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“City of Palms” Trivia

Photo from Greater Fort Myers Real Estate

 

Q.  What was the original name of McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers?

A:  Riverside Avenue.

 

Q.  What was the road originally used for?

A.  It was used by cattlemen to run cattle from Fort Myers to Punta Rassa, which was a significant cattle shipping lane in the late 1800s.

 

Q.  How did Riverside Avenue become McGregor Boulevard?

A:  Tootie McGregor offered to pay for part of the paving of Riverside Avenue if the city renamed it after her late husband, former Standard Oil executive Ambrose McGregor.  Tootie and Ambrose McGregor lived next door to Thomas Edison.

 

Q.  What was the second condition Tootie McGregor asked for when she paved McGregor Boulevard?

A:  That cattle no longer be driven on the boulevard. Tootie understood that Fort Myers could only realize its potential of becoming the leading winter resort in Southwest Florida by cleaning itself up and building a road out of the 19th century into the 20th. Tootie had offered Fort Myers the equivalent today of $200-$300 million to build its first real highway.

 

Q.  And all of the palm trees?

A:  According to folklore, Thomas Edison bought 13 acres in the Caloosahatchee River within 24 hours of arriving in Fort Myers in 1885, then planted 200 imported palm trees along a two-mile stretch from his estate.  An estimated 1,800 Royal Palms now line McGregor Boulevard, giving Fort Myers its nickname of “The City of Palms.”

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