Old Collier County Courthouse
Location in Collier County and the state of Florida
|• Total||1.2 sq mi (3.1 km2)|
|• Land||0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)|
|• Water||0.3 sq mi (0.7 km2)|
|• Density||333.3/sq mi (129/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
Everglades City (formerly known as Everglades) is a city in Collier County, Florida, United States, of which it is the former county seat. As of the 2013 census, the population is 402. It is part of the Naples–Marco Island Metropolitan Statistical Area. The Gulf Coast Visitor Center for Everglades National Park is in Everglades City.
Everglades City is located at .
It is at the mouth of the Barron River, on Chokoloskee Bay. Chokoloskee Bay is approximately ten miles (16 km) long and 2 miles (3.2 km) wide, and runs southeast to northwest along the mainland of Collier County. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2), of which 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (21.01%) is water.
Everglades City has a tropical savanna climate, which consists of warm dry winters and hot humid summers with heavy rain.
As of the census of 2000, there were 479 people, 230 households, and 154 families residing in the city. The population density was 513.2 inhabitants per square mile (198.9/km2). There were 345 housing units at an average density of 369.6 per square mile (143.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.45% White, 0.84% African American, 0.63% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 1.46% from other races, and 0.21% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.97% of the population.
There were 230 households out of which 13.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.0% were married couples living together, 3.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.0% were non-families. Of all households, 27.0% were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.50.
In the city, the population was spread out with 11.9% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 19.0% from 25 to 44, 30.5% from 45 to 64, and 34.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 25 years. For every 100 females there were 104.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,667, and the median income for a family was $38,929. Males had a median income of $32,083 versus $22,222 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,535. About 6.1% of families and 6.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.5% of those under age 18 and 1.6% of those age 65 or older.
The area around Chokoloskee Bay, including the site of Everglades City, was occupied for thousands of years by Native Americans of the Glades culture, who were absorbed by the Calusa shortly before the arrival of Europeans in the New World, but by the time Florida was transferred from Spain to the United States in 1821, the area was uninhabited. A legend says that Seminoles planted potatoes along what is now the Barron River during the Seminole Wars, in the vicinity of the present Everglades City.
American settlement began after the Civil War, when Union sympathizers who had farmed on Cape Sable to supply Key West during the war, moved up the west coast of the peninsula. The first permanent settler was William Smith Allen, who arrived on the banks of Potato Creek (later renamed the Allen River) in 1873. After Allen retired to Key West in 1889, George W. Storter, Jr. became the principal landowner in the area. Storter gained fame for his sugar cane crops. He opened a trading post in 1892, and gained a post office, called "Everglade", in 1895. Storter also began entertaining northern tourists who came to Everglade by yacht in the winter to hunt and fish. His house eventually grew into the Rod and Gun Club, visited by United States Presidents and other notables.
The first school in Everglade was organized in 1893. The school moved into a new building in 1895, but the building was destroyed by a tornado later in the year. The next school building was washed away by the 1910 hurricane. A Methodist circuit rider began visiting Everglade in 1888, and a Methodist minister became resident the next year, but he left after four years. After that Everglade was occasionally visited by itinerant preachers of various denominations. The Episcopal Church established a mission at Immokalee which eventually moved to Everglade when revitalized in the 1930s by Harriet Bedell.
In 1922 Barron Collier began buying large areas of land in what was then southern Lee County. In 1923 the Florida legislature created Collier County from Lee County, with the county seat at Everglade. The town was incorporated the same year as "Everglades" (adding the "s"). The town consisted of only a dozen families at the time, but some northern sportsmen had established winter homes there.
The Tamiami Trail, which crossed Collier's domain, passed five miles north of Everglades City. While construction was proceeding on the Trail (it was completed in 1929), Collier pushed construction of what became State Road 29 from Everglades City to Immokalee, providing the town with its first land connection to the rest of the state. In 1928, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad began service to Everglades City, which became the southernmost point the Coast Line ever reached. Service was provided by an extension of the Coast Line's Haines City branch from Immokalee to Deep Lake, where it connected to Collier's Deep Lake Railroad, an earlier railroad that transported agricultural freight. The railroad was removed in 1957.
In 1960 the strong winds and coastal flooding of Hurricane Donna combined to destroy 153 homes in Collier County, as well as inflict major damage on 409 more, and damage an additional 1,049. Everglades was hard hit, and two years later, Florida's legislature moved the county seat to East Naples, Florida. In 1965, the state legislature changed the town's name to Everglades City.
Historic buildings in Everglades City include the Old Collier County Courthouse, Bank of Everglades Building, and Everglades Laundry (now the Museum of the Everglades).
- Leifermann, Henry. (1988). "Billiards and Redfish In the Everglades". The New York Times. March 13, 1988. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Tebeau, Charlton W. (1955). The Story of the Chokoloskee Bay Country. University of Miami Press.
Everglades City, Florida Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.