Newton Park became the first town-owned park in Fort Myers Beach on July 12, 2010. This property is steeped in rich history due to the Seven Seas cottage, formerly owned by Island resident Jim Newton (1905-1999), which is located on this beachfront land. Jim Newton gained notoriety through the publication of his book “Uncommon Friends” where he detailed his personal relationships with influential figures of the twentieth century, including: Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Charles Lindbergh, and Dr. Alexis Carrel. The Seven Seas cottage, built in 1953, served as a major focus of Jim and his wife, Ellie’s, lives, as they lived, worked and entertained influential guests from around the world on the property. Many of their guests, including British tennis player “Bunny” Austin, Cardinal Konig, Frits Phillips, King Michael of Romania and Queen Anne, among others, were brought to Seven Seas through their involvement in the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) movement, of which the Newtons were significantly involved. Jim Newton’s book (now documented on film as well), and two of Ellie Newton’s published works, “Echoes from the Heart” and “I always wanted adventure” were penned at Seven Seas. Ellie was honored in 1998 by Florida Secretary of State Sandra B. Mortham with an Outstanding Women’s Achievement Award for her historic accomplishments.
By virtue of the Newton’s personal associations and the gatherings that took place at Seven Seas, the Town of Fort Myers Beach successfully obtained $2.3 million in grant funds from the state of Florida’s Florida Communities Trust program and Lee County to acquire the estate in 2003.
Newton Park is free to use for the public.