Prudy's Histories

Where Winter Spends the Summer

By Prudy Taylor Board

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In this charming retrospective, Lee County native Prudy Taylor Board writes with love, respect, and wry humor as she reveals the true history of Lee County, its communities and some of its most intriguing and prominent pioneers. For example:

In 1884, Fort Myers comprised 139 acres at the original site of the town that was platted into a working community. But the burgeoning town that had grown to include about 50 families did not have a newspaper. So when the opportunity to "kidnap" an editor and his press presented itself, Henry L. Roan, captain of the schooner Lily White, wasted no time.

Although a paradise for tourists today, Sanibel was originally noted for its prolific agriculture. By 1896, farmers were shipping a thousand crates of tomatoes a week during their growing season. A few years later, crops included eggplant, beets, squash, green peppers, cucumbers and beans. Unfortunately, the torrential tides of salt water accompanying a disastrous hurricane in 1921 destroyed the groves and arid farms that marked the finish to Sanibel's agricultural prominence.

With these delightful historical vignettes, Board presents a fascinating history of the three cities that presently make up Lee County, Florida. Locals, visitors and newcomers alike are sure to enjoy Board's witty and causal style, and will view the area with a renewed appreciation for its rich past.

The City of Palms

by Prudy Taylor Board
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Known for its palm-lined boulevards and famous residents, Fort Myers is arguably the quintessential Florida destination. And although many people know the city was a winter getaway for the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, few know the story of “Wild Bill” Belvin who lived a year in the wilds of North Fort Myers, but was immediately arrested upon his return to civilization. Nor do they know that when Lee Memorial Hospital first opened in 1916, its surgical patients were as concerned about the agility of their stretcher-bearers as they were about their surgeons’ skills.

In Remembering Fort Myers: The City of Palms, author Prudy Taylor Board has compiled a collection of historical articles about the intriguing, but little known, people and events in the city’s history. Board traces the development of the city’s prestigious neighborhoods and parks, while introducing readers to some of the most captivating and eccentric characters.

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