Dean Park, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Fort Myers, is celebrating its centennial this year with a 100th Anniversary Holiday Stroll on December 5th – 25th, with visitors invited between 9 am and 9 pm daily. The Holiday Stroll is FREE to all!
Self-guided walking tour maps will be at a kiosk located at the Providence Street entrance to the Dean Park Triangle, a small park at the intersection of Cranford Avenue and Providence Street. The map features 50 historic homes in Dean Park, where the first home was built in 1916, and includes a photo and historic facts about each house.
“We are so excited to be able to celebrate our 100th birthday with a fun, free and outside event that will be safe for everyone in the community,” said Sheila Pastor, chair of the Holiday Stroll. “People can come whenever its convenient for them, pick up a map and enjoy the neighborhood,” she said.
Fort Myers history lives on in Dean Park, which was founded by Rhode Island businessman John Morgan Dean and once was the home to many well-known local figures: the two founders of the Robb & Stucky furniture store, Harry Stucky, clothing store owner M. “Flossie” Hill, legendary hardware store owner Edward Evans, Judge George Whitehurst, beloved local physicians Dr. Gordon Henry and Dr. William H. Grace, steamship captain Neil “Bo Gator” Storter and many others, including a lively collection of entrepreneurs riding the 1920’s Florida real estate boom.
The historic district had originally planned to celebrate its centennial on March 28, 2020, with a historic house tour featuring the interiors of 10 private Dean Park homes. However, due the coronavirus, this house tour was first postponed, then cancelled.
Home styles include numerous bungalows and craftsman homes, the English Arts & Crafts cottage of Virgil Robb, the Tudor revival home of Harry Stucky, several Spanish revival homes, Florida vernacular homes and the Art Deco-influenced apartment building of Fort Myers Mayor Frank A. Whitney. Many early residents lived in Dean Park throughout their lives while others, as they became more successful and their families expanded, moved from the smaller bungalows in Dean Park to the more commodious homes along McGregor Boulevard.
Just one mile east of downtown Fort Myers, Dean Park was designated as a historic district in 1997 and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. The subdivision’s official birthday is May 1, 1920, the date on which John Morgan Dean recorded his map entitled “Dean’s Subdivision” with the Lee County Clerk of the Courts. He named the streets Rhode Island after his home state and Providence after his hometown.
The walking tour map and more information on all Dean Park houses is available on this website. Click on “MAP” to download the interactive map with links to a description of each home in Dean Park.
Dean Park has postponed its 100th Anniversary Historic House Tour to a future date yet to be determined. The tour was originally scheduled for March 28, 2020, then for December 5, 2020, but has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The House Tour Committee will announce a new date for the tour after it believes it ensure the safety of Dean Park homeowners, volunteers and visitors. The tour was intended to celebrate that day — May 1, 1920 — when John Morgan Dean recorded the plat for “Dean’s Subdivision” with the Lee County Clerk of Court. Plans for the House Tour will still include tours of ten historic homes, music and refreshments.