Home of Joseph W. Hill & Flora Hill

This two-story home combines many Craftsman details — such as its massive porch columns, wide roof eaves and roof brackets – and the influence of the “American Foursquare” style.  The American Foursquare is a classic two-story American design that lives up to its name:  it is perfectly square as seen from the street and often had four rooms on each floor, two on each side of a center hall.

The American Foursquare was popular throughout America during the period 1890 – 1930 and, like the Craftsman bungalow, its simple styling was a reaction to the highly decorative excesses of the preceding Victorian era.  An outstanding example of the American Foursquare in Dean Park is the home at 2647 Michigan Avenue, and the influence of the American Foursquare can also be seen in the two-story Craftsman homes at 2674 Providence Street and 2616 Michigan Avenue.

This property is the southern half of Lot 14, as shown on Block H of Dean’s Subdivision map recorded in 1920.  On August 7, 1920, by Dean Development Company sold Lot 14 to Joseph W. Hill of Lee County for $1,615, by deed recorded at Book 59, Page 31, of the Lee County Land Records, with the requirement that any house built on the parcel cost at least $3,500.  Mr. Hill expanded this parcel by purchasing the easterly 10 feet of Lot 13 in 1922 by deed recorded at Book 61, Page 529, of the Land Records.

Joseph Walton Hill was born in 1870 in Birmingham, England, and immigrated to the United States in 1888.  By the 1910 census, Mr. Hill was working in Fort Myers as a machinist and living on Fowler Street with his bride, Flora, born in Alabama and 18 years his junior.  Mr. Hill was said to be a member of the Trail Blazers, famous for motoring across the swamp in 1923.  And this is reflected in a clipping from theNews-Press, which announced on May 19, 1917:   “Joseph W. Hill and family will leave tomorrow by automobile for points in Rhode Island planning to be away about six weeks.”

In 1920, the Hills contracted for this substantial home to constructed on the parcel, and they lived there until 1933, when the depression appears to have caught up with them.  On January 24, 1933, the Hills conveyed the home back to the First National Bank of Fort Myers, in consideration for satisfaction of their mortgage loan from the bank.  Mr. and Mrs. Hill and their two children continued to live in Fort Myers, with Mr. Hills always working as a skilled machinist.  Mrs. Hill, a native of Alabama, died in 1952 and Mr. Hill died in 1957.

Earlier addresses:  1145 Providence until 1926, 4 Providence until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision, Block H, Lots 13 and 14 (portion of each).