DEAN PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Fort Myers, proudly announces that the Dean Park Walking Tour is available once again! The Walking Tour — discontinued when Hurricane Ian washed away the brochure kiosk and destroyed the supply of walking tour brochures — was inaugurated in December 2020 and has attracted several thousand visitors to date.
The self-guided “Dean Park Walking Tour” brochure is available at a green kiosk at the Dean Park Triangle, a small park located at the intersection of Cranston 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.
Many of the homes are in the Craftsman style so popular in the 1920’s. Other houses are in the Spanish Revival and Colonial Revival styles. There’s even an Art Deco apartment building constructed in 1926 by former Mayor Frank A. Whitney, who made his home in one of the apartments.
Other Fort Myers notables living in Dean Park included Virgil Robb and Harry C. Stucky, founders of the Robb & Stucky furniture store; 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.
Dean Park was founded by Rhode Island businessman John Dean, who came to Fort Myers on vacation and in 1902 bought 37 swampy acres on the Caloosahatchee, property that later became Dean Park. In 1912, he began the sitework, which included dredging about 150,000 cubic yards of fill from the Caloosahatchee. On May 1, 1920, he filed the map for “Dean’s Subdivision” with the Lee County Clerk of the Court. The street names of “Rhode Island” and “Providence” came from his home state, where he was a well-known businessman and philanthropist.
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.