Escape Naples’ dazzling pace of development for a day and spend a lazy afternoon exploring the history of nearby Everglades City. Once accessible only by boat, this remote frontier trading town took an ambitious new turn in 1923 as the hub of Barron Collier’s personal Southwest Florida real estate empire – with a population of fewer than twelve families.
First opened in 1927 as a commercial laundry, today’s Museum of the Everglades dates back to a time when construction of the famous Tamiami Trail was well underway and the tiny settlement of Everglades served as the first County seat. The museum’s permanent and rotating exhibits provide visitors with an in-depth look at over 2,000 years of human history in the area and tell the story of those adventurous enough – and stubborn enough – to settle Southwest Florida’s lush “River of Grass.”
Faithfully restored to its original, 1920s Collier-era appearance, the museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is located 35 miles east of downtown Naples.
A showcase for the rich and colorful history of the region, the museum displays artifacts and photographs telling the story of 2,000 years of human habitation in southwest Everglades. This lush environment shaped the lives of all who came here: ancient Calusa, Seminole, pioneer and entrepreneur.
Permanent exhibits feature Barron G. Collier’s successful transformation of a pioneer village into a modern 1920’s town and his fulfillment of a promise to complete the road (the Tamiami Trail) that would open the area to tourism and development.
The Museum of the Everglades is free to visit and explore; however, donations are graciously accepted.