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McGregor Boulevard - Steeped in Fort Myers History
By Mark M Washburn

McGregor Boulevard is the grand dame of Fort Myers roadways and illustrative of Fort Myers' rich history peopled with Native Americans and legendary inventors. Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone all built winter homes in Fort Myers after discovering its charms during the late 1800s. As legend has it, within 24 hours of arriving in Fort Myers in 1885, Thomas Edison bought 13 acres on the Caloosahatchee River. Aided by his wife, Mina, and others who had an abiding respect for nature, he began planting 200 imported palm trees along the dirt road between the downtown and his estate. An estimated 1800 palm trees, along with many other varieties of trees, now line the former Riverside Drive, later renamed McGregor Boulevard. These magnificent Royal Palms, many surpassing 75 feet, give Fort Myers its nickname as "the City of Palms."

Today McGregor Boulevard is home to some of the finest communities in Southwest Florida. Stretching for 14 miles from Punta Rassa to Fort Myers, the Boulevard is the traditional entry point for the city. Pedestrian-friendly, the roadway is dotted with restored buildings, charming eateries and beach shops as well as professional buildings. Edison's home, botanical gardens and laboratory, as well as the estate Henry Ford built next door, are now favorite stops for visitors. According to tour guides, Edison and Ford hosted a variety of guests at their winter homes after 1916, frequently rolling up the rugs for impromptu square dances in the evening. Edison's botanical gardens, boasting more than one thousand plants from around the world, are another popular attraction that compliment his beautification work on McGregor Boulevard.

Edison Park, located across the boulevard from the Edison and Ford properties, includes a number of Fort Myers' most stately homes. The development showcases a variety of architectural styles and is known for its community activities and strong neighborhood ties. Other prominent communities in the McGregor Boulevard area include Palmetto Point, Gulf Harbour, and The Landings, among others.

Mark Washburn is a real estate agent serving the Greater Fort Myers area. Historic McGregor Boulevard is one of his favorite Southwest Florida neighborhoods. Mark and his team can assist clients in communities throughout Southwest Florida including Fort Myers, Estero, Sanibel, Captiva, Cape Coral and Bonita Springs.

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