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The milestone firsts that built a community

By Staff | Jun 13, 2022

The city's first eight homes were built on Riverside and Flamingo. The first family to move into their new Cape Coral home was the Schwartzes —Kenneth; wife, Barbara; and their three children, Billy, Tommy and Nancy. After the Schwartzs moved in, the Hendricks, the McGinns, Pearsons, Petries, Shoberts and Crauses soon followed, as did a home built by Clarence “Butch” Duffala.

The Yacht Club is considered the first large entertainment, recreation and family and group gathering destination in Cape Coral. Here are other historic firsts:

First homes: Ground broken on first homes on Nov. 4, 1957, with lot prices ranging from $900 to $3,390.

First residents: Kenneth J. Schwartz and family moved into home built on Riverside Drive on June 14, 1958. He was Gulf American Land Corporation general manager of the city project.

First housing contractor: Connie Raymond Construction Company, out of Punta Gorda, in 1958.

First eatery: Surfside Restaurant at intersection near Del Prado Boulevard and Cape Coral Parkway opens in August, 1958.

First model home village: Constructed on York Court in October 1959.

First industry: Namaha, a sportswear business, in August 1960.

First doctor: Theodore David came to area three times a week, starting in September 1960.

First fire chief: Ed Kocik, named April 1961.

First full-time physician: Dr. Robert Tate set up his practice in an office on Del Prado on Aug. 27, 1967. He continued until his death in 2010.

First golf course: Cape Coral Country Club, which opened officially in 1962. First round of golf – nine holes- was actually played in 1961. In the foursome were H.D. Andy Anderson, Clarence Duffala, Browning Wharton and Monte Hodo.

First bank: Cape Coral Bank opened in February 1964.

First child born in the city: Beth Pearson, delivered by her father, Alan Pearson, on Nov. 29, 1966.

First business: Wonderland Realty, founded in 1960 by Andy Anderson, was first independent real estate office in Cape Coral. It was procured by Dorcas Sanford – Andy’s daughter – in 1968, and then in 1978 by Elmer Tabor – Andy’s grandson.

First church service: By Faith Presbyterian Church in 1960 at the Nautilus Motel. Church chartered in February 1961.