Believe It or Not…

By Mona Meyer, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Librarian, David L. Rice Library, University of Southern Indiana. Reprinted here with permission. To learn more about the Koreshans, take a guided historic tour of the Historic Settlement at Koreshan State Park.

You probably recognize that tagline from the many Ripley’s Believe It or Not! attractions, and the phrase has come into common parlance. I’m going to introduce you to the former Koreshan Unity society, and you’ll soon see why I chose this title.

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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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