitt Building.
Over the last 90 years, the building has housed a wide variety of businesses and
today is hotel office space.
But the scene mid-block and across from the courthouse steps has changed entirely
since the legionnaires posed for the camera.
The Goodyear store and parking lot (left background) have vanished from the spot
and Hotel Indigo has replaced them.
That property has a long history as a hotel location, so Goodyear’s relatively short
time on the spot was an exception to the rule.
The Hammon Hotel was located there in the first decade of the twentieth century.
It became Hotel Kenmore and was expanded in 1917, but by the end of World War II
Then came the Goodyear auto-service business, followed by a period of vacancy. In
2009, another hotel, Hotel Indigo, rose on the spot.
Walk down to Main and Broadway and survey what’s changed and what hasn’t
since legionnaires dressed in their uniforms and posed for a photo. While you’re there,
look at the monument that Post 38 first dedicated in 1922 to honor Lee County veter-
ans of World War I.
Then, walk a few blocks to the Southwest Florida Museum of History at 2031 Jack-
son Street, where you’ll learn about more ceremonies held at the historic Lee County
Courthouse over the last century.
For information, call 321-7430 or go to swflmuseumofhistory.com. Museum hours
are 10 a.m . to 5 p.m ., Tuesday through Saturday.
Then continue south on McGregor Boulevard to the Southwest Florida Historical
Society’s research center, where you can find out more about the many veterans who
served the community after military service.
The all-volunteer non-profit organization is at 10091 McGregor Boulevard on the
campus of the Lee County Alliance for the Arts.
The center is open Wednesday and Saturday between 9 a.m . and noon and
Wednesday 4 to 7 p.m . Call 939-4044 or visit swflhistoricalsociety.org for more infor-
Sources: The Archives of the Southwest Florida Historical Society.
THE RIVER - JANUARY 29, 2016
The River Weekly News will correct factual errors or matters of emphasis and interpretation that appear in news stories.
Readers with news, tips, comments or questions, please call (239) 415-7732 or write to: The River Weekly News,
1609 Hendry Street, Suite 15, Fort Myers, FL 33901. Fax number: (239) 415-7702. E-mail: email@example.com.
The River Weekly News reserves the right to refuse, alter or edit any editorial or advertisement.
Independently Owned And Operated • COPYRIGHT 2016 The River Weekly News • LORKEN Publications, Inc.
and Ken Rasi
Gerri Reaves, Ph D
Read Us Online:
Click on The River
Marion Hauser, MS, RD
Ross Hauser, MD
Capt. Matt Mitchell
Cynthia A. Williams
The 1926 Colquitt Building looks much the same, but Hotel Indigo is located in the former
photo by Gerri Reaves
Circa 1960, these unidentified members of American Legion Post 38 participated in an event
held on the grounds of the Lee County Courthouse. In the right background is the Colquitt
Building on the corner of Main and Broadway. The Goodyear store and parking lot are on
photo courtesy American Legion Post 38
Links Archive RWN 012216 RWN 020516 Navigation Previous Page Next Page