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Editorial: Anniversary countdown commences

By Staff | Jan 17, 2020

Although Cape Coral’s start as a community dates back to the late ’50s, 2020 marks a very important milestone for the Cape.

The city — now the largest between Tampa and Miami — will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its incorporation.

Cape Coral has come a long way since a pair of brothers from Baltimore, Jack and Leonard Rosen, flew over Southwest Florida looking for land to develop and decided a raw stretch of pasture and hunting land at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee in Lee County was their site.

In July of 1957 the deal was done, with the hair product manufacturers paying $678,000 for 103 square miles, including five miles of riverfront.

Four months later, on Nov. 4, they broke ground for the first phase of development on a 1,000-acre triangle poking into the Caloosahatchee known as Redfish Point.

By the new year, a sales machine like no other geared up to tout nationwide the availability of homesites in the “waterfront wonderland” the brothers would ultimately carve from the wilderness by digging 400 miles of manmade canals.

The first lot sale came on Jan. 23, 1958 when Charles and Gertrude Frease of Bell, California bought a parcel. The Cape’s first family took residence in June when Kenneth Schwartz, general manager of the development firm, Gulf Guaranty Land & Title Co., moved into one of the first half dozen homes built.

The rest, as they say, is history.

It didn’t take long for new residents to decide that to become the community they envisioned, they needed to incorporate and so take control to provide the services needed to grow.

Incorporation efforts began in July of 1969 as the community’s population topped 12,000. By November, a committee spearheaded by the Cape Coral Civic Association recommended that the process of becoming a municipality begin.

The bill requesting that the matter be brought to voters was presented to state legislative delegates in February of 1970, in time for the next session where it was approved.

On Aug. 18, 1970, Cape voters then cast their lot with incorporation by a vote of 2,067 to 1,798.

The celebration has already begun, and we’re all invited.

The city of Cape Coral unveiled the golden anniversary logo this week by projecting it on the side of City Hall. The logo has been placed on all city vehicles and is available in pin and decal form to all residents and businesses at the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce, the Cape Coral Historical Museum and Raso Realty.

Meanwhile, the official anniversary year kickoff is set for next weekend with a pair of events hosted by the Cape Coral Historical Museum and Society and sponsored by a number of organizations and businesses, including The Breeze.

The Jubilee Celebration will be held Jan. 24 at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. The event to run from 6 -10 p.m. will be an evening of appreciation to honor the city’s past leaders and will include an historical display, Liquid Fireworks by Waltzing Waters, a short film and more.

The Jubilee Celebration will continue on Saturday, Jan. 25, when the society will host its annual music festival from noon to 5 p.m. at the Cape Coral Historical Museum, 544 Cultural Park Blvd. The “rebranded” event — now Jammin’ in Cultural Park — will offer food, music and museum admission.

Tickets for the Jubilee Celebration are $50 and may be obtained by calling the museum at 772-7037 or online at capecoralhistoricalmuseum.org. They are going fast.

Tickets for the outdoor concert are free “as a gift to the community from the Historical Society.” There also will be a limited number of VIP tickets available for $40 in advance, $50 at the door. Pick them up at the museum or online at capecoralhistoricalmuseum.org.

Parking will be a suggested $3 to benefit local Boy Scouts.

More details on 50th Anniversary Kickoff may be found in today’s paper, packaged together into a separate section. We invite you to read. And we invite you to take part.

The best is yet to come!

– Breeze editorial