The History of Estero, Florida

1958 Aerial Photo of the Koreshan Unity, Hwy 41 and Estero Florida

Above image is an aerial photo of the Koreshan Unity, Hwy. 41 and Estero Florida, ca. 1958.

In early Estero, author Quentin Quesnell wrote that when the Spanish came to Mound Key near the mouth of the Estero River in 1567, they found the thriving capital of the native Calusa Indians. By the 1700s, the dwindling Calusa had fled to Key West, then Cuba, leaving the area to Cuban fisherman, outlaws, and pirates.

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A Botanical Tour of Koreshan State Park

Koreshan State Park, the historic home of the Koreshan Unity, has many unique specimens throughout the remains of its once-famous botanical gardens, including several varieties of mango, lychee and other fruit-bearing trees, eucalyptus, Chinese bamboo and other flowering trees and plants from around the world. Some even from the Ford and Edison Winter estates in Fort Myers. Here are just a few:

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The Koreshan Unity Old and New Stores

The Old Store, built by the Koreshan Unity in 1902-1903, faced the Estero River, the best and likely only means of travel there. Going would have been slow. The fifteen-mile trip from Estero to Fort Myers on horseback would have taken all day, depending on the time of year. In the summer rainy season, the trail could be covered with water and muddy. During the dry winter, wagon wheels would sink in the sugar sand.

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