Providence Street Homes

2624 Providence Street – Home of Willson H. Cralle & Ruth T. Cralle  – 1925

The one-story house is perfectly symmetrical, with a columned portico announcing the entrance.  The wings on each side of the front door feature French doors, and the second-floor dormers and substantial square columns supporting the portico hint at the Craftsman influence.  The interior of the home is spacious, with the front door entering directly into the living room.  It has high ceilings, wood floors and decorative moldings that are characteristic of Dean Park homes.

In 1924, the Dean Development Company sold this empty parcel for $1,950 to Lucias C. Curtright, a real estate developer who built several homes in Dean Park, subject to a restriction that house costing at least $4,000 be built on the property.  By 1925, this elegant home – with its combination of Craftsman detail and federal styles – was constructed and sold for $11,250 to Willson H. Cralle.

Mr. Cralle, a native of Virginia, and his wife, Ruth, came to Fort Myers in the 1920’s.  He made his living in the wholesale and retail lumber business, traveling between Pittsburg and his company’s southern lumber mills.  The Cralles had three daughters, Cornelia, Ruth and Harriet.  Cornelia Cralle would eventually inherit this home and lived in Dean Park until the late 1990’s.

Earlier address:  133 Providence Street until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision, Block G, Lot 6.

2632 Providence Street – Home of Edward L. Evans & Carrie Belle Evans – 1925

The Evans home is one of three Spanish revival homes in Dean Park.  Its Spanish revival features include the series of arches along the entrance walkway and around the screened porch front porch.  It stucco siding is capped with contrasting terra cotta trim.  Of special interest is the fountain with the face of Neptune, god of the sea, incorporated into the front façade of the home.  Inside, the large living room has 12-foot ceilings and dramatic arched windows.

This home remained in the Evans family for nearly 30 years.  The parcel of land was purchased on April 7, 1924, from Dean Development Company by Edward H. Evans and Mabel E. Evans for $1,891, subject to a covenant that any home built on the lot must cost at least $4,000.  Lee County tax records indicate this house was built in 1925, but the 1925 City directory does not list the property. 

The 1927 City directory shows this house as the residence of Mr. Evans’ father, Edward L. Evans, and his mother, Carrie Belle Hendry Evans.  A deed transferring this property from the son (Edward H.) to the father (Edward L.) cannot be located.  But in any event, the senior Mr. Evans resided there until his death in 1934, and Carrie Belle Evans resided there until she sold the house in 1954.

Edward L. Evans came to Fort Myers from New Orleans in 1881 on a freighter, “Lily White,” owned by H.L. Roan, who operated a general store at the corner of First and Hendry Streets.  Mr. Evans became manager of the store and, within a year, bought the business.  At the time, the only streets were cow paths and the cattle trade with Cuba was the primary business in Fort Myers.  Forming a partnership with Harvie E. Heitman, they established a hardware and sporting goods store managed by Mr. Evans for many years.  Mr. Evans also served on the City Council and as Mayor of Fort Myers for one term, 1899-1900.

In 1887, he married Carrie Belle Hendry, 9 years his junior and the daughter of Captain Francis A. Hendry, a cattleman and one of the first settlers of Fort Myers.  The couple was married at the Hendry home on the Caloosahatchee, a site that later became the Royal Palm Hotel.

The couple was married for 47 years.  Their children included Edward {“Ted”)  Hendry Evans, operated Evans Pharmacy; Rossie Lewis Hendry, who married Frank Alderman and lived nearby on First Street, and Ellen Mary Evans, who married Harry C. Stucky in 1920 and lived next door at 2644 Providence Street until her death in 1949.  Another daughter, Alta Evans, who did not marry, and lived next door with her sister Ellen.  Alta continued to reside next door until her death in 1986.  The two families were so close that a small path ran between the Evans home and the Stuckey home next door.  The stones of this small path can still be seen.

Mr. Edward L. Evans died in 1934 at age 75, and Carrie Belle Evans lived until she was 97.  Her obituary recounted her long and colorful life, including playing the piano for Thomas Alva Edison at “Seminole Lodge” and being the first woman in Fort Myers to drive a car, a Reo Runabout.

Earlier address:  127 Providence Street; Dean’s Subdivision, Block G, Lot 5.

2643 Providence Street – Home of Lucius C. Curtright  & Jessie Bonner Curtright – 1923

This Colonial revival style home features a Dutch gambrel roof, with a matching cottage at the rear.  In the 1920’s, the Colonial revival style and an architectural nostalgia for this early American era was in full flower.  The center doorway topped by a columned portico, the double-hung multi-light windows and the window shutters are all hallmarks of this popular style.

During the Florida real estate boom of the early 1920’s, homes in Dean Park changed hands frequently as owners bought and sold to make a quick profit.  This home was particularly active in this game of real estate musical chairs.  In August 1922, Lucius C. Curtright, President of Fort Myers Real Estate, purchased this parcel from Dean Development Company for $1,500, subject to a covenant that any home built on the parcel cost at least $4,000.  By January 1924, Mr. Curtright had constructed a house on the parcel and sold it to J.C. Nowling for $10,500.  In July 1925, Mr. Nowling sold the home to John W. Hendry.  In 1928, Mr. Hendry sold the home back to Mr. Curtright and his wife, Jessie, who lived there for the next 30 years.

Lucius Curtright (1888-1965) was an Alabama native who came to Fort Myers in 1921.  He promptly founded the Fort Myers Real Estate Company and the Fort Myers Insurance Company.  He became a prominent developer of single family homes (including 2654 Providence Street in Dean Park) and many significant local buildings such as John Dean’s Morgan Hotel and the Kress Building. 

He was also a key figure in the early Fort Myers business community and – along with many other of his Dean Park neighbors – was a founding member of the Lee County AAA Club to promote tourism and good roads in Fort Myers and the Kiwanis Club.  Jessie Bonner Curtright (1889-1965), also from Alabama, served throughout her life as Vice President of the Fort Myers Real Estate Company and was extremely active on local civic affairs, including the Dean Park Garden Club.  In 1958, the couple, who did not have children, moved to a new one-story ranch at 1130 Braman Avenue.  Both died in 1965 within one month of each other.

When Dr. James C. Nowling and his wife, Pearl B. Nowling, purchased this home, the News-Press announced the move on January 18, 1924:  “J.C. Nowling and family have moved into a new home, 1015 Providence Street, Dean Park, recently purchased of L.C. Curtright.”  Dr. Nowling was born in 1888 in Santa Rosa, Florida.  He and Pearl married in Santa Rosa, and the couple was still living there in 1920.  In July 1923, the Fort Myers News-Press announced that Dr. Nowling, a graduate of Emory University, was opening up his practice in Fort Myers.  Like many Fort Myers residents of the 1920’s, Dr. Nowling’s second career was real estate, as reflected in his 64 real estate transactions recorded on the land records in the late 1920’s.  By 1930, Dr. Nowling and his family had moved to Hendry, Florida.  From 1935 until his death in 1966, he lived in Palm Beach, Florida.

John W. Hendry, grandson of cattleman and early Fort Myers settler Francis A. Hendry,  expanded the parcel into a “double lot” by also purchasing most of the parcel next door (Lot 8).  The Hendry family lived in the home three years before selling the property back to the Curtrights.

Earlier addresses:  1015 Providence until 1926, 124 Providence until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision, Block E, Lot 7 and part of Lot 8..

2644 Providence Street – Home of Harry C. Stucky & Ellen Evans Stucky – 1924

This Tudor Revival home features the exposed timbers, stucco siding and paned casement windows that are the hallmarks of this English style so popular in the 1920’s.  With 2,340 square feet, it is one of the larger homes in Dean Park, with a spacious living room that extends across the width of the house, a fireplace and grand staircase.

The home’s original owner, Harry C. Stucky, first came to Dean Park in 1920, when he and his wife Ellen moved into their new bungalow at 2675 Michigan Avenue.  But they soon outgrew this one-story bungalow and moved into this more spacious home of Providence Street, as was befitting his status as co-owner of the prominent Fort Myers furniture company, Robb & Stucky.  His business partner, Virgil C. Robb, has just moved into a nearby home at 2721 Rhode Island Avenue, which also reflected an admiration for an English style – the English Arts & Crafts movement.

Born in Kentucky in 1891, Mr. Stucky arrived in Fort Myers by 1920, when he is shown as a “roomer” on the 1920 census.  He had the good fortune to marry Ellen Mary Evans, granddaughter of Capt. Francis A. Hendry, a cattleman and one of the first settlers in Fort Myers.  Ellen Evans was one of five children of Edward L. Evans and Carrie Belle Evans, who lived next door to the Stuckys 2632 Providence Street.  One of Ellen’s sisters, Alta Evans, never married had moved into the Stucky home by 1940, as shown on the 1940 census.  Alta lived at this house until her death in 1986 at age 94.  The two sisters’ mother, Carrie Belle Evans, was equally long-lived and resided next door at 2632 Providence Street until she sold this home in 1954 at age 85.

On April 18, 1922, Dean Development Company sold this parcel to Harry C. Stucky for $1,800, subject to a restriction that any home built there cost at least $4,000.  The architect is unknown, but both this home and the home built for his business partner Virgil C. Robb show a decided preference for the English style, this house as a Tudor revival and Mr. Robb’s house in the English cottage style.

Earlier address:  123 Providence Street until 1955; Deans Subdivision, Block G, Lot 4.

2654 Providence Street – Home of Carl Lewis Flood & Nina N. Flood  – 1922

With 3,014 square feet, the house is one of most prominent homes in Dean Park.  Its elegant horizontal lines, extended by a spacious veranda on the easterly side of the house, reflect influences of the Prairie Style.  The original plan included seven rooms and a bath.

In 1920, the Dean Development Company conveyed this parcel to John Dean’s other company, United Construction Company.  This was John Dean’s usual procedure when he wanted to have his own firm, United Construction Company, construct the house.  By May 26, 1922, the home was completed, and the United Construction Company conveyed the completed home to Lucius C. Curtright, president of Fort Myers Realty Company.  However, Mr. Curtright and his wife, Jessie, resided here for only just a few months and, on August 8, 1922, they sold the home to Carl L. Flood.  For information on Mr. Curtright, please see 2643 Providence Street, where he and his wife Jessie lived for 30 years.

Carl Lewis Flood, born in Michigan in 1876, was described as a “popular winter resident” and “experienced quail shooter and dog fancier,” in the words of the News-Press.  The newspaper featured Mr. Flood and fellow Dean Park resident Frank H. Tichenor (1525 Palm) in several stories about quail-hunting outings in Fort Myers and skeet-shooting events at the Bradford Hotel.  His wife, Nina N. Flood, was among the members of the “Entre Nous Bridge Club,” whose members included Mrs. Virgil Robb, Mrs. J. Rescoe Parker and other Dean Park residents.

Mr. Flood definitely enjoyed life to the fullest.  The News-Press also recounts how he just had a “fine Murad loop radio set” installed in his home in December 1923 and purchased a Star automobile from King’s Garage in Fort Myers in January 1923.  Unfortunately, Mr. Flood only enjoyed his winter home in Fort Myers for two years:  he died in April 1925 in Michigan.  Mrs. Flood remained in Michigan and conveyed the house to Fort Myers Realty Company, which eventually re-sold it in 1929 to Harry and Lois Kreamer.

Earlier addresses:  1015 Providence until 1926, 119 Providence until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision Block G, Lots 2 & 3.

 

2674 Providence Street – Home of Marvin F. Pixton & Mabel Carroll Pixton – 1916

This two-story home, built for Marvin F. Pixton and his wife Mabel, appears to be the first home built in Dean Park.  A News-Press article dated December 18, 1916, announces the purchase of “one of the beautiful lots in John M. Dean’s east side addition on Providence Street east of M.F. Pixton’s Place.”   

The home contains elements of the Craftsman style as well as those of the “American Foursquare” style that was popular from the mid-1890’s until the 1930’s.  Craftsman details include the deeply overhanging eaves, a centered dormer emerging from the second-floor roof, and a front porch (now enclosed) across the entire front of the house.  At the same time, the hipped roof and two stories are a reminiscent of the “American Foursquare” style.  Inside, the home’s oak woodwork around the living room fireplace and elsewhere is an outstanding example of Craftsman workmanship.

On May 5, 1916, the home was sold to Marvin F. Pixton & Mabel Pixton, who had recently come to Fort Myers from Tampa, where Mr. Pixton was an assistant bank cashier.  In Fort Myers, Mr. Pixton set about establishing his career as an “Auditor and Public Accountant,” according to his regular ads in the News-Press.  He also loved choral singing, and newspaper stories show he was an enthusiastic member of the Methodist Church choir and the Morse Choral Union (of which he was treasurer) and a volunteer soloist for Elks Club events.

In February 1917, Mrs. Pixton hosted a Valentine’s Day party for 500 people at her “pretty bungalow on Providence Street,” the News-Press reported.  And on Halloween of that year, Mrs. Pixton pulled out all the stops with a party featuring “vari-colored lights streaming from every corner of the house and grounds” and marching the guests “out the back way through a graveyard that containing newly made graves.”

Mr. Pixton’s older brother, drug store owned James Pixton, also lived in Fort Myers and may have inspired the younger Mr. Pixton to launch his accounting business here.  But in 1919, the Pixtons decided to relocate to Atlanta, where Marvin Pixton worked for many years, eventually becoming a manager at the accounting firm of Peat Marwick Mitchell & Company.

In May 1919, the Pixtons sold their home in Dean Park to Kate C. Roberts, who quickly re-sold it to Arthur Travers G. Parkinson and his wife, Penelope D. Parkinson.  The 1920 census listed Mr. Parkinson’s occupation as “orange grower.  He immigrated to the United States from England in 1881 at age 41. His wife, Penelope, was 33 years younger and lived at this address until 1968.

Earlier addresses:  1042 Providence until 1926, 103 Providence until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision, Block G, Lot 1.

 2716 Providence Street – Home of Lizzie S. Holmes – 1926

This Spanish revival home is a single-story house similar to one located at 2730 Rhode Island Avenue.  Typical of the Spanish revival style, the house features a graceful arched front porch (now enclosed) underneath a Moorish-style gable, stucco siding, exposed timbers and an entry court defined by a low cured stucco wall.  The house has mission-inspired, multi-level flat roofs with parapet walls of varying heights.  It features a variety of terra cotta, barrel-tile shed roofs over window bays and entryways, all of which accentuate the building’s complexity and asymmetry.

This stylish home was constructed for Mrs. Elizabeth S. Holmes, who moved from Michigan to Fort Myers with her husband, Frank C. Holmes, sometime after 1910.  After Mr. Holmes died in 1915, Mrs. Holmes (always known as “Lizzie”) moved to this home on Providence Street.  On June 16, 1923, Mrs. Holmes purchased the lot for this home from the Dean Development Company for $1,563.94, subject to a building restriction that any home constructed on the lot must cost at least $3,500.

The Holmes had several children, some who moved to Fort Myers with their parents and others who stayed in Michigan.  Mrs. Holmes was one of the founders of the Christian Scientist church in Fort Myers and occasionally wrote articles for the Fort Myers News-Press on religious issues.  She was visiting her family in Michigan when she died in 1928 at age 68.

Local legend has it that Al Capone stayed here while he had a new home built elsewhere in Fort Myers.  Sculptor D.J. Wilkins also lived here, and the bronze panther sculpture on Broadway was created in the back yard of this home.

Earlier addresses:  1110 Providence until 1926, 35 Providence until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision, Block I, Lot 10.

.2727 Providence Street – Home of Neal S. Storter & Betty Storter – 1919

This frame bungalow was built for Neil Summers Storter and Betty Storter, who purchased the lot from Dean Development Company in March 1917 for $700, subject to a restriction that any house built there cost at least $1,500.  Land records show that Dean Development also gave them a mortgage loan to help them with this purchase, and Lee County tax records show the home was constructed by 1919.

However, it appears as Mr. Storter’s occupation as a steamship captain intervened with the couple’s future in Fort Myers.  On April 27, 1920, the Starters sold the home to Lee County Realty & Investment Company, and the 1920 census shows the couple had moved to Galveston, Texas.  They remained in the Galveston area for the rest of their lives, and records show Mr. Storter as president of the Galveston Propeller Club and very involved in the shipping business based in the Galveston area.

Meanwhile, back in Dean Park, the Florida real estate boom was exploding.  Lee County Realty wasted no time in re-selling this home to A.W. Davidson and Edith Roy Davidson in May 1920.  The Davidsons “flipped” the property again in June 1920, when they sold it to Clarence J. Webb.  Finally, the house had long-term residents:  Mr. Webb and his wife, Rachel, occupied this home until 1945, when they sold it to Kate Jeffcott.

Earlier addresses:  1115 Providence until 1926, 28 Providence until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision, Block H, Lot 9.

2728 Providence Street – Home of Kent R. Smith & Leila E. Smith – 1917

This one-story bungalow, with its wrap-around porch and attic dormer, is one of the first homes built in Dean Park.  It was first conveyed by the Dean Development Company to Kent T. Smith by a deed recorded on December 16, 1916, but this deed did not reference the Dean’s Subdivision map, which was not recorded until 1920.

Born in Nebraska in 1888, Mr. Smith was working with his father at a sawmill in Wisconsin, according to the 1910 census.  On June 24, 1912, he married Leila Reed, whose father was a truck farmer on Sanibel.  The News-Press article on their wedding pronounced Mr. Smith “a young man of sterling worth” and said the couple would be departing for Arkansas, where Mr. Smith would be going into business.

However, these plans were short-lived and, by 1914, Mr. Smith had returned to Fort Myers to become the general agent for the Kinzie Bros. Steamship Line, which transported produce, passengers and mail throughout the area, including excursions to Sanibel (75 cents round trip and 50 cents for dinner in 1912).  It is not known what brought Mr. Smith from Wisconsin to Fort Myers, although it is possible that he may have been visiting his father (who was a winter resident here by 1912) or visiting his brother (who was chief engineer for Kinzie Bros. by 1916).

On Dec. 18, 1916, the News-Press reported: “K.R. Smith has bought one of the beautiful lots in John M. Dean’s east side addition on Providence Street, east of M.F. Pixton’s Place.  Mr. Smith will at once begin the construction of a fine $2,000 bungalow on the lot.”

The Smiths resided on Providence Street until 1920, when they sold the home to A.W. Davidson.  However, they did remain in Fort Myers and Mr. Smith transitioned into a career as a bookkeeper and then established K.R. Smith Bookkeeping and Income Tax Service.  His avocation was serving as Manager for the Palm City baseball team, and the News-Press frequently quoted his enthusiastic remarks about the team.

Earlier addresses:  1114 Providence until 1926, 29 Providence until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision, Block I, Lot 9 and Lot 8 (western half).

2737 Providence Street – Home of Franklin L. Larramore & Ruth Larramore – 1923

This one-story bungalow has many classic Craftsman features:  the stucco pilings and tapered columns supporting the front porch, the wide roof eaves and exposed exterior rafters, double hung windows and a comfortable wrap-around front porch.  Inside, the home includes the original built-in dining room cabinet and wood trim.

On January 31, 1922, Dean Development Company sold this lot to Nathaniel Stecher for $1,300, subject to a restriction that any home built there cost at least $4,000.  On August 11, 1922, the News-Press reported: “Another new home – it will cost $4,000 – is going up in Dean Park.  The dwelling will be of frame construction, narrow or ‘Dolly Varden’ siding being used . . . Last year, Mr. Stecher, who is an experienced builder, painter and decorator, built a stucco bungalow on Evan Avenue . . .”

By February 1923, the bungalow was constructed and offered for sale in the News-Press for a “very reasonable” price.  Perhaps it was not reasonable enough, because Mr. Stecher did not sell the bungalow until December 2, 1924, when he sold it to Ruth V. Larrabee.  Before selling the property, it was apparently leased to J.E. Kelly, a local realtor, whose name appears as the home’s occupant in the 1923 Fort Myers city directory.

Ruth V. Larrabee and her husband, Franklin C. Larrabee, moved to Fort Myers from Virginia in 1924, when Mr. Larrabee was about 40 years old.  Until that time, he had worked as a druggist in Elizabeth City, Virginia.  But when he arrived in Fort Myers, he began a real estate firm with office in the Post Office Arcade.  The Lee County land records reflect numerous real estate transactions, particularly for lots in “Green Acres” subdivision.  But by 1930, the real estate bubble had burst in Fort Myers and Mr. Larrabee returned to Newport News, Virginia, where he was a salesman for a wholesale drug company and then returned to the real estate business.

Earlier addresses:  1117 Providence until 1925, 22 Providence until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision:  Block H, Lot 10.

2740 Providence Street – Home of George W. Whitehurst & Myra F. Whitehurst – 1921

This bungalow features a gable over the entire front porch – typical of many bungalows – and a second gable, recessed from the front porch, for the second floor.  Craftsman features include a triple-column design (also used across the street at 2727 Providence Street) flanking the expansive front porch and the double-hung windows with multiple panes on top and a single pan on the bottom.  The sunroom on the right side of the house is a 2015 addition, and the original garage constructed near the rear property line was demolished and replaced with a newer garage in 2012.

City tax records indicate the home was built in 1921, and it does appear on the 1922 Sanborn Insurance Company map.  Its first occupant was a tenant, Simon Loeb, who moved to Fort Myers from Mulberry, Florida, to open the Style Shop, on First Street in June 1922.  On August 14, 1924, Judge George W. Whitehurst purchased house from United Construction Company, which was the corporation John Morgan Dean used to construct homes in Dean Park.  

George W. Whitehurst was a fourth-generation Floridian born in 1891 in Wauchula, Florida.  He attended the College of Law at the University of Florida and began the practice of law in his home town.  He served as a judge for 54 years, first as a County Judge of Desoto County, then as the youngest Florida Circuit Court Judge.  In 1950, Judge Whitehurst was named to the federal District Court by President Harry Truman.  The old federal courthouse in Fort Myers (now the Berne Center for the Arts) was named the George W. Whitehurst Federal Building.

Judge Whitehurst’s daughter, Marjorie Ann, was born in the house in 1925.  She still lives in Fort Myers and came back to visit the house in May 2017 after the News-Press ran an article identifying her father, who died in 1974, as the original owner.

The house is shown in a historic photo (available at the Southwest Florida Historical Society) taken shortly after the hurricane of 1926.  The photo shows Providence Street flooded and a tree toppled over in the front yard, with Judge Whitehurst and two friend sitting atop the fallen tree.  Later In 1926, Judge Whitehurst and his wife, Myra F. Whitehurst, sold the house to J. Bowers Campbell, the first of many subsequent owners.  Another owner was Archie N. Odom, also a judge in Fort Myers.  For many years (1954-1998), the house was owned by Minnie Alice Sanchez and her daughter, Ruth LeGault.

Other address:  1128 Providence until 1926, 17 Providence until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision, Block I, Lot 7 and Lot 8 (eastern half).

2747 Providence Street – Home of Kate H. Coffey & James W. Coffey – 1925

This handsome bungalow is one of the few brick bungalows constructed in Dean Park.   It also has many of the classic Craftsman features including the expansive front porch, exposed rafters, wide roof eaves.

As often happened during the Florida real estate boom, the parcel changed owners several times before a house was built on the lot.  In 1922, Dean Development Company sold the parcel to James F. Garner for $1,300, subject to a building restriction that a house costing at least $4,000 must be built there.   In January 1924, Mr. Garner sold the parcel to Walter S. Turner, Jr.; in January 1925, Mr. Turner sold the parcel to E.P. Dobbs of Cobbs County, Georgia; and in March 1925, Mr. Dobbs sold the parcel to Kate H. Coffey.

James W. Coffey a varied career.  Born in Kentucky in 1858, Mr. Coffey and his wife, Kate, were both residents of Denver by 1910, when the census shows him to be a “household auctioneer.”  By 1920, he was “manager of bakeries” in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mr. Coffey first appears in the Fort Myers city directory in 1923, when he was owner of the Up-to-Date Bakery Company and the Up-to-Date Investment Company with offices on Cleveland Avenue.  By 1925, Mr. Coffey was Secretary-Treasurer of Seminole Realty Company, Inc. and Mrs. Coffey was Vice President of the same firm.  He was also a very active member of the Rotary Club in Fort Myers, and newspaper articles recount that he did everything from umpiring Rotary baseball games to singing “My Old Kentucky Home” at a Rotary meeting.

Other address:  1133 Providence Street; Dean’s Subdivision, Block H, Lot 11.

2755 Providence Street – Home of Henry J. Case & Ada C. Case – 1921

In 1921, John Dean’s United Construction Company conveyed this property to real estate developer Henry J. Case for $7,750 – a purchase price that signified a home had already been constructed on the lot.  The 1922 Sanborn Insurance Company map also shows a house located on this lot, and the 1923 Fort Myers city directory shows this home was occupied by Henry C. Case and his wife Ada.  On April 15, 1925, Mr. Case turned a nice profit and sold the house, along with an additional lot next door, to James B. Fleming for $14,000. 

Mr. Case certainly saw the new Dean’s Subdivision as a profitable business model.  Between 1923 and 1925, he purchased 9 undeveloped lots from Dean Development Company at prices ranging from $750 to $1,600, then sold each property with a completed house.  Mr. Case was also fond of using his house plans on more than one house.  This house appears to be a “mirror image” of the bungalow located at 2775 Michigan, which was also constructed by Mr. Case.

Mr. Case was born in 1885 in Brattleboro, Vermont, and Ada Grier Case was born in Kansas.  But by 1910, both of their families were living in Estero, Florida, as part of the Koreshan Unity religious community.  The sect was founded in the 1870’s in New York by Cyrus Teed, who moved his followers to a community in Chicago in 1888.  In 1894, he began the Koreshan community in Estero, where he hoped to establish a utopian city.

Ada Grier Case was brought into the Koreshan movement as a young girl.  The 1900 Chicago census shows Ada (age 10), her brother (age 16) and their mother living in the Koreshan commune in Chicago with Cyrus Teed listed as “head” of the “family.”  Henry C. Case came to the Koreshan community in Estero with both his parents; and on May 1, 1910, the couple was married. 

The Koreshan community dwindled after the death of Cyrus Teed in 1908, and Mr. Case elected to move to Fort Myers and focus on his business career.  The 1923 Fort Myers directory shows him as a “fruit shipper.”  In the 1925 directory, he is listed as manager of Floweree Groves, with a new home on McKinley Avenue.  In 1927, he is listed as Vice President of Builders’ Supply Company and manager of Floweree Groves, with Mrs. Case employed at the Palm City Brick and Tile Works.  By 1956, Mr. Case is President of the First Federal Savings & Loan Association even newer ranch home at 1326 Melaleuca Lane.

Other addresses:  1133 Providence until 1926, 12 Providence until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision, Block H, Lot 12.

2762 Providence Street – Home of E. Clifford Crays & Lillian Crays – 1955

The ranch home on this parcel was constructed by E. Clifford Crays and Lillian Crays of Cleveland, Ohio.  The Crays purchased this double-lot parcel in November 1953 as a site for their second home.  Mr. Crays was 67 at the time and had worked as assistant manager of an Ohio department store (1920 census) and as a dry goods merchant (1930 census).  After his retirement, the Crays continued to be Ohio residents, but enjoyed spending winters at this home until 1965, when they sold it to Ervin and Pauline Kinney.  In 1977, Mr. Crays passed away in Ohio at age 91.

Like the rest of Dean Park, this parcel was owned by Dean Development Company and sold on Oct. 28, 1924 to D.W. Boyd of Lee County for $2,800.  Mr. Boyd also purchased the parcel next door (Lot 6).

Dean’s Subdivision, Block I, Lot 5.

 2763 Providence Street – Home of Lawson B. Jones & Lucile V. Jones – 1945

This stucco cottage appears to represent a transitional period between the Florida bungalow and the Florida ranch.  Built in 1945, it has the trim lines and front picture window of a ranch.  At the same time, it has the wide eaves, paned windows and small one-story profile of a bungalow, perhaps because it was built on a narrow parcel (the easterly 60 feet of Lot 13 in Block H of Dean’s Subdivision).

On October 10, 1923, Dean Development Company sold this parcel to Fort Myers developer Henry C. Case for $750, with the restriction that no house costing less than $4,000 be built on the property.  In 1925, Mr. Case sold this parcel, along with Lot 12 next door, to James B. Fleming and Anne Lee Cralle Fleming of Virginia.  The Flemings built their bungalow next door at 2755 Providence Street and later split off this lot and sold it to Lawson B. Jones and Lucile Y. Jones in May 1944.

Lawson B. Jones, a native of Georgia, married his wife Lucile in Lee County in 1936.  He worked as a bookkeeper for various businesses in the Fort Myers area until he registered for the draft in 1942.  He served in the Navy in World War II, then returned to Fort Myers.  In 1947, the Joneses sold this home to Lisle and Elizabeth Hart of Cleveland, Ohio.  The Jones later moved to Tampa and then to Oregon, where Mrs. Jones died in 1985 and Mr. Jones died in 2003 at age 99.

Earlier address:  8 Providence Street until 1955; Dean’s Subdivision, Block H, westerly 60 feet of Lot 13.

 2770 Providence Street – Apartment Building – 1969

This 4-unit apartment building was constructed in 1969 on the northerly 100 feet of Lot 4 in Block I of Dean’s Subdivision.  The building has an “L” shape, with two units facing Providence Street and two units facing Palm Avenue.

This corner parcel was originally owned by Andrew A. Colbert, who purchased it on August 8, 1920, from Dean Development Company for $1,200.  On the southerly end of the parcel, the Colberts constructed a modest two-story home (now 1576 Palm Avenue), with a garage located on the first floor of the structure and living quarters on the second floor, according to notations of the 1922 Sanborn Insurance Company map.

Earlier address:  1140 Providence Street; Dean’s Subdivision, Block I, Lot 4 (northern portion).

2773 Providence Street – Home of Joseph W. Hill & Flora Hill – 1921

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 the News-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).