The First Time Estero Became a Village

Back in the early 20th century, most of the south and especially Florida, was hardcore Democrat. In the 1904 presidential election, the Koreshan Unity voted for Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican. This angered the politicians of Fort Myers, and they threw out all the Koreshans’ ballots. After that, the Koreshans filed with the state of Florida to become their own municipality, and Florida granted their petition. The Koreshans created a town seal: the sun rising over a waterscape with a swan floating on the water. At the top, a six-pointed star representing the Seal of Solomon.

The Koreshans were able to incorporate one-hundred-ten square miles into the Village of Estero in 1904, making it the fifth largest city in terms of land mass in the United States. This did not go over well with the local population, who thought it would increase their taxes. To add fuel to the fire, the Koreshan Unity also formed their own political party, the Progressive Liberty Party.

Needless to say, Fort Myers leadership was not happy about any of this, so Fort Myers challenged the newly incorporated Village of Estero. Florida sided with Fort Myers and overturned their decision allowing Estero to incorporate and Estero once again became a suburb of Fort Myers.

Up until the 1904 presidential election, the locals, for the most part, got along with the Koreshans. The election became a flashpoint, and the relationship began to degrade. In 1906, there was a brawl in Fort Myers between the Koreshans and some Fort Myers citizens. During the fight, the town marshal severely injured Dr. Teed, which many believe eventually led to his death in 1908.

More than a hundred years would pass before the community of Estero would again become a municipality; in 2014, it officially became the Village of Estero.

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